Texas coach Mike White rolled the dice and started Miranda Elish for the second night in a row and it did not work out as he had hoped.
With the bases loaded and one out in the first inning, Reagan Dykes grounded out to second but the Tide was able to push across the first run of the game. Skylar Wallace followed up with a two run double and in the blink of an eye it was a 3-0 Alabama lead.
Alabama’s Patrick Murphy countered with Krystal Goodman who allowed two first inning singles but left them stranded on base.
There was a scary moment in the second inning when Merris Schroder was attempting to take second, Elish was hit square in the face by a throw from the catcher Mary Iakopo. The Texas pitcher remained on the ground for several minutes and had to be helped from the game, later leaving in an ambulance. Fortunately, DCH Regional Medical Center is right down the road. It was so disturbing, ESPN refused to show a replay.
With freshman Shealyn O’Leary in to pitch, Iakopo - clearly distracted by what had happened - let a pitch pass by her and Schroeder moved up to second. KB Sides followed with a single and Schroeder scored run number four on a throwing error by the shortstop.
As a side-effect of the injury, the stunned Tide fans and players became VERY subdued and the Longhorns used the moment as a rallying point. Goodman was removed in the third after allowing two singles with one out. Montana Fouts entered the game and was highly ineffective. The first batter she faced, Mary Iakopo, deposited a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall to cut the Bama lead to one. The game was knotted up at four when the lead-off batter of inning number four hit a solo shot. This was followed by two sharp singles and Goodman re-entered the game. Whatever Fouts did on Thursday, it was not working Friday.
A walk and a throwing error later and Texas was up 6-4. A fielder’s choice made it 7-4. Bailey Hemphill hit a solo homer in the fifth but it wasn’t enough.
For her part, Goodman was excellent. It was a shame this outcome was not better for her.
Blame for this loss can be put squarely on Murphy’s shoulders. When Rhoads Stadium and the Crimson Tide dugout fell deadly silent, he needed to wake his team up with a Bear Bryant-esque pep talk but failed to do so. The premature hook of Goodman was not too wise either.
GAME 3 - WINNER ADVANCES TO THE WCWS
It’s anyone’s guess who the starting pitchers will be. The ESPN announcers speculated it could be Fouts but Sarah Cornell is also a possibility for Bama. Brooke Bolinger likely goes for Texas. She threw two innings of 1-hit ball in Game 1.
May 25 (Sat) vs Texas 1pm CT ESPN and 93.3 FM.
#1 Oklahoma 3, #16 Northwestern 0 - F (Okie leads 1-0)
#7 Minnesota 5, #10 LSU 3 - F (Minnie leads 1-0)
#4 Florida State 4, #13 Oklahoma State 1 - F (Tied 1-1)
#5 Florida 3, #12 Tennessee 0 - F (Fla leads 1-0)
#6 Arizona 5, #11 Ole Miss 2 - F (Az leads 1-0)
#2 UCLA 6, James Madison 1 - F (UCLA leads 1-0)
#3 Washington 3, #14 Kentucky 0 - F (UW leads 1-0)