Haney’s grand slam propels softball over South Carolina

Blake Byler, Staff Reporter

Alabama needed an unlikely hero to secure its fourth win in conference play

Sophomore KJ Haney answered the call, smacking a grand slam to give the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide (26-4, 4-3 SEC) a 7-5 win over South Carolina (18-11, 2-5 SEC) in Columbia, South Carolina.

Senior Montana Fouts had an up and down game in the circle for Alabama. Fouts gave up nine hits, but also struck out 11 batters while pitching all seven innings.

Alabama got out to a slow start in the road tilt. South Carolina held Alabama scoreless in the first two innings and took a two-run lead in the bottom of the second.

The Crimson Tide scored its first run in the third inning, but it was unearned. A throwing error by the Gamecocks allowed freshman Dallis Goodnight to score Alabama’s first run of the game. South Carolina’s lead was now 2-1.

South Carolina had an answer, though. A three-run fourth inning from five singles helped the Gamecocks extend their lead, as urgency started to set in inside the Alabama dugout.

Trailing 5-2 in the top of the sixth inning, head coach Patrick Murphy made a gutsy decision. Alabama’s bases were loaded with two outs, and Murphy turned to Haney to pinch hit. Haney delivered with a grand slam, giving Alabama a 6-5 lead. The Crimson Tide didn’t surrender the lead. 

The grand slam was Haney’s first of the year, and her second career home run. This was the tenth game Haney has appeared in this season, serving as a pinch hitter in all of her appearances.  Haney’s hitting ability showcases another offensive threat lurking in Alabama’s dugout.

Alabama will try to put together another winning effort in game two on Saturday, perhaps not in come from behind fashion. First pitch is at 1 p.m. CT.