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

Alabama softball drops third straight SEC series to Kentucky

Courtesy of UA Athletics

Last week, the Alabama softball team traveled to Lexington, Kentucky, for a three-game series against the Kentucky Wildcats. After dropping the first game 6-3, the Crimson Tide surged past the Wildcats in Game 2 before a walk-off victory for the Wildcats in Game 3 sealed the series. 

Despite a promising 9-4 victory in the second game of the series, Alabama softball couldn’t secure its first SEC series win of the season, as it dropped its third conference series against Kentucky this weekend.  

Alabama’s offensive potential came out in full force during Game 2. Nine runs, the most in SEC play this season; 11 hits, the eighth double-digit-hit game of the season; and three home runs, the ninth game of the year with multiple home runs, showed this offense can carry this team to victory.  

After Alabama jumped out to a 4-0 lead, the Wildcats punched back with a three-run shot from shortstop Erin Coffel, but Alabama struck right back in the sixth. The Crimson Tide loaded the bases with just one out, and head coach Patrick Murphy decided to pinch hit freshman Lauren Johnson. She jumped on the second pitch, poking it to right center for a two-run single. 

“We didn’t like the matchup lefty versus lefty, so we wanted a righty in there,” Murphy said. “She [Johnson] has been a gamer since day one and has come through time and time again, and obviously she did again.”  

Johnson described her thought process leading up to the play. 

“That was awesome. I knew I had to put the ball in play to get to that hole to score the runs,” she said. “Murphy talked me up, he was like, ‘You got this,’ so I was like I’ll give it my all. I got the pitch I wanted, and I went after it.”  

Older sister Jenna Johnson stepped up next. She one-upped her little sister by sneaking a homer just inside the left-field foul pole to extend Alabama’s lead to 9-3. 

“Just having her [Lauren Johnson] in front of me do something like that, I could feel the energy, and the energy was contagious,” Jenna Johnson said. “I knew what pitch I was looking for and I got it, and I sent it, so it was a good feeling.”  

Pitchers Kayla Beaver and Alea Johnson finished things off from there, allowing just one more run as Alabama secured its 26th victory of the season 9-4.  

After two scoreless innings to begin Game 3, the Crimson Tide put two on the board in the third. Second baseman Kali Heivilin, who also tripled in the next inning, smashed the fourth pitch of the at-bat over the center-field wall for her fifth home run of the season. Jenna Johnson knocked in her first of four RBIs on a sacrifice fly that scored designated player Riley Valentine.  

Sophomore Marlie Giles tacked on one in the fourth by blistering a ball over the left-center wall. That marked Giles’ sixth home run of the season, which ties her for first on the team. Shortstop Kenleigh Cahalan’s three-hit night was highlighted by an RBI single in the fifth that pushed Alabama’s initial lead to 4-0.  

“Everybody in the lineup basically did something good. Eight out of nine got on,” Murphy said. “This was one of the first times that we’ve had everybody in the lineup get four at-bats all the way one through nine.” 

Games 1 and 3 showed multiple resemblances to each other. Pitcher Stephanie Schoonover started both games in the circle for Kentucky. In both games, Alabama was limited to just three runs and the Wildcats walked away with victories.  

Game 1 was never in doubt for the Wildcats as they dashed to a 6-1 lead before Alabama added two in the final inning.  

Game 3 had a plethora of drama as the Crimson Tide trailed 3-2 entering the seventh inning. Center fielder Kristen White singled to lead things off and advanced to third with just one out. Cahalan ripped a liner through the right side to tie things up.  

In the bottom half of the seventh, the Wildcats loaded the bases, and Alabama pitcher Jocelyn Briski ran the count full before popping out the Kentucky hitter to end the inning. The Wildcat offense was too much in the eighth as left fielder Rylea Smith doubled in pinch runner Alexia Lacatena to score the game-winning run. 

The loss drops Alabama to 26-8 on the season and 3-6 in the SEC. The Crimson Tide will play a nonconference midweek matchup Tuesday against Jacksonville State before SEC play resumes against Ole Miss on Friday.  

More to Discover