Alabama softball takes down the Bulldogs

Dean Harrell, Contributing Writer

Over the weekend, April 14-16, the No. 16 Alabama softball team continued conference play, taking a road trip to Starkville, Mississippi, to face off against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, looking to steal a few games on the road and rise in the Southeastern Conference standings. 

Ultimately, the Crimson Tide was very successful on the road trip to Mississippi State as it came away with a clean sweep and tacked on three more conference wins. 

After the Saturday game, head coach Patrick Murphy said he knew the sweep was possible, but it was not going to be easy. 

“We’ve done the hard part – you have to win the first two games to get the chance to sweep,” Murphy said on Saturday. “I told our team after the game that Mississippi State doesn’t want to get swept. They’re going to come out tomorrow with everything they have and play one of their best games of the year. We just have to match the energy.” 

Alabama brought the weekend’s energy into Sunday’s game, taking down the Bulldogs. 

Game one: 

Kicking off the weekend series, the Crimson Tide got things going early in Starkville on Friday night, sending a message to the Bulldogs and taking game one 4-3. 

Alabama struck first, following a single by freshman Kenleigh Cahalan who would eventually reach third base and score off of a passed ball for the first run of the game. 

After a scoreless second inning, and the top of the order coming back around for both teams, there was bound to be some fireworks. 

Senior Jenna Johnson made some noise in the third inning for her team with an RBI single to bring home sophomore Jordan Stephens. Following her was junior Emma Broadfoot who lifted a long fly ball out to left field for a sacrifice fly to bring home senior Ally Shipman to put her team ahead 3-0. 

The Bulldogs were able to respond in the bottom half of the inning after senior Paige Cook picked up a sacrifice fly to keep Mississippi State in the game, down by just two runs. 

The 3-1 score stayed locked all the way through the sixth inning, coming to the final inning of play. Even with the lead, the Crimson Tide did not press the breaks there. Johnson picked up her second RBI of the game after ripping a single to bring home Cahalan and extend the lead to 4-1. 

The Bulldogs did not go down without a fight, as senior Madisyn Kennedy kept her team in the game by drilling a huge two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Unfortunately, it would be too little, too late, as the Crimson Tide were able to pick up the third out and take game one. 

Game two: 

For the second game of the weekend series, Alabama sought to win game two and clinch the series on the road. The Crimson Tide got what it wished for and easily took game two with a 6-0 shutout victory. 

Head coach Patrick Murphy’s squad got the bats going quickly as Johnson continued her solid weekend at the plate by driving in graduate Ashley Prange for the first run of the game. Right after Johnson, Broadfoot continued the inning with an RBI single to bring home junior Bailey Dowling and take a 2-0 lead. 

While stringing together a few hits, the Crimson Tide were not able to bring home any runs until the fifth inning. Ashley Prange got the inning started with a double to left field and would be driven home by an RBI single from Dowling. Once again, Johnson was able to put another run on the board after a sacrifice fly and increase the lead to 4-0. 

While the Bulldogs were unable to respond in the final two innings, the Crimson Tide were able to add on a couple more runs after a sacrifice fly from Ashley Prange in the sixth and an RBI single from Johnson in the seventh, tallying her third hit of the game. 

Sophomore Alex Salter controlled the circle for Alabama as she pitched the entire game, only giving up three hits and completing the shutout victory. 

“I’m really proud of [Alex] Salter,” Murphy said. “Other than the Tennessee game, this was one of the best games of her career. She had them off balance all day.” 

Game three: 

For the final game on Sunday, the Crimson Tide aimed to sweep the series and win three straight in Starkville. Once again, Alabama took care of business on the road and left with a 1-0 victory over Mississippi State. 

It was a pitcher’s duel all game long for the final game, as both teams struggled to get the bats going and bring home runners. 

Shipman was able to scratch across the only run for her team after an RBI single up the middle in the third inning to bring home junior Kristen White for the first and only run of the ball game for both teams. 

“Five weeks ago, I’m not sure if we win a game like that but the defense came through and we got the timely hit,” Murphy said. “Sometimes the timely hit gets you a 1-0 win and sometimes its 8-7 but it’s a win at the end of the day.” 

Montana Fouts took hold of the circle for the matchup as she pitched a complete game, striking out five, giving up five hits, and completing yet another shutout victory this season. 

The Crimson Tide will be back in action on Tuesday, April 18, as it will face off against the Liberty University Flames in Huntington, West Virginia, at 12 p.m. CT.

Questions or comments? Email Blake Byler (Sports Editor) at [email protected]