TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Facing the top-rated pitching staff in the country, a timely three-run double by Andrea Hawkins made the difference in Alabama’s narrow 3-0 victory against South Alabama on Wednesday night at Rhoads Stadium.
With the win, Alabama (32-5) snaps South Alabama’s (29-4) 17-game road winning streak, handing the Panthers their first road loss since the Crimson Tide defeated them last season in Tuscaloosa. Alabama remains perfect all-time against their in-state foe, stretching the series record to 9-0. A second-inning double by Andrea Hawkins drove in three unearned runs while the Alabama defense overcame two errors to hold the visitors scoreless.
Sydney Littlejohn (7-0) earned the win for Alabama, throwing the first 4.0 innings with just three hits allowed while Jaclyn Traina earned her second save of the season, throwing 3.0 shutout innings in relief. South Alabama junior Farish Beard (16-2), the national leader in ERA, took the loss in the complete-game effort, allowing three runs after allowing just nine all season heading into this game.
With each team stranding runners in scoring position early, Alabama took the first lead of the game in the bottom of second as Hawkins dropped a two-out, bases loaded double into shallow left. The ball eluded the left fielder and allowed all three runners to score on the play. Hawkins made a break for third on the play, but the Jaguar third baseman caught her in a rundown for the final out of the inning with Alabama leading 3-0.
In the top of the fifth, South Alabama led off the half-inning with a hit-by-pitch and an infield single, which ended Littlejohn’s outing as Traina entered to pitch for the Tide. After a strikeout, a single would load the bases with only one away in the inning. Danae Hays fielded a hard grounder and fired home, getting the second out at the plate and a groundout to third ended the threat as Alabama held on to its 3-0 lead.
South Alabama would earn just one hit in the final two innings, as Traina pitched two scoreless innings to secure the shutout and give Alabama it’s sixth consecutive win.