SAN MARCOS, TEXAS The University of Alabama softball team scored early and often to begin its 2007 season with a pair of victories at the Century-Tel Softball Classic in San Marcos, Texas.
The Crimson Tide used a six-run second inning and six RBI from Mandy Burford to defeat Oklahoma State 13-0 in the first of their two games on the day. The game was the 600th career game for head coach Patrick Murphy with eight of his nine seasons coming at the Capstone.
Burford, a senior from Anniston, Ala., gave Alabama a 9-0 lead when she hit her eighth career home run over the fence in right-center. She also added a RBI on a fielder’s choice in the second inning and a two-run single in the fifth.
“The team is really starting to come together,” said Burford. “We are all starting to see the ball really well and have seen great pitching all spring from our four pitchers. I feel like we are well prepared.”
Bama started its scoring in the second inning when Kelley Montalvo, a sophomore from Miami, Fla., gave the Tide its first run of the season with a bases loaded bloop single to left field to drive in Mallory Benak. They would finish with six runs in the inning, including two off an error by Cowboy’s first baseman Kim Kaye off a hard shot by Lauren Parker.
Burford finished the game 3-for-4 with a career-high six RBI to lead the Tide. Charlotte Morgan, a freshman from Moreno Valley, Calif., reached base in all three of her plate appearances in the game with two walks and a RBI single. Kellie Eubanks went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Brittany Rogers, Montalvo and Parker each added two runs scored as well for Alabama in the game.
Junior pitcher Chrissy Owens was dominant on the mound in her first appearance of the season, pitching four innings with four strikeouts and one hit allowed. Morgan made her first collegiate pitching appearance to finish the game, sending the Cowboys down 1-2-3 in the fifth inning, included her first career strikeout.
Alabama also started strong against Texas State in the second game of the day, scoring six runs in the bottom half of the first inning. Jordan Praytor and Dani Woods each recorded RBI singles but the big hit came with two outs and the bases loaded as Parker hit a triple into the right field corner to clear the bases and give the Tide a 6-0 lead.
The clutch hitting with two outs continued in the third inning when the Tide loaded the bases again. This time Praytor came through with a double to left field to drive in three more runs and make the score 9-0.
Texas State would score one run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning but it would not be enough as Blair Potter closed the game out on the mound for the Crimson Tide, 9-1. She pitched all five innings with two hits and one run allowed to go with two walks and two strikeouts. Katie Johnson was behind the plate in the second game and played her 100th career collegiate game just 20 miles from her hometown of New Braunfels.
Praytor led the way at the plate going 2-for-3 with one run scored and four RBI. Her run scored in the first inning was the 100th of her career and moved her into 11th on the all-time list. Parker added three RBI and was 1-of-2 at the plate. Eubanks walked three times and scored twice to finish the day 2-for-3 with four runs scored. Rogers also scored twice against the Bobcats to give her four runs scored on the day.
“It was very important for us to come out strong,” said Parker. “We have been hitting the ball hard in practice but we wanted to make sure we could come out and do it in a game. There was no question in our mind that we could, we just had to show ourself that we could.”
The Crimson Tide will take its 2-0 record into the second day of the tournament. They will face Texas-San Antonio at 10 a.m. to wrap up the round-robin portion of the tournament and will then play again in the afternoon once seeded play begins. All Alabama softball games can be heard on WVUA Radio 90.7 FM and on the internet.