By (Kelly Ward)

One more hit. That’s all Alabama needed: one more hit.

With two outs in the bottom of the second, Alabama drew a walk followed by a single and error. Senior centerfielder Haylie McCleney came up a walk away from tying the career program record (180). She tied it after drawing a full-count walk to load the bases..

Junior utility Chandler Dare just needed another hit. One more hit.

It wasn’t in the cards as No. 4 Alabama softball fell to No. 11 Kentucky 3-2 to open the three-game series.

“I thought when Haylie got up that we were going to win it regardless of if it were her or Chandler,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said.

Kentucky took a 2-0 lead in the third on a two-run home run. Alabama answered in the fourth with a two-run home run from Reagan Dykes, her team-leading 10th of the year. The Wildcats took a 3-2 lead in the fifth. The winning run reached on an error.

Junior right-hander Sydney Littlejohn (18-4) took the loss. She pitched five innings and gave up three runs on six hits. Her night ended after she threw two straight walks on eight pitches.

Sophomore right-hander Alexis Osorio came in for relief. She pitched two innings and struck out four.

Alabama had five hits in the loss. Senior utility Kallie Case led the team with two hits. Alabama left six on base.

“I thought we hit the ball hard,” Murphy said. “They made every play. Obviously, Chandler gets a hit we win the game so we basically did everything but win the game.”

The Crimson Tide (39-9, 10-6 SEC) hosts Kentucky (39-9, 14-5 SEC) on Saturday at 5 p.m. The series’ finale is Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports