Alabama fans are still waiting word on status of beloved second baseman Demi Turner after a game that saw the Tide (32-5) hit four home runs en route to a 9-3 win that evens the series with Missouri. Rubber game is set for Sunday noon on SEC Network +.
Alabama, playing in Columbia, went up early 4-0, led by a homer by Peyton Grantham. The Tide added two more runs in the third on a second homer by Grantham. Grantham tied an Alabama record for three homers in one game held by Jackie Traina and Marisa Runyon when, in the seventh inning, she hit her third.
Merris Shroder, just back from concussion protocol, also homered in the seventh, as the Tide put out an attempted at a Missouri comeback, to take a 9-3 lead. That’s how it ended. Bama pitcher Sydney Littlejohn gave up the three runs over seven but got the win. Her ERA .98 is still sterling as is her 13-1 record.
Disaster Strikes Friendly Fire
But this win came at a cost. With one out in the sixth inning, with Tigers on first and second, the ball was grounded sharply just to the left of the second base bag. Shortstop Sydney Booker fielded the ball and as she wound up to throw out the runner at first, Turner stepped into the way and caught the full force of the throw to her face. She was on the ground for some time. SEC Network would not show a replay because of the nature of the injury, and when Turner finally was able to come to her feet with help she held a towel to her bloody face.
Fortunately there is a hospital next to the playing field and she was taken there. The University is expected to release information on her condition later today. Poor Demi, she had just come back from an elbow injury that sidelined her most of last season. Turner is the lead-off hitter and the leading hitter with a batting average of .387 and an on-base percentage of .457.
After the injury, Sydney Booker, in fact the entire team was visibly shaken. It is to their grit that they held it together, prevented the Tigers from taking advantage of a bases loaded situation, and came back in the seventh with two homers to ice it.
Observation on pitching
The announcers pointed out repeated that the size of the SEC strike zone has shrunk to a point where batters can afford to sit and wait on pitches. By rule pitches thrown between the knees and the bottom of the sternum that are over the plate should be called strikes. This isn’t happening. As a result, pitchers such as Alabama’s Alexis Osorio are being forced to throw many more pitches per game, and the batter has an unfair advantage.
Prayers up to Demi. She is a true champion and the team needs her.