By (Ben Boynton)

After a couple of close games, the Alabama Crimson Tide softball team won its first two games of the Easton Classic handily on Friday night, outscoring the opposing teams 13-1 and allowing just three hits on the day.

Coach Patrick Murphy said he was pleased with the offense but that it can continue to improve.

“We had a lot of first and seconds, second and third with one out, first and second with no out, and then it was kind of a stall,” Murphy said. “We need to get that third person to get the hit or get on base and it hasn’t happened very often, and that was fun to see with the six [runs in the fourth inning of the first game].”

In the first game, Alabama scored runs in every inning, including the aforementioned six in the fourth, to win 10-0 in five innings over the Jacksonville Dolphins. Sophomore left fielder Merris Schroder hit a three-run home run in the Crimson Tide’s fourth inning explosion, and Alabama tallied nine hits and six walks. Junior pitcher Alexis Osorio had 11 strikeouts as she combined with sophomore Madi Moore to no-hit the Dolphins. The only baserunner allowed by the two was when Osorio hit a batter to lead off the fourth inning. She struck out the first nine batters she saw to start the game.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” Osorio said. “Just having the smooth rhythm, everything’s going your way, it’s easy to play under that stuff.”

Murphy said that such a performance from his pitcher just isn’t surprising to him anymore.

“To watch Lexie…it’s just amazing,” Murphy said. “Her teammates, it’s kind of strange but I think we all expect it now.”

Schroder has also impressed her coach so far this season. Her .442 batting average ranks second on the team, and she is second in home runs, second in slugging percentage, and third in RBIs.

“I’m just trying to swing at good pitches and I’ve been seeing the ball really well,” Schroder said. “The ball’s looking pretty big to me right now, so I’m just trying to take advantage of that right now.’

In the second game, Alabama scored three runs in the first two innings to take an early 3-1 lead. The Crimson Tide tacked on three more in the fifth to win 6-1 over the Drake Bulldogs. Senior Sydney Littlejohn pitched a complete game with six strikeouts and just three hits allowed.

The Crimson Tide left 10 runners on base against the Bulldogs, something that Murphy said he wants to improve on.

“[We] just got to pick a good pitch and drive it,” Murphy said. “It’s too early to start thinking too much and being negative, so the positive is there’s a lot of people on base. Hopefully, eventually the law of averages will catch up with us and we’ll start driving in more.”

The Crimson Tide continues its weekend with a 1:30 p.m. game against Stanford and a 4 p.m. scheduled rematch against Drake on Saturday.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports