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Tide Takes Two of Three From Aggies

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Alabama rebounded from a series loss against No. 2 Florida with a pair of quality wins over No. 23 Texas A&M.

Danielle Richard trots home after her leadoff home run in game one of Alabama's sereis win over Texas A&M.
Danielle Richard trots home after her leadoff home run in game one of Alabama's sereis win over Texas A&M.
Vasha Hunt (vhunt@al.com)

Alabama showcased an improved offense against to take two of three from the No. 23 Texas A&M Aggies. The Tide rebounded nicely after losing the series against No. 2 Florida. Alabama's offense stalled in the Florida series, but exploded against Texas A&M with a combined 26 runs over three games.

Game One: Alabama-13, Texas A&M-0

Danielle Richard hit a leadoff home run in the Crimson Tide's first at-bat and Alabama never looked back. Alexis Osorio continued her dominant freshman campaign with another dazzling performance. Osorio pitched a complete-game shutout and struck out eight, while allowing only three hits and one walk.

Alabama loaded the bases behind two walks and an infield single after Richard's home run. An error and an infield single scored two to extend the Tide's lead to three.

The Tide put runners on the corners in the bottom of the third for Marisa Runyon. Runyon hit a bloop single to right field to make the score 4-0. Andrea Hawkins came to the plate with runners at second and third. Hawkins hit a chopper to the second baseman to drive in Danae Hays. Leona Lafaele then singled home Rachel Bobo to extend Alabama's lead to six. A Chaunsey Bell single prompted Texas A&M to make a pitching change. Kallie Case welcomed the new Aggie pitcher with a single to right field to extend Alabama's lead to seven. The Aggies were able to escape the inning without any further damage.

Hawkins hit an infield single that turned into another run for Alabama. With Hays at first, Hawkins used her speed to rush the Aggie fielder. A bad throw to the first baseman allowed Hays to score and Hawkins to move to third. Texas A&M changed pitchers again after a walk put runners on the corners. The Tide railed off three hits, forced two fielding errors and took advantage of a wild pitch to increase the lead to 13-0. Texas A&M would not get going offensively, and Bama run ruled the Aggies.

Game Two: Alabama-8, Texas A&M-5

Alabama rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the sixth to clinch the series. The Crimson Tide trailed for the majority of the game and looked like they had reverted back to the Florida series. Leslie Jury only lasted 1.2 innings in her worst pitching performance of the season, allowing the Aggies to rack up three runs in the first. After Jury put an Aggie on first in the second inning, Coach Patrick Murphy decided it was time to put Sydney Littlejohn in the circle. Littlejohn walked the first batter she faced. A clutch strikeout shut down the Aggie threat and let Littlejohn escape the inning without any damage.

Demi Turner drove in Case to put the Tide on the board in the bottom of the third. Alabama left two on base. In the fourth, Leona Lafaele crushed a solo home run to trim the Aggie lead to 3-2. Texas A&M decided it was time for a pitching change, and new pitcher Abby Donnell escaped without further damage.

After Texas A&M scored two more runs, Runyon gave the Tide a spark with a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth. Runyon's home run was her team-leading sixth of the year. A walk brought in Rachel Fox, A&M's third pitcher of the game. Fox walked the first two batters she faced to load the bases. Case hit a single up the middle to tie the game at five. Richard drew a bases-loaded walk to give Alabama its first lead of the game. Donnell reentered the game for the Aggies. Turner singled to push Bama's lead to 8-5. Littlejohn closed out the game to clinch the series for the Tide.

Game Three: Alabama-5, Texas A&M-11

Alabama struggled mightily in game three allowing two errors, seven runners left on base, 11 hits and six walks. Osorio could not get in the groove she had been in all season long and lasted only 4.2 innings and allowed six earned runs.

Cali Lanphear hit two home runs and drove in five to lead the Aggies to victory. Katie Marks went the distance in the circle for A&M. Lanphear hit her first home run, a two-run homer, in the top of the second. Turner drove in Bobo for the Tide in the bottom half of the inning to cut Texas A&M's lead to 2-1.

Alabama tied the game on Haylie McCleney's stellar baserunning. McCleney drew a leadoff walk, stole second, advanced to third on a sac-fly to center and scored on another sac-fly to center.

A&M took the lead in the fourth and did not look back. The Aggies took a 3-2 lead on a fielder's choice, and scored three more runs on a pair of singles. Alabama tried to rally in the bottom of the inning and cut the lead to 6-5.

Lanphear hit a three-run home run in the top of the fifth to end Alabama's comeback hopes. The Aggies scored a pair of insurance runs in the seventh to extend the lead to 11-5. Alabama could not muster a rally in the bottom of the seventh, and the Aggies avoided the sweep.

Looking Ahead

Alabama hosts Mississippi Valley State tonight and Southern Mississippi tomorrow night in midweek action. Both games are at 6 p.m. CT. Both of the Mississippi schools have sub-.500 records and should be easy wins for the Tide. Tickets are available here or at the gate prior to the game.