Bloodworth’s walk-off double completes comeback against Mississippi State

Blake Byler, Staff Reporter

No. 2 Alabama (35-6, 12-6 SEC) defeated Mississippi State (26-16, 7-7 SEC) in walk-off fashion for the second day in a row by a final score of 7-6 after trailing 5-0 in the third. 

After the walk-off double from freshman Megan Bloodworth, head coach Patrick Murphy sprinted to center field to embrace his second baseman.

“The fans deserve all of it,” Murphy said. “This is the toughest environment in college softball to play in. [The fans] know exactly when to yell.”

Alabama started sophomore Jaala Torrence in the circle and she immediately faced a challenge. After the Bulldogs’ first batter reached on an error, Mia Davidson, the SEC leader in home runs, took Torrence’s first pitch the distance to give Mississippi State a 2-0 lead.

The onslaught from the Bulldogs continued in the second inning. Mississippi State brought in two more runs. It would’ve been three runs if senior catcher Ally Shipman had not tagged a runner out at home. 

Torrence’s struggles forced Murphy to turn to his bullpen early. He brought sophomore Alex Salter in to pitch with the bases loaded.

Salter walked one run in before getting out of the inning, deepening the Alabama hole to 5-0.

The Crimson Tide’s answer came with a home run from Kaylee Tow into left field. It was Alabama’s first run of the game. Tow’s blast injected some life into the sellout crowd at Rhoads Stadium.

With Salter now leading the charge, the Alabama defense tightened up. Mississippi State threatened once again in the fourth inning with the bases loaded, but Salter was up to the challenge and struck out the final batter for the third out.

“Credit Salter for keeping us in the game,” Murphy said. “I always tell our relievers [to] keep the score the same, because we’re going to score runs.”

In the fifth inning, Alabama finally had multiple runners on base at once. With the bases loaded and one out, Shipman was up to bat. She hit a line drive down the third base line that was plucked out of midair by the third baseman, who tagged third for a double play.

In the sixth, Mississippi State found some energy once again after a single from Matalasi Faapito led to a throwing error. That brought in the Bulldogs’ sixth run of the game.

Time was ticking away, and the Crimson Tide desperately needed runs. 

Sophomore Bailey Dowling stepped up to the plate and ripped a ball into deep left field for Alabama’s second solo home run of the game. Freshman Jenna Lord followed up Dowling’s home run with a two-run moonshot of her own. The deficit was 6-4.

The two-run blast was Lord’s first career home run. Friday night, she also hit 3-4 with 2 RBIs and a home run.

“I’ve been having trouble with getting it over, so all I was saying was ‘go ball go,’” Lord said. “That’s all I was thinking in my head. Then you look up and hear the crowd roaring. It was a big moment.”

In the top of the seventh, with two outs, Murphy turned to star pitcher Montana Fouts to close, and she struck out the only batter she faced.

It wShipman joined the solo home run club during her plate appearance. She hit the Crimson Tide’s third solo home run of the game and brought the score to 6-5.

With the bases loaded, freshman Megan Bloodworth hit a two-run double to walk off the Bulldogs for the second day in a row.

“I’ve seen [the pitcher] before. I’ve seen her yesterday, I just wanted to make sure it was one I could rip,” Bloodworth said. “It was just another run.”

Bloodworth has shown up big in big spots in both games this series, with the walk-off double on Friday and the game-tying solo home run on Friday.

Alabama has clinched the series and will go for the sweep of the Bulldogs in game three on Sunday evening in Rhoads Stadium. The game will begin at 6 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.