Alexis Osorio wowed fans with a 19-strikeout perfect game in Alabama’s second game of five in the Kickin’ Chicken Classic in Conway, S.C., as the Crimson Tide rolled to a 5-0 start to the season.
Osorio’s scintillating performance was only the fourth perfect game in program history. Osorio set a new school-record for strikeouts in a game with 19 punchouts against an overwhelmed Coastal Carolina squad.
The Crimson Tide cruised to a 5-0 start at the South Carolina tournament, outscoring their opponents by a combined 43-5 margin.
Alabama crushed the Towson Tigers 17-0 in a five-inning rout that would set the tone for the team’s stellar weekend. Towson had no answer for Tide pitcher Sydney Littlejohn, who spun her way to four innings of three-hit ball with eight strikeouts against the Tigers.
The Tide started hot offensively and never relinquished the offensive momentum throughout the run-rule shortened game. Eight of the Crimson Tide’s first nine batters reached base safely to set the morning’s torrid offensive pace.
Peyton Grantham slugged her way to a 4-6 day at the plate that included eight RBIs, a home run and a pair of doubles. Demi Turner showed off her offensive prowess with a 4-7 day, and helped consistently set the table for the Tide with five runs scored.
Freshman newcomer Bailey Hemphill set the tone in her first ever collegiate at-bat with a three run homer to left in the bottom of the first. The Tide added home runs from Grantham, as well as Marisa Runyon, Sydney Booker and Turner. Overall, the Crimson Tide finished with 17 runs on 16 hits in an offensive power surge that shell-shocked the Tigers.
Osorio turned all the attention from the red-hot Crimson Tide offense to the team’s stellar pitching staff with her perfect game against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the second game of Alabama’s weekend.
12 straight Chanticleer batters fanned out against Osorio’s stellar pitching to start the special afternoon. All but two of the 21 defensive outs Alabama recorded in the game came from Osorio strikeouts.
The Tide’s offensive production remained steady, although a mediocre performance would’ve sufficed thanks to Osorio’s record breaking outing. Grantham contributed with the game’s first two RBIs, while freshman phenom Hemphill continued her power surge with a three-run homer to stretch the lead to 5-0 in the top of the third. Runyon later added a sac-fly to stretch the lead to 6-0, and Osorio wrapped up her historic day by striking out seven of the next nine Chanticleer batters.
The Tide could not replicate their first offensive performance of the weekend in their second game against Towson, but came back from behind to win 4-2 to start their season 3-0 in South Carolina.
Alabama raced out to a 1-0 lead after a double steal in the top of the first. Towson answered with a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning, and took the lead with an RBI single in the bottom of the third. The Tigers had runners on and one out following the RBI single, and the Tide turned to Osorio to wiggle out of the jam. Osorio continued her incredible weekend by responding with 4.2 perfect innings.
The Crimson Tide took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning after a game-tying HBP and an RBI single. Grantham stretched Alabama’s lead to 4-2 with an RBI single in the sixth. Osorio and the Tide shut down Towson for the remainder of the game to start Saturday with a win.
Sydney Littlejohn showed that Osorio is not the only ace on this Alabama staff with a complete game shutout against Youngstown State in the fourth game of the Kickin’ Chicken Classic. Littlejohn recorded 10 Ks, and took a no-hitter into the fifth inning until the Penguins spoiled it with a bunt single.
Peyton Grantham, Merris Schroder and Claire Jenkins each had two-hits, while Schroder and Jenkins accounted for four of Alabama’s six RBIs. Runyon singled with a runner on in the bottom of the first. Youngstown State made a crucial fielding error to score the runner and allow Runyon to advance to third.
Jenkins added an RBI single in the second inning, and Alabama added four more runs in the third. Hemphill showed off her power once again with an RBI double. Schroder followed
Hemphill’s double with a two-run triple to right, and the Crimson Tide added two more runs on an RBI single and later an RBI groundout.
Alabama wrapped up the weekend with a 9-3 win over Coastal Carolina to wrap up the sweep in the Kickin’ Chicken Classic and move to 5-0 on the season. Madi Moore got the win in the circle, and the Crimson Tide bats stayed hot to finish the tournament.
Coastal Carolina gave the Tide an early scare and raced out to a 2-0 lead. The Crimson Tide
finally broke through in the fourth inning with four straight singles to score one and load the bases. Alabama took a 3-2 lead on a fielding error by the Chanticleer third baseman. Demi Turner stretched the lead to 4-2 with another RBI single after the error, but was caught stealing on the next at bat to end the inning.
Hemphill slugged yet another two-run homer in the fifth and the Tide never looked back. Alabama stretched the lead to 9-2 and held it there until the final inning. Coastal Carolina fought to load the bases and added a third run with a sacrifice fly. Alabama shut the Chanticleers down with a double play to secure the victory and the tournament sweep.
Alexis Osorio: Osorio is the obvious MVP of the weekend, with 11.2 perfect innings and 25 strikeouts. Osorio is the ace of this staff.
Sydney Littlejohn: Osorio is the ace, but Littlejohn represents Alabama’s embarrassment of riches in the circle. Littlejohn threw 11 innings of 4-hit ball and held opponents to a .105 batting average.
Peyton Grantham: Grantham is Alabama’s veteran offensive leader and it showed. Grantham is averaging 2 RBIs per game and is batting .500 on the season.
Merris Schroder: The freshman newcomer leads players with at least 10 ABs with a .545 average.
Bailey Hemphill: Wow. Hemphill has put up statistics reminiscent of Barry Bonds so far this season with 3 HRs in 14 ABs and a .500/.588/1.214 triple-slash line. Did we mention she is a freshman?
The Tide host South Alabama Wednesday at 5 P.M. CT in 2017’s home opener. Head on out to Rhoads Stadium Wednesday evening to support the Crimson Tide. The game is also available locally in Tuscaloosa on 93.3 FM. Tickets are available at the gate or at rolltide.com.