Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Softball goes 5-0 in Atlanta, Beaver and Preuitt shine

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama outfielder Kat Grill (#32) throws the ball against Georgia Tech on Feb. 10 in Atlanta, GA.

Whether it was the offensive outburst on Friday or the no-hitter from pitcher Kayla Beaver in the opener, Alabama swept the Buzz City Classic in Atlanta by winning in different ways.   

Beaver was one of five Alabama pitchers who got an opportunity to show off their stuff this weekend. Beaver had the most dominating performance of the weekend in game one when she struck out 14 and completed the 46th no-hitter in Alabama softball history and the third of her career.   

“What a debut for Kayla Beaver. We are very excited for her and our team,” head coach Patrick Murphy said.  

Beaver replicated that performance on Saturday when she threw a complete game shutout over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. That game was not without drama, as the Yellow Jackets loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh. Right fielder Larissa Preuitt made a highlight-reel robbery and then threw the ball into the infield for a double play.  

The Alabama pitching staff started the season not allowing a run for 18 straight innings before Georgia Tech’s Mallorie Black hit a home run. 

Freshman Jocelyn Briski showed a brilliant sign of maturity in her two appearances. In her first collegiate start on Friday night, she threw a complete game, allowing just one run off a home run in the final inning. She entered Saturday’s morning contest against Longwood in the third inning and pitched the final four and two-thirds innings allowing just three hits and no runs and striking out seven. 

“She didn’t let an umpire call get to her,” Murphy said. “We got to see what she was made of because of the pressure put on her.”   

Another freshman who made a surprise splash was center fielder Lauren Johnson. Johnson had quite the debut against Longwood on Friday afternoon, going 3 for 3 and scoring two runs plus an RBI. Following that debut, Johnson’s name remained in the lineup for the final three games. She finished the weekend 6 for 11, scoring four runs, and also made a diving catch in the outfield.   

“She’s shown that she is a gamer, I mean, most of her hits came with two strikes,” Murphy said. “Nothing is too big for her.”   

Returning sophomore Abby Duchscherer showed vast improvements from last season as she made her case to be the anchor at the three-spot in the lineup. In the opener, she went 2 for 3, knocking in two of Alabama’s three runs. On Saturday morning, she exploded for a 3-for-4 day that included a first-inning two-run shot and a two-run double.   

Against Longwood, Alabama combined for 20 runs and 22 hits. In the other three games, Alabama scored just 11 runs and had to rely on their pitching and defense to earn the sweep.  

Although only 11 runs were put up on the scoreboard, there were plenty of runners on base, so the results didn’t accurately represent the contact being made.   

This offense has plenty of weapons as 10 different players had RBIs. First baseman Lauren Esman came alive late in the weekend as she went 2 for 4 with three RBIs in the final game of the weekend against Georgia Tech.  

Second baseman Kali Heivilin might have had the best single-game performance as she had a three-run homer and a two-run double in the Friday run-ruling of Longwood 13-0.   

Variation is everywhere, and the results vary as well, but the consistency of the pitching staff gives the offense the confidence it needs to hone into its process-oriented approach.  

The Crimson Tide will return to action Friday in the Bama Bash as Alabama will welcome St. Thomas, Virginia and the University of Southern Indiana to Rhoads Stadium. Alabama will face St. Thomas and Virginia once each on both Friday and Saturday before finishing the weekend against Southern Indiana on Sunday.   

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