By (Ben Boynton)

Sophomore Demi Turner missed 28 games this season due to injury. Prior to postseason play, Turner hadn’t taken the field since March 12 against LSU, but on Friday night, Turner showed up when the Crimson Tide needed her.

Turner’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Washington Huskies lifted the Crimson Tide to a 2-1 win in the first game of a best-of-three Super Regional series. With the bases loaded, Turner’s infield single brought freshman pinch-runner Merris Schroder across home plate in front of a reported 2,841 fans at Rhoads Stadium.

“In my head, I was just thinking ‘Keep it Simple’ the whole time,” Turner said. “It was an emotional moment, after not being able to contribute the way I wanted to physically for a while.”

The game featured two productive offenses, but pitching would rule the day. Alabama sophomore Alexis Osorio threw a career-high 156 pitches, and recorded 13 strikeouts while giving up just four hits and one unearned run. Osorio also gave up eight walks, but her streak of innings pitched without surrendering an earned run in the NCAA Tournament stretches to 24.2 innings. Osorio is now 18-6 on the season.

Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy was pleased with his pitcher’s performance, even with the high walk count.

“It was very resilient,” Murphy said. “They had a lot of people left on base, and she had some key strikeouts. I know her walks were up, but several of them were intentional. She came up big. That was a really gutty effort.”

For Washington, sophomore Madi Schreyer took the start and a no-decision, pitching three innings and giving up three hits and one earned run. Freshman Taran Alvelo took the loss to move to 18-6 on the season. Alvelo pitched four innings, surrendering five hits and one earned run.

Washington was the first team to get on the scoreboard, with senior right fielder Dani Braun scoring on an error from Crimson Tide sophomore shortstop Sydney Booker in the second inning. Alabama answered in the fourth inning, when Turner drew a bases-loaded walk to bring sophomore pinch runner Rachel Bobo home.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, sophomore third baseman Peyton Grantham drew a leadoff walk after going down early in the count 0-2. Freshman catcher Reagan Dykes also drew a walk, and a failed forceout attempt at third got senior right fielder Andrea Hawkins to first to load the bases. Turner swung at the first pitch of her at-bat to win the game.

“I knew they’d come prepared, and they’re very well-coached,” Murphy said. “It’s a great Super Regional matchup, and a great way to start this two out of three.”

Both teams left a lot of runners stranded on base. Alabama left 11 on base, and Washington had 13.

“We had a ton of chances, and just couldn’t find a way to score a run when we needed to,” Washington head coach Heather Tarr said. “We played good enough defense to stay in the game. We just couldn’t get the key hit when we needed it.”

The game was the first extra-innings contest for the Crimson Tide this season, and its first at home since a May 22, 2014 Super Regional win over Nebraska.

Game two of the best-of-three series is expected to begin at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Game three, if necessary, will follow shortly after. The winner of the series will advance to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports