NCAA Softball Regional: Tide Advances To Regional Championship

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The NCAA Softball Regional in Tuscaloosa delivered some good news for Crimson Tide fans, as Alabama advanced to the regional championship with a 3-1 win over California on Saturday.

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Runs were at a premium at the NCAA Softball Regional in Tuscaloosa, but the ladies that call Rhoads Stadium home ended up with the most and that is all that matters.

The Golden Bears wasted no time in getting their offense off to the quick start in the first frame of the game, but it would be the only time a Bear base runner would come across the plate.

Cal used the wheels to get the first two batters on with a slap and chopper. Annie Aldrete loaded the bases when her single found the small gap near the first base side. Kobie Pettis followed that up with an RBI single to give Cal the 1-0 lead. The Bears threatened once again during their at-bat, but Tide pitcher Sydney Littlejohn fanned Taurie Pouge to send the game to the home half.

Through two innings of play, the Tide could only post one hit, a double from Leona Lafaele in the first. That all changed in the third. Peyton Grantham got the Tide rally going with a lead-off single. Rachel Bobo, into pinch run for Grantham, advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Kallie Case. Back-to-back RBI triples from Haylie McCleney and Chandler Dare put Alabama out in front, 2-1.

Littlejohn started to settle down a bit in the circle after the Bears’ four-hit start, retiring the Bears in order in the third and only allowing three singles through four innings pitched. Coach Patrick Murphy called in Alexis Osorio out of the bullpen in the fifth after Littlejohn gave up the slapper single to lead off. Sloppy defense during the frame on a slow-rolling bunt put two in scoring position for the Bears and a walk loaded up the bags with no outs. It was no problem for Osorio as she retired the next three in order and fanned the last two Bears faced in the inning.

Osorio only allowed three hits through the rest of the game (two in the seventh) and struck out seven batters over three innings of work.

Chandler Dare gave the Tide some more breathing room in the fifth when her two-out double brought McCleney across the plate after drawing a walk to give Alabama the 3-1 edge and the eventual final score.

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Cal will be forced to play one more game this evening against the winner of the Texas State/Samford elimination game. The Tide will face the winner of tonight’s late game on Sunday with first pitch set for 1:30 p.m. CT. Alabama only needs to win one game out of a possible two to advance to the Super Regionals for a best of three series with the winner of the Washington Regional.