No. 2 Alabama Softball picks up two shutouts in day two of Easton Bama Bash


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Senior catcher Ally Shipman signs to her teammates after reaching base during a 2-0 win over No. 8 Virginia Tech on Feb. 19, 2022.

Blake Byler, Staff Reporter

No. 2 Alabama (8-0) continued its stellar start to the 2022 season on the second day of the 23rd annual Easton Bama Bash with a pair of shutouts against No. 8 Virginia Tech and Middle Tennessee State. 

The Crimson Tide beat the Hokies 2-0 and run-ruled the Blue Raiders 8-0 in five innings.

Virginia Tech

In game one of the afternoon, Alabama took advantage of a rematch with Virginia Tech less than 24 hours after defeating the Hokies 1-0 on Friday night.

Much as in the first matchup, both teams struggled to score runs. Runners were often stranded in scoring positions. 

In the fifth inning, Virginia Tech looked to score the game’s first run after a base hit to center field, but freshman Dallis Goodnight threw out the Virginia Tech runner at home. 

“It was a great throw, timely, great play at the plate,” catcher Ally Shipman said. “We definitely needed that, and it was a momentum shifter, so credit to her.”

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when Shipman hit a two-run home run to left field, which were Alabama’s only runs of the game.

Shipman has proved to be a valuable piece to Alabama’s hitting lineup. The Tennessee transfer is batting .429 through the first seven games of the year, including three home runs and a team-leading 13 RBIs.

Alabama followed the home run with a three-up-three-down at the top of the seventh, securing both the win and junior pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl’s second shutout in as many starts. Kilfoyl posted a season-high seven strikeouts in the win.

“Kilfoyl’s game face on the mound is unbelievable,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “Her intangible this year was to have a calm, cool presence when stuff happens, and she has absolutely lived that every game she’s gone out there.”

Kilfoyl has had a strong start to 2022. She has a season earned run average of 0.00 after starting two games against top-10 opponents.

The Crimson Tide now has three shutouts against top-10 opponents in 2022 after last weekend’s defeat of No. 9 Arizona and both wins over Virginia Tech from this weekend.

“That definitely improves my confidence a lot, because I thrive off of good performances,” Kilfoyl said. “I know there’s a lot of things that we do have to work on, but we always have each other’s backs.”

Middle Tennessee State

In game two, Middle Tennessee State had Alabama on the ropes early on. The Blue Raiders threatened with two runners in scoring position in the second inning before Alabama stranded both runners.

In the bottom of the fourth, Alabama only had one hit, but Middle Tennessee State pitcher Gretchen Mead loaded the bases on three walks with only one out. Following the walks, Mead was subbed in favor of Danielle Taitt. 

Freshman Jenna Lord, making her first start of the season, brought in sophomore Bailey Dowling on a sac fly for Lord’s first RBI of the season and Alabama’s first run of the game.

Sophomore Alex Salter made the start for Alabama but was pulled for senior Montana Fouts in the fifth inning. The PA announcement of Fouts approaching the circle was met with an eruption from Rhoads Stadium, followed by a groundout to end the fifth inning.

“It was nothing that Salter did, just a gut move,” Murphy said. “That kid had two good at-bats, and it would have been the third time she’d seen Salter. I asked Montana the inning before if she was good to go. She got us out of the inning and we run-rule them, so it worked out really well.”

Despite being replaced, Salter finished with a respectable final stat line of two strikeouts, three hits and no runs allowed.

Alabama pulled away in the fifth with three straight singles followed by a double from Shipman, bringing two runners home. Alabama built a 5-0 lead when freshman Jordan Stephens, also making her first start, brought in two more runners with a deep hit to left field. With two outs, Goodnight hit a single, bringing in junior Jenna Johnson and run-ruling the Blue Raiders.

On the final day of the Easton Bama Bash, Alabama will get a rematch with Middle Tennessee State at 1:30 p.m. CT inside Rhoads Stadium. The game will be televised on SEC Network+.