May 27, 2011 8:28:00 AM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama softball team lost to Stanford University 5-2 on Thursday in the opening game of the NCAA Tuscaloosa Super Regional at Rhoads Stadium.
The loss is the first at home this season for the Crimson Tide (49-9).
"I thought that it was a very abnormal performance for us," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. "It was one of the first bad games we have played all year. We just picked a bad time to do it. I have no doubt that we will play two games tomorrow and bounce back. You will see a totally different team."
Stanford (42-15) took advantage of a trio of errors and received a solid pitching performance from Teagan Gerhart (26-11). The sophomore allowed two runs on five hits while fanning eight.
"It really hinges on one or two plays, whether it is softball, football, or baseball, there are two plays that are probably the key," Murphy said. "Give credit to Stanford. Gerhart pitched well, and they played good defense."
Junior Sarah Hassman led the Cardinal with two hits and two RBIs. Alabama senior Whitney Larsen and freshman Kaila Hunt accounted for the Crimson Tide''s scoring with a home run and a double, respectively.
Alabama senior Kelsi Dunne (26-4) allowed five runs -- three earned on seven hits while striking out 10.
"At the beginning of the game I beat myself," Dunne said. "I couldn''t find the umpire''s strike zone. I was throwing balls, walked a couple of the girls, gave up freebees, and they put the ball in play and scored runs. I just wasn''t comfortable in the beginning and then found it the second half of the game, but unfortunately it was too late."
Stanford scored three runs in the top of the second. After a groundout that scored Melisa Koutz, Hassman''s two-run single to right scored Maya Burns and Jenna Becerra.
Stanford extended its lead to 5-0 in the third on an error by Kayla Braud that scored Koutz and Danielle Miller. The misplay was Braud''s first of the season.
Alabama got on the board on its first hit of the night against Gerhart. Larsen continued her hot hitting, drilling a solo shot off the shed in left field. The homer was her 13th of the season and made it 5-1 in the fourth.
"I just think that we made errors in inopportune times," Larsen said. "They put pressure on us throughout the entire game. They put the ball in play, and we didn''t make the plays that we needed to at the right times. I give credit to them. I thought that they played very tough today, and they put the ball in play constantly and put pressure on our defense."
The Crimson Tide tried to rally in the final frame when Hunt hit a double off the wall in left to score pinch-runner Keima Davis all the way from first.
The teams will play Game 2 at 3:30 p.m. today (ESPNU). The "if necessary" game is slated for a 6 p.m. (ESPN2).