By (Ben Boynton)

Junior pitcher Alexis Osorio knew she was pitching well last Friday against Coastal Carolina. She didn’t know exactly how well she was doing while she was on the mound, but she felt good about her pitching.

She did find it odd that the Chanticleers dugout erupted into cheers on a couple foul balls.

“I did get a little confused at that,” Osorio said. “I thought it was actually really funny that whenever they fouled the ball off that they would just cheer, and I know I came back into the dugout and I don’t remember who I said it to but I was just telling them ‘I noticed that every time they foul off the ball their dugout gets louder’ and I just thought that was really funny.”

The reason for the cheers was because those foul balls were some of the few times a Chanticleer batter contacted one of Osorio’s pitches during Alabama’s 6-0 win. In tossing a school-record 19 strikeouts, Osorio pitched just the fourth perfect game in Alabama program history. The only two outs that weren’t strikeouts were pop-ups that didn’t even leave the infield.

After following up a freshman campaign that saw Osorio named a second-team All-American with an effective but injury riddled sophomore season, Osorio said that game against Coastal Carolina was the best she’d ever felt on the mound.

“Coming off of the season last year, it’s probably one of the best feelings that I’ve felt since then [freshman year],” Osorio said. “My main goal this year is to just worry about the spin, going back to freshman year and focusing on the spin rather than just trying to blow it by people.”

Between his pitcher’s perfect game and the opening day record 17 runs scored against Towson earlier in the day, coach Patrick Murphy was pleased with his team’s performance not just on Friday, but in all five games to start the year.

“I don’t know if we’ve had a better opening day than Friday, with the 17-0 and the five home runs, and then Lexie coming up and looking like Sandy Koufax or Randy Johnson,” Murphy said. “I was really pleased with the power [of the offense] as well.”

Murphy said nobody said anything in the dugout to Osorio about her perfect game until it was over, and that when he voiced the possibility of resting Osorio and sending freshman Madi Moore out for the seventh inning he was met with strong opposition.

“It was unbelievable…just awesome to watch. You can’t get any better,” Murphy said. “The next game, she pitched and then retired every hitter too…she was unreal.”

Osorio has pitched 11.2 perfect innings so far this season over two games. She’s recorded 25 strikeouts out of 35 batters faced. The entire pitching staff was effective over the weekend, with all three pitchers throwing at least ten innings each and the team only giving up five runs. Three of the wins were shutouts. Murphy said he hopes to have all three of his pitchers see time in the home opener Wednesday against South Alabama.

He said the team is excited to play at home after opening the year on the road. Rhoads Stadium got a new speaker system over the offseason that Murphy said he is looking forward to seeing in action.

“I can’t wait,” Murphy said. “Me and [director of operations] Kate Harris went out just to sit in the Brickyard and it’s unbelievable, it’s like you’re right next to a speaker at home. That’s going to be a lot of fun for the fans. I’m just anxious to get going here. The field looks great and I think everybody’s excited to finally play at home.”

Osorio had wrist surgery early last season and did not play in the home opener last year, but said the first home game is always special.

“It’s amazing,” Osorio said. “I love the fans that are back here, and it’s good to be back on the home turf and being able to compete out here.”

The Crimson Tide takes on South Alabama at 5 p.m. Wednesday night. The Jaguars are also 5-0, and Murphy said he expects a good game.

“It’s a good team,” Murphy said. “They went 5-0 in their tournament, so it’s going to be a good matchup.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports