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Alabama Softball’s Walk-off home run secures victory after 12 in the NCAA Super Regionals

SReg_GM1_003The Alabama softball team entered into its 10th straight NCAA Super Regionals matchup on a high note after breezing through the first round last weekend winning three in a row.  On the other side of the field, the Nebraska Cornhuskers battled from behind after dropping its first game in Columbia, Missouri but was able to win out and move on to the next level.  However, neither team thought that game one of the Super Regional hosted in Tuscaloosa would turn into a marathon game spanning into early Friday morning and lasting 12 innings. After just under four and a half hours of play Alabama’s Peyton Grantham hit a walk-off home run over left-center field to give the Tide its only lead of the night and the win 6-5. The home run was the freshman’s fourth on the season and made the number nine spot in the ESPN Plays of the Day.

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“Thanks for staying with us.  I was a little worried when it was a two-hour game through four innings and it ended up being 4:22.” Coach Patrick Murphy said.  “It was just a heck of a game to start the super regional.”

Game one between the Tide and Huskers was one for the ages and is the longest-ever Super Regional game for Alabama (49-11) and is tied with Missouri-LSU from 2012, for the longest Super Regional game in the format’s 10-year history.

Nebraska took an early lead in the first inning jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Then in the following inning Nebraska’s Austen Urness squeaked a two-run homer over the left-center wall making it 4-0 in the second. The Tide cut the lead in half in the bottom of the second with one of those runs coming from an errant throw to third base scoring Molly Fichtner and putting Leona Lafaele into scoring position.  Lafaele would score after a hit from Runyon gets a base hit. The Cornhuskers only other run came in the fourth inning making it 5-2, but Alabama was able to pull within one in the bottom of the fourth making it 5-4.  In the bottom of the seventh inning Alabama freshman Marisa Runyon tied the game with a solo shot over center field sending the game into extra innings.

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Neither team could manage a score for the next four and a half innings which included missed opportunities by Alabama after loading the bases and was still unable to score. Alabama stranded 15 players on the night while Nebraska stranded nine. Also on the night, Nebraska committed four errors while Alabama had zero.Alabama pitcher Jaclyn Traina got the start for the game and went four complete innings and threw to one batter in the 5th. Sydney Littlejohn came in to relieve her in the fifth where she pitched a career-high 8.0 innings and 115 total pitches, limiting Nebraska (44-17) to just three hits and no runs.

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In the 12th inning however, Grantham stepped to the plate and sent one sailing over the left center wall causing Rhoads Stadium to erupt and securing the win for the Tide.

Alabama and Nebraska play again on Friday, May 23 at 5 p.m. CT on ESPNU. If a third game is forced, it will start at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN.

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