Alabama softball falls to Georgia 9-5 in regular season finale

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (Alabama Athletics) — After rallying to win in game two, a late Alabama rally fell short in the series finale as the Crimson Tide fell to Georgia, 9-5, Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium.

“We just needed a better overall start from our starting lineup,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “There were too many holes in the lineup and we didn’t play very good defense. We had a little run at the end but it was too little, too late.”

Alabama (45-11, 16-8 SEC) fell behind early to Georgia (40-16, 12-12 SEC) and four runs late in the game proved too little, too late to overcome the deficit. Leona Lafaele went 3-4 batting third, driving in two of the team’s five runs with a solo home run and an RBI double. Kallie Case slugged her fourth career home run in the seventh inning, her first long ball since playing at Georgia last year on March 15, 2015. The Tide used all three of its pitchers, with starter Sydney Littlejohn (22-5) taking the loss after 3.2 innings pitched. For Georgia, Chelsea Wilkinson (23-6) threw 6.0 of the seven innings to earn her 23rd win of the season.

Sunday’s called attendance of 3,725 gives Alabama a weekend total of 10,779 and a season average of 3,087 fans per game.

“The attendance this year has been unbelievable,” Murphy said. “It’s unfortunate that we had a great crowd for a great cause today and didn’t come out with the win. We’ve lucked out on some weather which has helped a lot.”

Georgia struck immediately in the opening inning with an RBI single and a fielding error allowed another to cross to make it 2-0. A solo home run by Lafaele in the bottom half of the inning cut the lead in half but the Bulldogs put some distance between the teams with seven unanswered runs over the next four innings to pull ahead 9-1. An RBI double by Lafaele in the sixth made it a 9-2 game and Alabama tacked on three more in the bottom of the seventh to draw within four but another late comeback was not in the cards as a strikeout ended the game with two on base in the seventh.

Alabama begins postseason play this week at the 2016 SEC Tournament in Starkville, Miss. The Tide will enter the tournament as the No. 5 seed and will open action against tournament host and 12th-seed Mississippi State on Wednesday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.

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