TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Fourth-ranked Alabama opened its Saturday doubleheader against fifth-ranked Louisiana on a strong note, winning 5-1, but could not secure the series win as the Ragin' Cajuns rallied to win game two, 2-1.
The Crimson Tide (14-4) played a well-rounded opening game against the Cajuns (14-1) but could not carry over its success into game two. Jadyn Spencer went a combined 3-6 between the two games while Haylie McCleney, Demi Turner and Marisa Runyon each knocked in a pair of hits. Runyon's first hit of the day was the biggest, a two-run homer that doubled the Tide's lead in game one. Danae Hays, celebrating her senior day Saturday, also hit one out of the park in game one, a leadoff shot in the sixth inning that was her second long ball of the season.
Game 1: Alabama 5, Louisiana-Lafayette 1
Alabama starter Sydney Littlejohn (6-0) took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning as the Tide put together a well-rounded performance to win Game 1 5-1 and hand Louisiana its first loss of the season. Alabama brought the big bats to back up Littlejohn's performance in the circle, scoring five runs on seven hits including home runs by Runyon and Hays.
Louisiana went hitless until the sixth inning, as the offense could not back up starter Christina Hamilton (3-1), who took the loss after allowing more runs in her five-inning start than she has allowed all season.
With one out and two in scoring position in the bottom of the first, Chaunsey Bell hit a slow roller back to the pitcher, who only had time to throw to first as a run scored on the RBI groundout to make it 1-0. The lead doubled in the bottom of the third, as Turner rolled a single through the right side, sending McCleney from first to third before an errant throw from the outfield allowed McCleney to score and make it 2-0 off the error.
Runyon tacked on two more runs to the Tide's lead in the bottom of the fourth, sending a soaring two-run homer out to center field, her second of the year, to make it 4-0.
Louisiana broke up Littlejohn's no-hit bid in the top of the sixth, eventually scoring one run to make it 4-1, but Hays gave the Tide back its four-run lead to lead off the bottom half of the inning with a solo home run. The 5-1 lead stuck as the Cajuns could not score in the seventh inning, giving Alabama the win in game one.
Game 2: Louisiana-Lafayette 2, Alabama 1
Alabama couldn't carry over its offensive success from Game 1 into Game 2, as the Cajuns edged out the Tide 2-1. Alabama starter Alexis Osorio (5-2) was tagged with the complete game loss, though she only allowed two runs off four hits while striking out 12, just one shy of her season high. Spencer had a 2-3 day from the plate while Chandler Daredrove in the Tide's lone run on a sacrifice fly.
A solo homer and RBI single by Samantha Walsh would be all the Louisiana offense would need, as Jordan Wallace (6-0) held the Tide offense to just one run on five hits, stranding six Alabama baserunners.
Alabama scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the third, as Leona Lafaele legged out a leadoff triple and was driven home on a sacrifice fly by Chandler Dare. Louisiana answered right back to lead off the next half-inning, as Samantha Walsh hit a towering home run to left field, tying it at 1-1.
The Cajuns broke the tie in the top of the fifth, as Walsh drove in her second run of the day on an RBI single to center field to make it 2-1. Alabama threatened in the bottom of the sixth, putting two in scoring position with one out, but could not drive them in as Louisiana took its one-run lead to the seventh inning.
Alabama led off the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles, putting the potential go-ahead run at first base. A ground ball to the shortstop allowed Louisiana to tag out the lead runner, as they got one out but two runners remained on base. Another groundout brought Alabama down to its final out, though the pair advanced into scoring position on the play. A groundout to second ended the late rally however, as Louisiana hung on to win 2-1 and split the first two games of the series.