In a historic showdown, Alabama softball triumphed over the Tennessee Lady Vols, securing a 3-2 victory in a grueling 14-inning game on Saturday. The nail-biting match, the longest in the history of college women’s softball super regionals, ended with Kristen White’s decisive infield chopper that allowed Lauren Johnson to score the winning run from third base.

With the series now tied, the Crimson Tide and Lady Vols are set to clash again Sunday, with the victor earning a spot in the Women’s College World Series to face UCLA, who swept Georgia in their super regional matchup.

The game saw Alabama’s Johnson lead off the bottom of the 14th inning with a crucial first-pitch single to left field off Tennessee pitcher Karlyn Pickens, per ESPN. Riley Valentine followed with a double to left, narrowly missed by Tennessee’s Rylie West, putting runners on second and third with no outs.

Pickens, showing caution, intentionally walked Alabama’s No. 9 hitter, Kali Heivlin, to set up a force play at home. However, after fouling off the first pitch, White managed to chop the ball to Tennessee shortstop Laura Mealer, whose throw to the plate was too late to stop Johnson from scoring the winning run.

Marathon game is a milestone for both Alabama, Tennessee softball programs

Alabama infielder Kenleigh Cahalan (31) makes a play and throws to first to record an out. Alabama downed Ole Miss 5-1.
© Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY NETWORK

The marathon game not only marked a milestone for Alabama (37-18) but also for Tennessee (44-11), as it became the longest in the Lady Vols’ program history. Both teams demonstrated impressive resilience, with Alabama’s Kayla Beaver throwing over 160 pitches in relief and Tennessee’s Pickens surpassing 120 pitches.

The dramatic conclusion came after several tense moments in the extra innings. In the bottom of the 12th, White reached on an infield single and stole second, but was thrown out trying to steal third, ending the inning. Similarly, earlier in the same inning, Valentine was thrown out attempting to stretch a high single off the wall into a double.

The game’s tension was palpable throughout, especially after the Crimson Tide tied the score at 2 in the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo home run by Bailey Dowling. This answered Tennessee’s Sophia Nugent, who had given the Lady Vols a 2-1 lead with her own solo homer in the top of the fourth.

Saturday’s game was part of a day filled with dramatic super regional action. In Austin, Texas, the Longhorns kept their season alive with a 9-8 victory over Texas A&M in nine innings. Ashton Maloney’s fielder’s choice in the top of the ninth drove in Kayden Henry for the go-ahead run, setting up a decisive Game 3 on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State became the first team to clinch a Women’s College World Series berth, defeating Arizona 10-4 to sweep their super regional. Baylor also staged an upset, defeating No. 4 seed Florida 5-2 to force a Game 3 in the Gainesville Super Regional.

In Columbia, Missouri, the Tigers secured a 3-1 victory over Duke, evening their series and setting up a Sunday decider. Lastly, Stanford’s NiJaree Canady rebounded from a rough Game 1, throwing a two-hit shutout with nine strikeouts to lead her team to a 3-0 win over LSU, forcing a third game in their series.