April 13, 2014
STARKVILLE, Miss. – It took 10 innings to break up a pitcher’s duel in Sunday’s rubber match between Alabama and Mississippi State, but a three-run Crimson Tide lead in the 10th inning was not enough as the Bulldogs mounted a big rally in the bottom-half to earn the walk-off 4-3 victory to win the series.
Alabama (37-7, 15-3 SEC) was quieted offensively for the second-straight game, as Mississippi State (32-14, 5-10 SEC) starter Alison Owen threw another strong outing following her complete-game win yesterday. She was on the hook for the loss in the top of the 10th, but Alexis Silkwood (9-5) entered to secure the final out and ended up earning the win. Jaclyn Traina threw 9.0 innings in the loss with over 170 pitches but ended up earning a no decision as Sydney Littlejohn (8-1) took the loss in the final inning. Offensively, Alabama was led by Kallie Case, who went 3-4 out of the nine-hole and drove in the first run of the game.
It was a pitchers’ duel through regulation, as the teams were both held scoreless through seven innings, leaving a combined eight runners on base. In the bottom of the eighth, Heidi Shape got things started for the Bulldogs with a one-out single and, with two outs in the inning, Logan Foulks battled through an 11-pitch at-bat to send a single up the middle and advance the potential go-ahead run into scoring position. Traina pitched out of the jam, inducing a weak grounder to the circle to send the game to the ninth inning.
Alabama looked to get things going in the top of the ninth, as a Kallie Case single and a Danielle Richard walk put the go-ahead run into scoring position for the Tide. A fly ball to center field went for out number two and Jadyn Spencer battled through a long at-bat but ended up just missing a great pitch, sending a flare to the shortstop for out number three.
The Tide had another opportunity in the top of the 10th, putting two runners on with one away. Danae Hays flew out to center field, but the deep fly ball allowed Andrea Hawkins to tag up and advance to third, putting the go-ahead run 60 feet away with two outs. Case came through with the biggest at-bat of the game so far, hitting an RBI single up the middle to give Alabama the 1-0 lead in extra innings. Haylie McCleney added some insurance with a two-run triple to the right-field wall, building the Tide lead to 3-0 as Alexis Silkwood entered to pitch for the Bulldogs. A fly ball limited the damage as Alabama took a three-run lead into the bottom-half of the 10th.
A walk and hit-by-pitch to lead off the bottom of the 10th ended Traina’s outing in the circle as Sydney Littlejohn entered in the save situation. A fielding error loaded the bases for the Bulldogs and an infield single scored one, bringing the potential tying run to scoring position. Alabama attempted a force out at home off a grounder to the right side but the throw was not in time, as the runner slid into home to tie the game at 3-3. Katie Bailey ended the game with a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing the runner at third to tag and score giving the Bulldogs the walk-off victory in extra innings.
Next up, Alabama heads to Montgomery, Ala., for a Wednesday night matchup with the Auburn Tigers (31-12-1) at Lagoon Park. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. CT.