Alexis Osorio ties NCAA record with 21 strikeoutsBy Ehsan Kassim | 03/10/2018 6:25pm
There is not a whole lot a softball pitcher can do to follow-up a no-hitter the night before. Alexis Osorio found a way.
Osorio struckout 21 hitters, a new personal and school record for a single game. She tied the NCAA record for strikeouts in a seven inning game.
“Same game plan as yesterday,” Osorio said. “I cannot even describe what happened out there. I didn’t know how many strikeouts there were. I was just working on spinning the ball. I knew it had to be a high number, but I wasn’t really keeping track of how many.”
Alabama defeated Boston College 6-3 and Fordham 7-2 on the second day of the Eason Crimson Classic, improving its season record to 16-5.
Osorio did not get off to an ideal start in the second game of the double header. She walked the leadoff hitter and the fourth hitter of game, Madi Shaw, hit a two-run home run to put Alabama in an early 2-0 hole.
“I left a pretty good pitch right there for her,” Osorio said. “She capitalized on that error from me and just after that I knew I had to bare down. All I can do is tip my hat off to her.”
She settled in after that, striking out the next four batters that crossed home plate. She allowed just three baserunners the rest of the start.
In the fifth inning, Osorio struckout the leadoff hitter, but catcher Carrigan Fain had a passed ball on the play, allowing the runner to reach first safely.
Osorio struck out the next two hitters and had a chance for a four strikeout inning, but the last hitter popped up a 2-0 count pitch to third, where Claire Jenkins made the catch in foul territory.
Murphy jokingly said that he yelled at Jenkins for making the catch in foul territory, which kept Osorio from having a chance to set a new NCAA record.
“Everyone was giving Claire a hard time about that,” Osorio said.
So far this weekend, Osorio has pitched 14 innings, allowed two earned runs on two hits, struck out 32 hitters and walked three hitters. Her record is now 5-3 with a 1.88 ERA.
“It’s not often that you get to be part of history,” said coach Patrick Murphy. “Today was awesome. She’s been great for four years. She looked similar to last year’s opening game against Coastal Carolina where she threw a perfect game with 19 strikeouts. Fordham is a good hitting team. To do that against them after giving up the home run was even more impressive.”
The Alabama offense scored a run in the first inning on a Peyton Grantham sacrifice fly and tied the game on a Bailey Hemphill two-run home run in the third inning.
In the fourth inning, the Crimson Tide stole five bases on the way to scoring four runs to widen its lead to 7-3.
“That’s been a plus too, because we haven’t had many,” Murphy said. “That’s part of our game that we needed to get going.”
Alabama got off to a slow start in the first game, with Madison Preston allowing a three-run home run to allow Boston College to take a 3-0 lead.
Preston allowed just two more hits and a walk the rest of the game. She retired the final 11 Eagle hitters she faced, with nine coming via the groundball. She finished with 16 groundball outs recorded for the game.
“Madison gives up the home run in her first inning and then Lexi does the same thing,” Murphy said. “Both of them put up zeros after that. You got to let the offense going a little bit, you can’t let them score again. Both of them did what they were asked to do.”
She completed her fifth complete game in seven starts, striking out three hitters and walking just one. Preston is 5-1 on the season and has a 1.69 ERA.
The Alabama offense failed to capitalize on back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the first. It scored a run in each of the second and third innings to trim the Eagles’ lead to 3-2.
Through the first four innings, Alabama stranded five runners on base.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Crimson Tide offense finally woke up. Bailey Hemphill led the inning off with a solo home run to tie the game at three.
Gaby Callaway’s double forced a pitching change, she later was pinch-run for by Rachel Bobo, who scored on a sac fly by Sydney Booker to give Alabama a 4-3 advantage.
Booker was honored before the game on her senior day.
“Every single freaking senior day they get up with the bases loaded, the kid whoever’s the senior that day, she’s up to bat and it happened again with her,” Murphy said. “I thought she did great, not only with the bat, but defensively as well.”
Demi Turner extended the Alabama lead to 5-3 on an RBI single to center field in the same inning.
Kaylee Tow hit her fifth homerun of the season to leadoff the sixth inning to give Alabama a three-run lead. She went 3-for-4 in the game and was a triple shy of the cycle.
Tow has had a successful tournament on offense. In the first four games of the classic, Tow is 9-for-13 in the series. She has scored four runs, driven in four runs, hit a home run, hit two doubles, walked twice and even stolen her first career base.
Murphy batted Callaway and Hemphill to start off his lineup in every game in the tournament and Callaway might just be his leadoff hitter the rest of the way.
“She probably is,” Murphy said. “It’s a good combination, especially if Bailey does what she did today. They continue the inning, Bailey has chance to hit a homerun or something in the gap.”
Alabama concludes the tournament with a matchup against Samford on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.