Jags softball suffers 1st loss of season at #5 Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of South Alabama softball team had a couple of chances late Wednesday night against No. 4/5 Alabama, but Crimson Tide pitcher Alexis Osorio was strong in the circle, handing the Jaguars a 3-1 loss at Rhoads Stadium. The defeat was South's first of the 2017 season, snapping a five-game win streak.
"I thought overall we competed tonight, we just have some things we need to clean up," South Alabama head coach Becky Clark said. "[Alexis Osorio] is a good pitcher and one of the better ones in the nation; we knew that coming in.
"I think we just need to execute better. We had some mistakes in this game and you can't make mistakes in these types of games. We'll just get back out there and try to clean those mistakes up."
South Alabama (5-1) will now return home to host the Mardi Gras Invitational. USA will open up with Butler on Friday night at 5 p.m. The Jags will then take on Murray State (2 p.m.) and McNeese State (7 p.m.) on Saturday and Jackson State on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Live stats for every game of the Mardi Gras Invitational can be accessed at www.USAJaguars.com, while Friday and Sunday's games in which the Jaguars are competing will be live streamed on JagNation TV. Fans can purchase tickets Friday-Sunday and that ticket will cover all games played on that particular day. Tournament seating is $15 for reserved seating and $10 for general admission.
The Jags were led at the plate by Kaleigh Todd and MC Nichols, who each were 2-for-3 on the night. The multiple-hit performance was Todd's 22nd of her career and third of the season and the second of the year for Nichols. Freshman infielder Abby Kryzwiecki recorded the lone RBI for USA in the loss.
Devin Brown (2-1) went the distance in the circle for USA as she allowed three runs – all earned – on four hits, while striking out four and walking five. The complete game was the Mobile, Ala., native's 34th of her career.
The Crimson Tide remained perfect on the year and improved to 6-0 in the victory. Elissa Brown, Demi Turner, Peyton Grantham and Marisa Runyon each recorded a hit, while the latter two also drove in a run.
Alexis Osorio (3-0) continued her strong start to the season in the circle as she struck out 15 Jags in her complete-game effort. Osorio didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning and surrendered just five on the night, while walking just one.
Alabama got a run in the bottom of the first – the first opponent to do so in the lead-off inning versus the Jaguars this season. With one out, Turner dropped in a base hit just inside the leftfield line and beat the throw to second for a double. One batter later, Grantham lined a double of her own that got by Jaguar outfielder Haleigh Lane in left and rolled to the wall, scoring Turner from second to give the Tide a 1-0 lead.
The Tide added another run in the third as E. Brown led the inning off with an infield single. The freshman centerfielder then stole second and then third and on the second swipe came home on Jag catcher Aly Smith's throwing error. The run was unearned at the time, but later became earned on a deep fly by Runyon.
South Alabama broke through in the top half of the next inning. After retiring the Jags in order in each of the first three inning with eight strikeouts, USA was able to get a run across in the fourth the second time through the lineup. Todd and Nichols began the frame with back-to-back singles. With one out in the inning, Kryzwiecki lined a double to dead center that got over Brown's head and rolled to the wall, scoring Todd from second.
Todd's base-hit through the left side of the infield to begin marked the first hit and base runner allowed by Osorio in 14.2 innings of work this season.
With runners and second and third, Osorio was able to end the Jaguar threat as she got Lane to strikeout looking and Kristian Foster to fly out to left to end the inning; USA had cut the deficit in half though.
Alabama extended its lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth as Runyon lifted D. Brown's 2-1, two-out pitch over the wall in left center. The home run was the first allowed by Brown this season.
The Jaguars threatened to chip away at the deficit in the top of the sixth as Todd and Nichols each recorded their second hits of the night to begin the frame, but Osorio would not allow USA to do anymore damage as she got a foul out for the first out. Todd was then thrown out at third trying to advance on a wild pitch and after giving up a walk to Krzywiecki, the junior right-hander struck out Lane for her 13th strikeout of the game.
Osorio retired the Jaguars in order in the sixth, ending the game with her 15th strikeout of the contest.