COLUMBIA, Mo. – Alabama and Missouri battled back and forth in Friday’s series opener, trading the lead three times with the Tigers ultimately coming out on top, 8-6.
Alabama (42-10, 17-5 SEC) took the first lead of the game and battled back to retake the lead in the fifth inning as Kallie Case blasted her first career grand slam to give the Tide a 6-5 lead at the time. Missouri (41-13, 15-7 SEC) had some timely hits in the bottom of the sixth however, as they came from behind to win, 8-6. The loss is Jaclyn Traina’s (19-3) first in SEC play this season, while Tori Finucane (21-5) remains undefeated in conference series openers this season.
Haylie McCleney took the opening count full and ended up swinging on a ball low and away, sending a solo home run to left field to give Alabama a 1-0 lead in the first at-bat of the game. Kaila Hunt would reach on a one-out single but a double play would end the half inning.
Leona Lafaele and Molly Fichtner led off the top of the second with back-to-back singles, and Ryan Iamurri entered to pinch hit, sacrificing the pair into scoring position with a bunt. Danae Hays sent a fly ball down the right-field line, scoring the pinch runner Chandler Dare from third base off the sacrifice fly to give the Tide a 2-0 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the third, a fielding error extend the Missouri half of the inning and the Tigers took advantage, as an RBI single and a two-run homer gave them a 3-2 lead. Missouri tacked on two more to its lead in the bottom of the fourth, with a leadoff triple and sacrifice fly making it 4-2 and a solo homer making it 5-2.
Alabama got some momentum going in the top of the fifth, loading the bases off a single, error and a walk with one out. Case unloaded the bases with one swing, sending a big drive out to center field for her first career grand slam, her second career home run, to give the Tide a 6-5 lead.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the sixth, Missouri’s Natalie Fleming squared up and roped a double into left-center, scoring two as the tag attempt at home plate just missed the trailing runner to give the Tigers a 7-6 lead. A groundout went for out number two but allowed another run to cross as Missouri moved ahead 8-6. Another groundout ended the half inning but Alabama was now in a must-score situation heading to the top of the seventh.
Alabama brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate in the seventh with one away. A ground ball went for out number two to put runners at the corners with two away, and another grounder ended it as Missouri earned the come-from-behind victory, 8-6.
Game two is set for a 6:30 p.m. CT start on Friday, May 2.