Alabama’s No. 2 softball wins two shutouts on Day 2 of Easton Bama Bash
Alabama’s No. 2 (8-0) continued its strong start to the 2022 season on day two of the 23rd annual Easton Bama Bash with a pair of shutouts against No. 8 Virginia Tech and Middle Tennessee State.
The Crimson Tide beat the Hokies 2-0 and outscored the Blue Raiders 8-0 in five innings.
In Game 1 of the afternoon, Alabama enjoyed a rematch with Virginia Tech less than 24 hours after beating the Hokies 1-0 on Friday night.
Just like in the first game, both teams struggled to score points. Runners were often stuck in scoring positions.
In the fifth inning, Virginia Tech looked to score the first run of the game after a hit to center field, but rookie Dallis Goodnight ejected the Virginia Tech runner at home.
“It was a great pitch, timely, great home plate play,” catcher Ally Shipman said. “We really needed it, and it was a stick shift, so thanks to her.”
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when Shipman hit a two-run homer to left field, which was Alabama’s only runs of the game.
Shipman has proven to be a valuable addition to Alabama’s batting roster. Tennessee’s transfer is batting .429 through the first seven games of the year, including three homers and a team-leading 13 RBIs.
Alabama followed the home run with a three-up-three-down in the top of the seventh, securing both the win and junior pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl’s second shutout in as many starts. Kilfoyl recorded a season-high seven strikeouts in the win.
“Kilfoyl’s face on the mound is amazing,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “Her intangible this year was having a calm, cool presence when things are happening, and she absolutely lived that in every game she went out.”
Kilfoyl has had a strong start to 2022. She has an ERA of 0.00 after starting two games against top 10 opponents.
The Crimson Tide now has three shutouts against top-10 opponents in 2022 after last weekend’s loss to No. 9 Arizona and both wins over Virginia Tech starting this weekend.
“It definitely improves my confidence because I get to enjoy good performances,” Kilfoyl said. “I know there are a lot of things we need to work on, but we always support each other.”
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In Game 2, Middle Tennessee State had Alabama on the ropes early on. The Blue Raiders threatened with two runners in scoring position in the second inning before Alabama blocked both runners.
In the bottom of the fourth, Alabama only had one hit, but Middle Tennessee State pitcher Gretchen Mead charged on three walks with just one out. After the rides, Mead was replaced in favor of Danielle Taitt.
Freshman Jenna Lord, making her first start of the season, brought in sophomore Bailey Dowling on a sack fly for Lord’s first RBI of the season and the first inning of the Alabama game.
Sophomore Alex Salter started for Alabama but was pulled for the senior Montana Fouts in the fifth inning. The AP’s announcement of Fouts approaching the circle was met with a blowout from Rhoads Stadium, followed by a groundout to end the fifth inning.
“It wasn’t anything Salter did, just an instinctive move,” Murphy said. “That kid had two good sticks, and that would have been the third time she’d seen Salter. I asked Montana the previous round if she was ready to go. She took us out of the round and we directed them, so it worked really well.
Although he was substituted, Salter finished with a respectable final stat line of two strikeouts, three hits, and no runs allowed.
Alabama retired in the fifth with three straight singles followed by a double from Shipman, bringing two runners home. Alabama took a 5-0 lead when rookie Jordan Stephens, also making his first start, brought down two more runners with a deep shot to left field. With two outs, Goodnight hit a single, bringing in junior Jenna Johnson and leading the Blue Raiders.
On the final day of the Easton Bama Bash, Alabama will have a rematch with Middle Tennessee State at 1:30 p.m. CT inside Rhoads Stadium. The match will be televised on SEC Network+.