Tide fall in Women’s College World Series
Tide lose 10-5 to Tennessee in opening game
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama softball dropped its opening game Thursday at the Women’s College World Series, falling to Tennessee, 10-5.
With the loss, Alabama (45-21) will face the loser of today’s Oklahoma vs. Stanford game in an elimination game on Friday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN, while Tennessee (50-8) will face the winner of today’s Oklahoma vs. Stanford game on Saturday.
Both Jenna Johnson and Kenliegh Cahalan had two hits in the losing effort, with Cahalan’s two-run double in the fifth inning extending the game to avoid the run-rule loss. Cahalan’s three RBIs are tied for her season high, previously doing so on opening weekend against Georgia Southern. Freshman Marlie Giles hit a pinch-hit home run in the sixth inning, her second long ball of the season and the second pinch-hit home run for any Crimson Tide player this season.
A pair of two-run doubles in the second inning got Tennessee on the board first, leading 4-0, before Alabama responded with a pair of RBI singles in the next half-inning to cut the lead to 4-2. The Lady Vols quickly went back up by four, as a two-run home run from Jamison Brockenbrough in the bottom of the third stretched the lead to 6-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, Tennessee began to pull away with an RBI double and a three-run home run to lead 10-2, setting them up for a potential run-rule victory. With Alabama down to its final out in the top of the fifth and two on base, Cahalan sent a double to the left field corner, driving in two to keep the game alive with the score now 10-4. In the top of the sixth, Giles stepped in to pinch hit and took first base on a hit-by-pitch but was called back after a challenge overturned the call. She took advantage of the new at-bat with a solo home run down the left field line to draw the Tide within five runs. The score remained the same in the top of the seventh but Alabama went three up, three down to end the game.
“Tennessee came up with some really big hits and I think one of the keys was when we didn’t cash in on our early opportunity in the first inning with two on and nobody out with our 3-4-5 hitters up to bat,” Alabama Head Coach Patrick Murphy said. “You have to get something there in that situation. It was a good start but that sort of deflated us. I was glad we got 15 people into the game, getting some experience on that field. We had some good highlights. Marlie’s pinch-hit home run and Cahalan showed some guts and grit to get that key hit with two outs that extended the game. We could have folded our tent but we fought some more.”
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