By (Ehsan Kassim)

The Alabama Crimson Tide softball team started its home season in 2018 on the right foot. On the first day of the Easton Bama Bash, Alabama defeated Georgia State 5-1 and No. 9/10 Florida State 3-0. Alabama is now 8-1 after the two wins Friday.

In the first game, Alabama faced a deficit for just the second time this season. Georgia State jumped on freshman Madison Preston in the second inning to jump to 1-0 lead.

“We [the defense]messed up the one run,” said coach Patrick Murphy said. “She [Preston] kept her composure and did a good job.”

The lead was short lived asGabby Callaway singled before Peyton Grantham sent a monster home run, her second of the season, over the left field wall to give Alabama a 2-1 lead in the second inning.

The two runs were more than enough for Preston. She finished her third complete game of the season, allowing eight hits over her seven innings of work. She struck out two, walked two and induced 13 ground ball outs.

“When she keeps the ball knee or down, you can’t really lift it,” Murphy said. “If the ball stays on the ground, you gotta hit three in a row to score a run.”

One of the ground balls was a shot hit to shortstop Sydney Booker, who made a strong defensive sliding stop and threw out a Panther base-runner at the plate to end the third inning.

Booker led the next inning off with a single and scored on a Callaway two-run double that gave Alabama a 5-1 lead.

Callaway went 2-for-3 in the game with two RBIs.

“We had some good at bats today,” Murphy said.

In the second game of doubleheader, Alabama turned to its ace, Alexis Osorio, to face off against No. 9 Florida State. Osorio dominated the Seminoles, throwing a complete game. She allowed only three hits, walked three batters and struck out 10.

The 10 strikeouts tied a season high for Osorio, and her ERA on the season is down to 0.44. She has 32 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Osorio did get into a couple of jams in the first and fourth innings, with runners being on first and second. Both times she buckled down and got Alabama through the inning.

“She did a great job again,” Murphy said. “Every now and then when she gets in trouble, she pitches out of it.”

In the first inning, Osorio gave a single, stolen base and a walk to the first two hitters. She retired the next 10 hitters, with five outs coming via the strikeout.

“Today felt really good,” Osorio said. “I felt all my pitches were working and I thought everybody on the team came together and all contributed to this win.”

With Osorio dominant on the mound, her offense was able to squeak out enough runs to get Osorio her third win on the season.

Elissa Brown led the way for the Alabama offense. She led the Alabama first off with a single, stole second and scored on an RBI groundout by Hemphill. Brown walked her other two times at the plate and stole three bases for the game.

“[Florida State pitcher Kylee] Hanson was the national pitcher of the week,” Murphy said. “On the very first pitch of the game Elissa singles, steals second, got to third on a groundout and scored on another groundout. She manufactured that almost all by herself.”

In the fourth inning, Alabama added on an insurance run. Grantham hit a single with one out and was pinch ran for by KB Sides. Sides ended up scoring on Reagan Dykes’ RBI single.

“The big one was Reagan Dyke’s two out RBI,” Murphy said. “Great at bat. She’s been struggling a little bit, but tonight she was 2-for-2, looked like her old self. She was really swinging at the correct pitches.”

The Crimson Tide added on more insurance in the fifth. Demi Turner tripled to the right field wall. She scored on a Callaway sac fly to extend the Alabama lead to 3-0.

Turner has been dealing with a toe issue and the Florida State game was her first start of the season.

“I just trust in God,” Turner said. “I try not worry too much about anything and let my work over the past few years take over. It feels awesome. Whatever I could do for the team.”

Alabama continues the Easton Bama Bash on Saturday with a game against Northern Iowa at 1:30 p.m. and Florida State at 4 p.m.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports