Softball beats Mississippi State behind Gettins’ pitching performance

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Softball beats Mississippi State behind Gettins’ pitching performance

CW/ Hannah Saad

CW/ Hannah Saad

CW/ Hannah Saad

CW/ Hannah Saad

Ben Stansell, Assistant Sports Editor

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With its ace pitcher Montana Fouts out of the rotation with a minor injury, Alabama needed a quality start on the mound against Mississippi State.

Courtney Gettins answered the call, striking out four and only allowing one earned run in a complete game win. The Crimson Tide defeated the Bulldogs 8-2 under ominous gray skies on Saturday afternoon, improving to 36-1 on the season and 7-1 in conference play.

“I thought Courtney pitched her butt off and gave us a big-time start and a complete game,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “She was terrific. I think she was the story of the day.”

The game ended well for Gettins, but it didn’t start that way. The senior from New Zealand found herself in trouble in the first inning. With the bases loaded, Mississippi State’s Carter Spexarth was up at the plate. A run had already been scored by the Bulldog’s and Spexarth had an opportunity to increase the lead.

Gettins made sure that didn’t happen, forcing her to ground into a double-play to get Alabama out of the inning with minimal damage.

“Courtney made a really good pitch on the kid for the double play, Claire makes a good play and then boom we’re out of the inning,” Murphy said.

Gettins set the tone. Alabama’s offense built on it.

“It’s a lot easier when you come out and your pitcher sets the tone for the game, especially with Montana [Fouts] not really being in our lineup right now,” KB Sides said.

In the bottom of the first, Bailey Hemphill hit her team-leading 16th home run of the season. Not only did Hemphill crush the ball past the wall in centerfield, she launched it over the camera tower standing behind it. Hemphill’s two-run home run gave Alabama’s offense the jolt it needed. Reagan Dykes hit a two-run home run of her own only a few pitches later, giving Alabama a 4-1 lead going into the second inning.

Alabama’s early scoring outburst turned the tide in the game.

“You could see a little different look in [Mississippi State] from being up 1-0 and then being down 4-1,” Murphy said.

The Crimson Tide went on to score four more runs, including another homer from Maddie Morgan in the bottom of the sixth inning, but it was Gettins who sealed the game for Alabama with a dominant performance throughout the middle innings. At one point, Gettins retired nine-straight batters.

“Almost every single time I looked up there it was 0-2, 0-2, 0-2 and she got ahead of everybody,” Murphy said. “She pitches fast and when she throws that many strikes everything goes faster and crisper and it just seems like it’s a fast-paced game with her pitching.”

Alabama will go for the series sweep on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT.