By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Kelly Ward)

No. 6 Alabama softball doesn’t have a problem with its scoreboard. No, the two home runs off it weren’t personal. The team’s getting a new one anyway.

The two home runs were just Alabama hitters getting their swings back en route to a 8-0 mercy-rule win over Fairfield in the second game of the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional.

In the bottom of the third, senior shortstop Danae Hays hit a dinger off the top of the scoreboard. In the next inning, junior centerfielder Haylie McCleney hit a solo shot off the scoreboard, giving the Crimson Tide a 5-0 lead.

“That was probably my highest [home run] so far, but I’ll stick to it,” Hays said. “As long as it goes over the fence, I don’t care if it’s low or high.”

Alabama put together eight runs on 15 hits through six innings, including an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth from freshman catcher Carrigan Fain to get the mercy-rule win.

In the three games prior to Friday’s game, the Crimson Tide strung together four runs.

“I think there’s a few girls on the team that were very, very hot, and then we would kind of hit a little lull and then someone would be really hot and then hit a little lull in the lineup,” Hays said. “So yeah I definitely think 1 through 9 needed to pick it up a little bit and definitely I think today we came out playing with our hair on fire so I think we’re definitely hitting it hard 1 through 9.”

Sophomore right-hander Sydney Littlejohn (16-1, 1.43 ERA) pitched six complete innings and worked through Fairfield’s batters in 62 pitches, 45 for strikes. She allowed two hits and struck out three in the shutout win.

“I thought Sydney did a really good job, two-hitter, no walks, was hitting her spots for the most part,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “We played really good defense.”

Behind her, Alabama’s defense came through with a pair of diving catches from sophomore left fielder Chandler Dare and senior right fielder Jadyn Spencer.

“Today for me was a great day,” Littlejohn said. “I mean, it’s sunshine, it’s a big crowd here at Rhoads Stadium. It’s the start of a new season, you know, the postseason, and the whole team was just fired up. As you can see, the defense was making amazing plays, Jadyn in right, Chandler in left, everybody’s diving everywhere, making some great plays, and just knowing that you have that behind you and the offense to support it, it makes my job easy.”

Alabama (43-12) will face No. 20 Washington (41-15) at 11:04 a.m. Saturday. Games four and five of the regional are scheduled to start at 1:30 and 4 p.m., respectively.

Source:: The Crimson White Sports