March 29, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Fifth-ranked Alabama Softball clinched its weekend series in dramatic fashion Saturday at Rhoads Stadium, as the Crimson Tide scored two in the final inning to earn the 2-1 walk-off victory over LSU.
Alabama (30-5, 10-1 SEC) has now won all four of its SEC series this season, clinching all but one of them in two games. The win was Alabama's first this season when trailing heading into the final inning and just its second when being out-hit by the opponent. Danae Hays led the Tide at the plate, going 2-2, while Andrea Hawkins and Kaila Hunt provided the two crucial seventh-inning RBIs off a sacrifice fly and a single to right field. Sydney Littlejohn (6-0) earned the win in relief, throwing in the top of the seventh before Alabama's rally in the bottom half.
LSU (19-13, 2-6 SEC) knocked in 10 hits against Alabama, which is tied for the most in SEC play for the Tigers, but could only capitalize for one run on the day, leaving 12 runners on base. Sahvanna Jaquish plated LSU's only run with a third-inning RBI single, while Ashley Czechner (6-7) took the tough-luck loss in the circle, as both seventh-inning runs were unearned.
The Tigers took the first lead of the game in the top of the third, as Jaquish dropped a bases-loaded single into right to score one, putting LSU up 1-0. Alabama had its chances to take the lead, putting two runners on in the third, fourth and fifth innings but they were ultimately left stranded. A double play and a foul-out ended the bottom of the sixth and two LSU baserunners were left stranded in the top of the seventh as Alabama was poised to rally in the bottom-half of the inning.
Jaclyn Traina started the half-inning with a hard single down the third-base line. Danielle Richard, pinch-hitting, hit a grounder to second but the shortstop bobbled the ball on the attempted force-out at second as both Traina and Richard were safe on the fielding error. Hays sacrificed the pair into scoring position and Haylie McCleney was intentionally walked to load the bases with one away. Hawkins hit a long fly ball to right field, as Traina tagged up at third to tie the game off the sacrifice fly, with Richard and McCleney both advancing on the play as well. Hunt sealed the victory with a single that dropped into right field, scoring Richard as the sellout crowd of 3,940 jumped to their feet to celebrate the 2-1 walk-off victory.
Game three of the series is set for a 1:05 p.m. CT first pitch on Sunday, March 30. The game will be aired on Fox Sports South and can be seen online at www.espn3.com or via the WatchESPN app.