By (Kelly Ward)

After dropping the first game of its doubleheader against No. 16 Missouri on Saturday 7-3, No. 6 Alabama softball bounced back to a 9-1 mercy-rule win to even the series. Junior Marisa “Home” Runyon went 3-3 with a double and two home runs, good for six RBIs.

Between games, Alabama coach Patrick Murphy told his team to forget the loss.

“I said, ‘Over and done with. We got our asses kicked. Forget about it. Next game starts in 20 minutes. So nobody can be Patty Polly so get over it, do what you need to do inside and then when you come out on the field, it’s a new game,’” Murphy said. “And I thought from the very beginning when Sydney [Littlejohn] does what she does, it’s impressive—and they’re a good hitting team obviously, you saw that in the first game, and when she can dominate like that, it’s pretty special.”

Junior right-hander Littlejohn (11-2) picked up the win after allowing one hit, a solo home run. She walked one and struck out two. She worked through 17 batters in 53 pitches.

“I feel like my best games are whenever I do have a low pitch count, and I credit that 100 percent to my defense,” Littlejohn said. “I mean, you saw the game, how amazing they were doing, [Sydney] Booker making plays, Chandler [Dare] making great plays on the infield. She’s new there and she’s really stepped up, and I’m really proud of her. Of course, our offense really stepped up.”

Alabama put together 10 hits in the win. Seniors Haylie McCleney and Andrea Hawkins both went 2-3. Booker went 1-2. Dare and senior first baseman Leona Lafaele went 1-3 each.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Alabama fell 7-3 and was outhit 10-4. No one had multiple hits in the first game.

Sophomore right-hander Alexis Osorio (8-4) took the loss after 4 2/3 innings pitched. She gave up nine hits and seven runs, four of which were earned. She walked one, hit another and struck out two. After Osorio gave up two home runs in the fifth, Murphy turned to freshman left-hander Madi Moore to stop the bleeding. She did that. In 2 1/3 innings, she allowed one hit, walked one and struck out two.

“The goal of the reliever is to leave the score the same,” Murphy said. “It was 7-3. She kept it at seven, and I thought she did a great job. And after the game I said in front of everybody, ‘She just earned more playing time.’”

Alabama (28-6, 2-3 SEC) hosts Missouri (24-5, 3-2 SEC) in the series’ rubber match Monday at 6 p.m. on SEC Network.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports