Capper Reed's single in the bottom of the 12th inning scored pinch-runner Michelle Menningmann with the game-winning run as Alabama eliminated DePaul 2-1 in a game that began Saturday and was delayed until Sunday by thunderstorms that invaded the Oklahoma City area over the evening hours.
In a game that saw both teams fail to capitalize on opportunities to win the game, the Crimson Tide finally broke through in the 12th as Staci Ramsey led off with a single to left field. Menningmann stole second, and then Reed, who picked up her first hit of the tournament, delivered a bouncer that snuck into center field. Menningmann rounded third and headed home, and she slid safely across with the winning run as the throw bounced away from DePaul catcher Kara Amundson.
"I just kept thinking about keeping my weight back," Reed said. "I said to myself, 'Please let me come through.'"
"I was waiting for my chance to be able to do something to help the team," Menningmann said. "It felt great to be the winning run. I saw the ball go up the middle, and I just looked at third and thought about making a good cut."
Alabama jumped on top in the bottom of the fourth as Dani Woods, who was 2-for-4 for the game, singled to score shortstop Dominique Accetturo, who reached on a fielder's choice.
The Blue Demons tied the game up in the sixth, however. Jessica Evans led off with a single and advanced to second as she beat the throw to the bag on Dana Kenney's bunt attempt. Stephanie VanBrakle struck out Sara Bandauski for the first out of the inning, but a pair of wild pitches moved Evans and Kenney to third and second, respectively. VanBrakle struck out Sandy Vojik for the second out, but she was unable to get out of the jam as she uncorked another wild pitch that allowed Evans to plate the tying run.
After each team put up a run within two innings of each other, both VanBrakle and DePaul starter Megan Huitink settled in and kept each team's offense off the board. VanBrakle allowed a run on five hits with 17 strikeouts in the winning effort, while Huitink took the loss, giving up two runs, one earned, on nine hits with six strikeouts in 11 and a third innings.
The Blue Demons once again put the winning run at third base in the ninth, but as in the sixth, VanBrakle beared down and worked out of the threatening situation. Saskia Roberson and Linda Secka started the frame off with back-to-back singles. A passed ball advanced the runners to third and second, respectively, but unlike the sixth, VanBrakle struck out Katie Sheaks and Kara Amundson to extend the contest.
"It came back to the same thing as our first game - not maximizing on our opportunities and not minimizing our mistakes," DePaul head coach Eugene Lenti said. "We took our chances in the ninth, but couldn't get anything out of it. That's where the game turned."
Alabama (63-14) advances to face SEC foe Tennessee this afternoon at 2 p.m., while DePaul ends its season at 45-21.