A season that featured a school-record 28-game win streak, SEC regular season and tournament titles and the program’s first national No. 1 seed has ended short of Oklahoma City for Alabama’s softball team.
Hawaii’s Jenna Rodriguez homered inside the left-field foul pole with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to deal the Crimson Tide a crushing 5-4 defeat and send Rainbow Wahine to their first Women’s College World Series by way of this weekend’s NCAA super regional in Tuscaloosa.
As it turned out, a 16-strikeout performance by pitcher Kelsi Dunne and a clutch three-run home run by shortstop Whitney Larsen were not enough for the Crimson Tide, which held a 4-3 lead entering the final half-inning.
Dunne walked the first batter of the inning, struck out the next two and then allowed the game-winning home run to Rodriguez. It was her second home run of the day, as a three-run shot in the first inning gave Hawaii an early lead.
That lead held until the fifth inning. After Charlotte Morgan’s solo home run in the fourth cut the deficit to two runs, Larsen pounded a two-strike pitch over the fence in center-field in the fifth to give Alabama its first lead of the day.
The Tide ends its season at 52-11 and will miss the WCWS for the first time in three seasons.