Alabama Walks-Off to Save Season in 14th-Inning Marathon vs. Tennessee

Courtesy of Alabama Athletics

Alabama wasn’t going end their season without a fight. A walk-off chopper from Kristen White in the 14th inning and an incredible performance from Kayla Beaver in the circle led Alabama to a 3-2 victory over Tennessee forcing the if-necessary game on Sunday.

This marked the longest game between SEC opponents and the longest Super Regional game in NCAA Tournament history. 

Alabama started this game swinging immediately. At the top of the lineup, White reached second after a Tennessee fielding error. Kenleigh Cahalan’s infield single put runners at the corners with one out. White scored from third after an RBI groundout from Lauren Johnson. 

Tennessee responded in the second inning by loading up the bases. A base hit from Laura Mealer advanced Rylie West to tie the game.  

Later in the fourth, Sophia Nugent ripped a shot to clear the left field wall, extending the lead for the Vols. But that advantage didn’t last long. Bailey Dowling ripped a solo shot off of Gottshall to even the score. 

Karlyn Pickens took the circle after Gottshall hit Riley Valentine and Beaver toed the rubber to replace Jocelyn Briski. With the switch-up of talent on the mound, the score stayed even at two forcing the outing into extra innings. 

The Crimson Tide threatened late in the eighth inning when a pitch hit Larissa Preuitt. An infield single from Cahalan put two on base with no outs, but there was no stopping Pickens who battled back to strike out two straight hitters. 

Tennessee came close to ending this game with bases loaded in the 14th. Beaver began to lose steam, hitting West, and fell behind in counts. Giulia Koutsoyanopulos battled to a full count with the bases loaded and two outs, but her hit didn’t get through the infield. 

To kick off the bottom of the 14th, Lauren Johnson swung at the first pitch to single. Valentine followed up with a double and Kali Heivilin was intentionally walked to load the bases. White sent her game-winning chop to shortstop and reached on a fielder’s choice.

Beaver finished the outing throwing a full 10 innings with four strikeouts. 

Tennessee needs one more win over Alabama to advance to its second straight Women’s College World Series. It would be the first time the Vols make consecutive appearances in Oklahoma City since 2013. As for the Tide, they are looking to make its second-straight trip to the Women’s College World Series and 15th in program history. 

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