MIAMI, Fla. ?? Despite boasting one of the nation’s top offenses, the No. 1 University of Alabama softball team looked to its bench when it needed runs the most, utilizing two clutch pinch hits in its 2-0 win over Illinois in the Tide’s third game at the 2008 Adidas Golden Panther Invitational in Miami, Fla.
Alabama moved to 13-0 on the season behind back-to-back hits by pinch hitters to give the Tide an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Alabama scored its first run in the bottom of the second off of an Illini error and a base hit by Kellie Eubanks.
But late in the game, Illinois appeared to have the momentum and was on its way to the top of the seventh trailing by a run. But with two outs in the inning, head coach Patrick Murphy brought All-American Lauren Parker off the bench to hit for starter Ashley Holcombe.
Parker, who had a pinch-hit home run yesterday in the win over UConn, delivered again, lacing a single up the middle. Holcombe returned to run for Parker, who has struggled with injuries early on this season.
Murphy then went to Allison Moore, who has primarily seen action this season as a pitcher, to hit for Catherine Dozier. Moore promptly drove a pitch to the wall in right center, scoring Holcombe and giving the Tide a 2-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the seventh, starter Chrissy Owens gave up a single and ran the count to 1-2 against the Illlini’s Hollie Pinchback before giving way to true freshman Kelsi Dunne. Dunne, who threw a no-hitter against Illinois on Friday, shut down the Illini bats once again, striking out Pinchback and the final two hitters she faced to earn her second save of the season.
Owens, who had a no-hitter of her own going through 5 1/3, got her fourth win of the season for the Tide. She gave up three hits while striking out four.
Kelley Montalvo had one hit and scored the Tide’s first run. Eubanks finished with a pair of hits and an RBI and true freshman Whitney Larsen had a double for Alabama.
The Tide finishes its second day at the Adidas Golden Panther Invitational against the hosts from Florida International University. That game is set to begin at 2:45 p.m. (CT).
Log on to RollTide.com for a complete recap of the day’s action in Miami, including final stats, box scores and game recaps.