HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Alabama softball opened play at the Black and Gold Invitational Friday with a convincing 11-1 win over the host Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

Ninth-ranked Alabama (4-0) took a three-run lead in the top of the second over Southern Miss (2-5) and then added some cushion later with four-run fifth and sixth innings to build an 11-run lead. The Golden Eagles avoided the shutout with a lone run in the bottom of the sixth but the Tide held on to win, 11-1.

Alabama hit three home runs, the most in a game since the April 1 win at Missouri last season and it is the first time at least three different players hit a home run since the 2017 season opener against Towson. Junior Caroline Hardy led the offense with a career day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a career-high three RBIs, including a two-run home run in the second inning.

Senior Peyton Grantham also had a three-hit day, scoring twice and driving in two runs. Claire Jenkins and Merris Schroder had back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning.

In the circle, senior Alexis Osorio (2-0) threw five shutout innings, allowing just one hit while striking out nine, and freshman Madison Preston tossed a scoreless fifth inning. Southern Miss starter Jillian Johnson (0-1) took the loss, lasting just two innings.

Alabama continues play at the Black and Gold Invitational Saturday, facing No. 24 McNeese State (4-1) at 1 p.m. and Mississippi Valley State (0-4) at 4 p.m.