Feb. 16, 2014
TUCSON, Ariz. - No. 24 Arizona handed fourth-ranked Alabama its second-straight loss, as the Wildcats defeated the Crimson Tide, 8-0, in five innings Sunday at the Hillenbrand Invitational.
Alabama (8-2) suffered its second-straight loss and its first five-inning loss since the 2011 Women's College World Series against Florida. It's the first regular-season run rule loss since Valentine's Day in 2010 against Missouri. The Tide was limited to a season-low two hits, though Haylie McCleney accounted for one of those, as she has reached base safely in every game so far this season. Leslie Jury (3-1) took the loss in the circle, lasting just 1.2 innings with two hits allowed, six walks and six earned runs.
Arizona (8-0) remains undefeated after another great all-around performance, as they jumped on Alabama early with six runs in the first two innings, while starter Shelby Babcock (2-0) went the distance with a two-hit shutout.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, the Wildcats struck first with a two-out grand slam by Mo Mercado to pull ahead 4-0. Arizona loaded the bases again with two out in the bottom of the second, as a bases-loaded walk plated another to make it 5-0 which ended the day for Jury in the circle. Sydney Littlejohn entered to pitch and another bases-loaded walk made it 6-0 but an infield popup stopped the bleeding as Alabama trailed by six after two innings.
The score remained 6-0 until the bottom of the fourth, as Arizona plated a pair of runs with two outs to move ahead 8-0, forcing Alabama into a must-score position in the top of the fifth. Alabama managed to draw a two-out walk but could not get her across to force another inning, as Arizona held on for the five-inning victory.
Next weekend, Alabama will play at Rhoads Stadium for the first time this season, hosting the Eason Bama Bash, presented by Drash. The Tide will play five games over three days, starting with Virginia Tech on Friday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. CT.