By (Ehsan Kassim)

Alabama’s softball team got its home season started on the right foot, winning three of its four games in the Easton Bama Bash. The game on Sunday was canceled due to inclement weather.

“I want to say thanks to the fans for the great turnout,” said coach Patrick Murphy. “They have been incredible the past two days.”

The Crimson Tide started the weekend by sweeping Georgia State and No. 9 Florida State on Friday night.

Behind Madison Preston making her home debut, Alabama defeated Georgia State 5-1. Preston gave up an early run, but settled in to finish her third complete game of the season.

Preston struck out two, walked two and induced 13 ground ball outs in her seven innings.

“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.”

Peyton Grantham supplied the power for the Alabama offense, blasting a two-run home run in the second inning to boost the Crimson Tide to a 2-1 advantage, which it would not relinquish.

Gabby Callaway also had a good day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.

In the second game of the double-header, Alexis Osorio delivered another dominant outing, one Murphy called her best start of the season.

Osorio held the Seminoles off the scoreboard in her seven complete game innings. She allowed just three hits, struck out 10 and walked three.

“[Friday] 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.”

Elissa Brown sparked the Alabama offense against Florida State. She led off the game with a single, stole second base and scored on an RBI groundout by Bailey Hemphill.

Brown walked her other two plate appearances and stole two more bases. She has eight stolen bases on the season now.

Demi Turner, who had been dealing with a toe injury, made her first start of the season and came up with a big triple in the fifth, scoring on an sac fly by Callaway to extend the Alabama lead to 3-0.

“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.”

The Crimson Tide split its doubleheader against Northern Iowa and No. 9 Florida State on Saturday.

Before the Northern Iowa game, Alabama honored infielder Peyton Grantham with a senior day tribute video.

“It’s always awesome to have that,” Grantham said. “Murph gives everyone their own day, it’s a special day. Everyone in the stands is rooting for you.”

Against the Panthers, it was Courtney Gettins turn to make her home debut. Despite running into trouble in the first inning and allowing two runs, she settled down and allowed her offense to take over the game.

“I saw a lot of fight from her,” Grantham said. “She just had to settle in. This was her first game playing in front of our home crowd. I think there was a bit of nerves there.”

Gettins retired 10 straight from the first inning to the fourth and the last five hitters to end the game. She threw six complete innings, allowing six hits, striking out four and walking two.

Alabama’s offense scored 11 runs, scoring a run in each inning except the first. Brown’s slap single in the second inning gave Alabama its first lead, 3-2, one it would build on the rest of the game.

Turner, starting for the second game in a row, collected three hits and an RBI. Caroline Hardy and Claire Jenkins finished with two hits and one RBI a piece.

Freshman Kyra Lockhart ended the game on the run rule with an RBI single in bottom of the sixth. It was her second hit and RBI of the season.

In the second game Saturday, Murphy wanted to see what Preston could do against a top-10 opponent. She did not disappoint, despite Alabama falling 3-1.

“I was really proud of what Preston did,” Murphy said. “It was her first shot at a ranked opponent, a top-10 team. She gave us a chance to win. That’s the thing I always ask from a starting pitcher. Really only two bad pitches, the two home runs.”

Alabama was limited to just one run off five hits against one of the better starters in the country, Meghan King.

Alabama saw a late rally in the seventh come short after it loaded the bases. But the offense did have something it could build on in future games.

“No strikeouts tonight against a great pitcher,” Grantham said. “Last year we probably would have had 10 to 12. Just putting the ball in play, that’s what we always want. That should build our team confidence.”

Reagan Dykes was hit by a pitch on the hand in the fifth inning against Florida State. She left the game and went in for X-rays according to Murphy.

Alabama takes on UAB on Tuesday Feb. 27, in Birmingham. First pitch will be at 6 p.m.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports