By (Ben Boynton)

On Sunday afternoon, the Alabama Crimson Tide played a game against the Central Florida Knights. The Knights came into the game––their second against Alabama––with a record of 6-5, while Alabama stood at 12-2. Having defeated UCF, 4-0, on Friday night, Alabama felt confident it would be able to handle them a second time.

Alabama earned the 3-2 win, but it wasn’t easy, and coach Patrick Murphy didn’t see a lot that he liked out of his team in the performance.

“It was disappointing with the energy level, the concentration, everything,” Murphy said. “Thank goodness we had an All-American [junior Alexis Osorio] on the mound and [sophomore catcher] Reagan [Dykes] hit her home run, but other than that there wasn’t much to write about.”

Dykes hit a two-run home run in the second inning to give Alabama a 2-0 lead, and a sacrifice fly in the third inning by freshman shortstop Claire Jenkins gave the Crimson Tide a third run, but Alabama left nine runners on base, committed two errors and a seventh inning home run from the visiting team created some doubt in the final inning.

It wasn’t just one facet of the game that Alabama came out flat in on Sunday; it was all of them.

“We had poor execution, bad base running, bad bunting, I could go on and on,” Murphy said. “The best thing about it is that it’s a W.”

His players said they did not come out as strong as they could have.

“Some pitches I didn’t make the best, but we kind of struggled a little bit as a team with energy, hitting, fielding, all that kind of stuff,” Osorio said. “We’re just going to go back and focus on the details during practice to get better.”

Alabama also struggled to put away a UAB Blazers team that is now 4-10 after a 5-4 loss to the Crimson Tide in eight innings Tuesday night. The Crimson Tide were unable to gain any separation from the Blazers and trailed briefly 3-1 after three innings. Alabama took a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning, but the Blazers tied it in the fifth and neither team scored again until Alabama scored the winning run in the eighth inning.

“We can’t ever overlook them,” junior second baseman Demi Turner said. “I think we’re just one of the teams they always circle on their schedule every year and they always want to come out and beat us so we know we can’t take them lightly.”

Playing close games isn’t a purely negative experience. Murphy has talked about the need to learn how to win all types of games, ranging from big wins to tight, one-run contests, and Turner said the close ones help the team grow together.

“We’re a young team, so I think it helps us grow,” Turner said. “Each that we’re in a situation like UAB and we’re down and whenever we’ve got that energy to come back up and get after it, it really implies that our team has heart and fight.”

Part of that team building is not blaming individual players for rough stretches. Osorio said nobody was blaming another player for a mistake or error.

“Everybody’s human and makes mistakes,” Osorio said. “I know how good they are, and I know that they’re going to have my back when I make a mistake in pitching so I don’t get frustrated with them.”

With a daunting SEC schedule approaching fast, the team is trying to focus only on the opponent that’s up next.

“We have to take each team that we play as if we’re playing an SEC team,” Osorio said. “We can’t lighten up on a team and expect us to just kill them.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports