TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Sophomore second baseman Lauren Parker went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBI to lead the No. 3 University of Alabama softball team to a 9-2 victory over No. 22 Georgia on Sunday afternoon at the Alabama Softball Complex.
“We had to come out today on fire,” said Parker. “The way we played from the second inning yesterday into today is how we play the game. Blair (Potter) did an awesome job today and after we had a couple of big hits the flood gates opened up and here we come. That was a great team win for us because everybody contributed and everybody came through and we knew we were going to do it.”
Parker has now tallied two or more hits in six of her last seven starts to raise her batting average to .490 on the season. She didn’t waste any time getting started, tying the score in the bottom of the first inning with a double to the gap in right center to bring in Jordan Praytor from first base. Praytor reached on a throwing error by the pitcher, Christie Hamilton, and allowed Parker to go to third on the throw home. Two batters later Dani Woods gave the Crimson Tide the lead with a two-out single up the middle.
“I think the key today was two-out RBI’s” said Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy. “Dani Woods had one and Katie Johnson got two. Even if it isn’t hit hard, a hit is a hit. With two outs it is key for us to continue a rally. Along with Blair’s pitching that is why we won today.”
In the second inning, Ashley Holcombe doubled the lead with her third home run of the season. She hit the 2-2 pitch out to center field. Kelley Montalvo followed with a single to center field and a stolen base. Brittany Rogers moved her to third with a single to left field and stole second to put runners on second and third. Praytor drew a walk to load the bases for Parker, who drove a single up the middle and score two more runs and put Alabama in front 5-1.
Rogers added a RBI on a sacrifice fly in the third inning, scoring Mallory Benak from second on a deep fly ball to center field. Parker continued her hot hitting with a double to the corner in left field in the fourth. She scored on an error by the Bulldog’s shortstop, Kristin Schnake.
Praytor and Parker started the sixth inning with back-to-back singles and scored on a single through the right side by Katie Johnson to make the final score 9-2.
Blair Potter gave up a pair of home runs to Kellie Middleton in the game but was otherwise dominant. Middleton hit the first pitch of the game over the wall in left center but Potter battled back to retire six straight before Georgia led off the third with back-to-back infield singles. Potter got Middleton to line into a double play and then forced another ground out and end the inning.
“After the home run I said to myself that we still had seven innings left to play and I couldn’t let the one hit get me down,” said Potter. “I just went back up there and kept throwing.”
Potter improved to 9-0 on the season and stays undefeated in her career at Alabama. She allowed two runs on five hits with five strikeouts. She recorded her 100th strikeout at Alabama and did not walk a batter in the game.
“It was pretty big for the team to come back after the loss yesterday,” said Potter. “We weren’t going to let anybody come in our house and take two from us. I think everybody was pumped up and we came out ready to play. That was obvious with the hitting performance we had today.”
Parker’s four hits and three runs scored were career-highs for the Port Neches native. She had two doubles in the game to give her seven on the season. Praytor scored two runs in the game and Johnson drove in a pair. Montalvo finished 2-for-3 with a run scored and Holcombe added three walks to her solo home run. Middleton led Georgia going 2-for-3 with two solo home runs.
Alabama improved to 35-4 on the year and 12-4 in the SEC while Georgia drops to 29-16 overall and 5-6 in league play.
The Tide will be back in action Tuesday with a pair of non-conference games at the Alabama Softball Complex. They will play Northwestern State at 5 p.m. and Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m.