By (Kelly Ward)

Last weekend, No. 4 Alabama softball needed a walk-off to win its first game of the tournament. On Friday night, the Crimson Tide avoided the drama and took two games by way of the mercy rule, first an 11-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe before following up with a 15-2 rout of North Dakota State.

“The best way to respect an opponent is to get after ‘em, and you don’t want to just assume,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “You gotta play like it’s the national championship. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing.”

In the nightcap, Alabama cruised to a 15-2 win in five innings. The Crimson Tide had 11 hits and collected eight walks. In the third inning, the team pushed 10 runs across and had seven hits. Three of the seven hits were for extra bases. Alabama followed up the 10 runs with a five-run fourth inning which featured two home runs. Sophomore infielder Demi Turner hit the first, a two-run shot. Junior infielder Marisa Runyon followed up three batters later with a three-run home run.

Sophomore right-hander Alexis Osorio (6-0) picked up the win after five innings. She allowed two runs on four hits, walked four and hit a batter. She also struck out eight.

The day started with what was the season-high for runs scored (11) in the 11-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe. Junior right-hander Sydney Littlejohn (6-1) earned the W after five innings pitched. She allowed three hits, hit a batter and struck out six.

“Sydney did a really good job, Lexi every now and then,” Murphy said. “The hitters went up with a purpose every single time. They didn’t throw away at-bats which we’ve done in the past when the score is out of hand. I thought everybody went up and had quality at-bats.”

At the plate, Alabama put up 11 runs on 11 hits with the help of a couple of errors.

Caroline Hardy went 3-3 against ULM and followed that performance with a three-walk game against North Dakota State. She finished the day 3-4 with two doubles. She turned her .071 batting average into .222 (4-18).

“We were talking about it about three weeks ago and she comes up with a couple really good one liners every now and then,” Murphy said. “And she says, ‘Murph, you don’t want a bingo number,’ and I was like ‘What the hell is a bingo number?’ She goes ‘O-71′ and I was like, ‘Oh, you’re right, you don’t want a bingo number.’ But she had one and now she doesn’t, and I don’t think anybody on the team does.”

No starting player for Alabama has a batting average below .100, and three players are hitting above .400: Andrea Hawkins, Haylie McCleney and Leona Lafaele.

Alabama (18-1) faces DePaul (2-10) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. before playing another against North Dakota State (8-8) following the end of DePaul game.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports