Alabama explodes offensively to clinch rubber match win against Tennessee
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- After two low-scoring performances to open the series, the Alabama bats came alive in the series rubber match on Saturday as the Tide earned a convincing 10-3 win to clinch the series victory.
The offense for Alabama (38-11, 14-7 SEC) was led by sophomore Marisa Runyon, who slugged two home runs and drove in seven RBI. She is now just the second player in Alabama history to have three multi-homer games in the same season, as Kelly Kretschman was the only other Alabama player to do so in 1998. Her seven RBI are the most in a single game since Kellie Eubanks on Feb. 13, 2008 and it is just the fifth time in Alabama history a player has hit at least seven RBI in a game.
Besides Runyon, four other Tide players had multi-hit performances, including a 2-for-2, two RBI day by Andrea Hawkins off the bench. In the circle, Alexis Osorio (15-7) earned the win, throwing 4.2 innings, while Leslie Jury earned her third save of the season with 2.1 shutout innings in relief, allowing just one hit.
Runners left on base hurt Tennessee (36-13, 12-9 SEC) yet again, as 10 runners were left stranded in the game. The Lady Vols used three pitchers and all of them allowed at least three earned runs. Starter Erin Gabriel (14-5) was tagged with the loss, throwing 3.2 innings with four earned runs on four hits.
Alabama got on the board first courtesy of a two-run homer by Runyon in the first inning. The Tide held on to the 2-0 lead until a fielding error in the top of the third allowed Tennessee to score one run but the Tide limited the damage, stranding the bases loaded and escaping the top of the third with a 2-1 lead.
Jadyn Spencer drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth to set up Runyon for another two-run homer, swelling the lead to 4-1. An RBI groundout and an RBI single tacked on two more in the inning as the Tide took a 6-1 lead to the fifth inning.
Kallie Case led off the bottom of the sixth with a triple and, after a groundout, Hawkins would drive her in on an RBI single up the middle to make it 8-3. Another single and a walk would load the bases as Tennessee would reenter its starter Gabriel in the circle. Runyon would tack on two more with a long single to the right-field corner, making it 10-3.