By (Ben Boynton)

By this point, it’s no secret that Alabama has talented pitchers.

Still, the Crimson Tide’s pitching staff reminds its opponents every chance it gets.

Junior Alexis Osorio struck out 18 batters and allowed just a single hit in a 4-0 win over Stanford Saturday, and sophomore Madi Moore and senior Sydney Littlejohn combined for a no-hitter in Alabama’s 10-0 win over Drake in five innings. Osorio’s 18 strikeouts were one shy of her career high.

“Lex is just so competitive, she keeps her composure very well and she wants to dominate and that’s what she does on the mound,” sophomore catcher Reagan Dykes said. “It’s exciting just to be behind there and part of something so special like she is. She’s started off great and she’s going to have a great year.”

Coach Patrick Murphy said that Osorio’s performance wasn’t the best she’s pitched.

“We’re getting spoiled,” Murphy said. “It wasn’t her best performance either, which is scary…That was a good hitting team, they had every regular was [hitting] over .300 except for one and four were over .400…Now we’re going to challenge our hitters to match our pitchers and bring it both ways.”

Alabama has struggled a little with runners in scoring position, leaving double-digit runners on base in recent games against UAB and in it’s Friday night game against Drake. The Crimson Tide left a combined 17 runners on base in its two games, but had an eight-run third inning against Drake that saw clutch hitting with runners in scoring position after three scoreless innings.

“It was almost like a jump start that we needed where everybody contributed,” Murphy said. “I see that all the time in practice, so maybe this is the jump start we needed [to keep it going].”

Sophomore first baseman Carrigan Fain hit a three-run home run in that eight-run third inning, and freshman shortstop Claire Jenkins hit her first career home run an inning later. Freshman catcher Bailey Hemphill drove in a run in each of her two at bats in the third inning.

“It doesn’t really matter what inning it happens, and that’s kind of something we’ve emphasized,” said senior third baseman Marisa Runyon. “We want to throw the first punch, we want to score first and keep tacking on every inning but if it doesn’t happen, make one inning where it does happen.”

The day also served as Runyon’s Senior Day, an experience she said summed up her four years in Tuscaloosa.

“It was so fun, I’m so blessed to be part of such a great program,” Runyon said. “It starts at the top, and coach Murphy is such a great leader, and all of our coaches and so it makes for such a great team that’s so fun to play with.”

The Crimson Tide did see a few injuries affect its day. Senior right fielder Chandler Dare was held out of the action after suffering a slight sprain on Friday, and Moore exited the Drake game early after a collision while covering home plate. Murphy said both injuries were minor and that he doesn’t expect either to miss a significant amount of time.

The Crimson Tide wraps up the Easton Crimson Classic on Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. game against Jacksonville.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports