Alabama softball wins weekend series against No. 8 Kentucky

Blake Byler, Staff Reporter

After losing the series in the opening weekend of conference play, No. 3 Alabama (24-4, 3-3 SEC) defeated No. 8 Kentucky (20-5, 3-3 SEC) in a weekend series, winning two out of three games.

Alabama won the first two games of the series on Friday and Saturday by scores of 4-2 and 3-2 before falling 9-4 on Sunday.

In the first game of the series — and Alabama’s first SEC game of the season in Rhoads Stadium — the Crimson Tide looked to get back to .500 in the young SEC season.

In the bottom of the first inning, Alabama struck first when a sacrifice fly from senior Ally Shipman brought in senior Ashley Prange to put Alabama ahead 1-0. 

Shipman has been an RBI machine for Alabama all season, embracing her role with open arms. The Tennessee transfer has amassed 31 RBIs so far this season — 14 more than the next highest on Alabama’s team.

In the top of the third inning, Alabama fell behind by one run, but Shipman brought in two runners on a double into left field, giving Alabama a 3-2 lead. 

Senior Kaylee Tow brought another runner in the fifth, securing the 4-2 lead.

Senior Montana Fouts started in the circle for Alabama in game one, pitching all seven innings and striking out 10 batters in the process.

The Crimson Tide turned to junior Lexi Kilfoyl on Saturday in game two. Kilfoyl struck out seven batters while pitching the entire game, like Fouts the day before.

The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in game two after the first half-inning, but Prange drilled a home run to center field to put Alabama ahead 2-1. The home run was Prange’s fourth of the season, trailing behind freshman Megan Bloodworth for the team lead in home runs.

“First, I just want to say thanks to the crowd again. I was telling [Kentucky] coach [Rachel] Lawson before the game that this was history in the making,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “All three games were sold out before a pitch was thrown, and it’s so awesome to see the fans out here. It’s a win-win for the sport of softball, and I can’t thank them enough.” 

In the final game of the series on Sunday, Kentucky figured out its hitting. Alabama used three pitchers against the Wildcats, starting Fouts and subbing Kilfoyl and sophomore Jaala Torrence throughout the game.

Alabama held a 3-1 lead after the second inning following a home run from sophomore Bailey Dowling. A throwing error from Kentucky and an RBI from Prange brought in the other two runs. 

Kentucky found its footing, though, in the third inning. The Wildcats scored four runs against Fouts and three more against Kilfoyl over the next two innings. Despite the loss, Alabama sits at four losses on the season, with all four coming against ranked opponents. The Crimson Tide will be on the road to play UAB in Birmingham on Wednesday, followed by a weekend series with South Carolina in Columbia.