By (Kelly Ward)

No. 6 Alabama softball found a weakness in No. 16 Missouri’s game and had a day with it. The first three Alabama batters reached on first-pitch bunt singles. Then came the walks in the 16-2 mercy-rule win over the Tigers to claim the series.

“They’re better than that; everybody knows that,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “I learned a long time ago that you’re not as bad as you think you are and you’re not as good as you think you are.”

Alabama scored its first run in four pitches. That turned into a three-run first inning. The Crimson Tide followed up the first with a 12-run second inning. In that inning alone, Alabama racked up five walks and five hits. Two of the hits were three-run home runs. The first was by freshman catcher Reagan Dykes. The second was from junior designated player Marisa “Home” Runyon, her third long ball of the series.

In all, Alabama notched 10 hits and eight walks. The top of the order went 6-7 with four walks. Kallie Case, Haylie McCleney, Chandler Dare and Runyon had two hits apiece. Case reached on throwing error on a sac bunt. She also singled in the bottom of the second and made it all the way home on a fielding error in right field.

“I saw her miss a little bit but I didn’t know how far it went so I just went and rounding second I saw Murph’s eyes real wide and just kept telling me to go so I was like, ‘OK, I guess I’m going to go home on this,’” Case said.

Junior right-hander Sydney Littlejohn (12-2) picked up the win with five innings pitched. She gave up four hits, including a two-run shot which right fielder Andrea Hawkins nearly robbed. Littlejohn picked up both wins in the series. She retired 15 batters in a row between giving up a home run Saturday and a single in the bottom of the third Monday. In the rubber match, she she walked one and struck out one.

She could be the ace, Murphy said.

“Shoot, Madi [Moore] could if she wants to do it,” Murphy said. “Anybody can, but I thought she [Littlejohn] pitched really good two games in a row.”

Alabama (29-6, 3-3 SEC) heads to No. 1 Florida (33-1, 8-1 SEC) for a three-game series beginning Friday at 5 p.m. CT. Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. matchup will be televised on ESPN2. The series concludes with a noon game Sunday.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports