By (Ben Boynton)

The Crimson Tide softball team put up 43 runs in its first five games last weekend, with only one game’s final score within five runs

In its home opener Wednesday night against South Alabama, the Crimson Tide showed they can win the close ones after a 3-1 win over the Jaguars.

“At the beginning of the year I said ‘We’ve got to learn how to win 1-0, 5-4, or 9-8,” said head coach Patrick Murphy. “Tonight, we win being outhit. We had key hits.”

Alabama scored a run in the first inning on an RBI double from junior first baseman Peyton Grantham, and added another run in the third inning after freshman center fielder Elissa Brown singled, stole second and third base, and made it home on an error from the Jaguars.

After that, the Crimson Tide offense struggled to produce at the plate. A solo home run in the fifth inning from senior third baseman Marisa Runyon was the only hit Alabama had after Brown touched home. The Crimson Tide finished with just four hits on the night, while South Alabama had five.

While Brown’s run was the ultimately decisive one, Runyon’s second home run of the season gave her team a two-run cushion and some breathing room. It was her only hit of the night, but her previous two at-bats were fly balls to the outfield.

“I didn’t have the best pre-game,” Runyon said. “I always kind of tell myself ‘Bad pre-game, great game.’ I felt like I was seeing the ball really well and just missing a couple, so I just went in that last at-bat and hit it harder than the last two.”

Alabama was able to win with such little offensive production, because junior Alexis Osorio provided another dominant performance. Her streak of perfect innings to open the season lasted three innings into the game tonight before ultimately ending at 14.2. Osorio still delivered 15 strikeouts and gave up just one run in a complete game performance.

“I thought overall it was a pretty good game,” Osorio said. “I wasn’t keeping track of my strikeouts but that’s pretty cool to get fifteen…Hits are going to happen so I’m not too worried about that…I’m just glad that my defense made some plays behind me also.”

Osorio found herself in a few jams in the game, but was able to get out of most of them.

“It was a really good challenge for me,” Osorio said. “I really appreciated getting the opportunity to work out of a jam like that because it’s going to happen later on in the season, so I’m glad I got to handle it right now.”

South Alabama got a complete game from its starter, as junior Devin Brown gave up just four hits in her six innings pitched. Alabama was able to draw five walks against Brown, as compared to the one given up by Osorio. Brown came into the game with no runs allowed and 25 strikeouts in 15.2 innings.

“They played solid defense, their leadoff is really good, and they have two solid pitchers,” Murphy said. “I thought that we did a really good job hitting her [Brown] early, and that was the first run she gave up that we scored in the first inning.”

Next up for the Crimson Tide is a road trip to take on the No. 18 Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. The series starts with a 5 p.m. CT game on Friday afternoon and then continues with 1 p.m. CT starts on Saturday and Sunday.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports