By (Kelly Ward)

Sydney Littlejohn has her role down. She didn’t need her best performance–she allowed seven hits and a run–but it was enough in No. 4 Alabama softball’s 7-1 win over Mississippi State on Friday night.

The junior right-hander threw 89 pitches, 61 of which were strikes. She gave up only one extra-base hit, didn’t walk anyone and struck out four. Only one of her seven innings pitched went 1-2-3.

“I thought they hit one good ball hard, the double in the gap,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “But then other than that, she controlled them. She made pitches when she needed to. They had first and second a couple times, got a lot of popups. [Sydney] Booker made a couple nice plays at shortstop. But I thought that was typical Sydney, lot of swings and misses, a lot of mishits and she pitched good enough to win.”

Littlejohn (15-2) got help from Alabama’s bats. Senior centerfielder Haylie McCleney led off with a double in the three-run first inning. Alabama scored four in the second with help from freshman catcher Reagan Dykes who doubled in three runs as part of her career-high five-RBI night. Dykes went 2-3 with a double and a walk.

Alabama went 5-10 with two outs over six innings. All seven of the Crimson Tide’s runs were scored with two outs.

“Maybe we used it all early, but I would’ve liked to have a couple of the hitters make better contact too,” Murphy said. “We had too many popups, and then a strikeout at the end. Just put the ball in play. Good things are going to happen.”

The Crimson Tide left 10 on base as opposed to Mississippi State’s seven and outhit the Bulldogs 10-7.

Alabama (33-7, 6-4 SEC) hosts Mississippi State (21-16, 2-8) in the second game of the series Saturday at 2 p.m. The series concludes Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports