Saturday Shutout Sends Alabama Softball to NCAA Regional Final
The Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers met each other again in the postseason, but this time in a softball game. After both teams run-ruled their previous games, they faced each other head-to-head in the winner’s bracket.
Alabama (47-7) advances to the regional final after a 6-0 shutout over Clemson (43-7) thanks to small ball, speed and pitching.
“Just a great performance by [Montana Fouts}. And the crowd was awesome,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “That was the old time regional softball game at the Rhoads House.”
Three singles in a row from Taylor Clark, Elissa Brown and Alexis Mack started the Crimson Tide off in the third inning.
There was speed on the base-path with Bailey Hemphill up to bat.
“It was small ball, small ball, small ball,” Murphy said. “Then they had to pitch to Bailey.”
The bases were loaded for Bailey Hemphill and she delivered.
On a 0-1 count, Hemphill singled to right field. The ball landed right in between the first baseman and right fielder. No one could get to it.
Clark and Brown scored to put Alabama up 2-0.
“Speed kills,” Murphy said. “Speed never slumps and that was on display today."
Alabama held that lead until the bottom of the sixth inning where another round of small ball and speed tacked on four more runs.
With one out, Savannah Woodard reached first base. Maddie Morgan followed by forcing an error. This put Woodard into scoring position.
Mack started the scoring push with two outs in the innings.
The foul pole out in right field reads, “2 outs? So What!!!”
With the bases loaded, she singled to center field and the speed of the Alabama baserunners sent two across the plate.
“[Our speed] makes our offense really, really, consistent,” Mack said. “It makes things really, really easy… We put a lot of pressure on defenses, even when we’re not hitting the ball.”
With a 4-0 lead and Mack and Brown on base, Hemphill was up to bat again.
She singled through the left side and sent Alabama’s final two runs home.
“16 Ks, no walks,” Murphy said, talking about starting pitcher Montana Fouts. “Just a great performance by her.”
With 16 strikeouts, she reached 18 games with double-digit strikeouts this season.
She tied her career high of 16 strikeouts. Fouts set this statistic this season in Alabama’s game against Mississippi State in March.
Take a look at all of her strikeouts from the game below:
“I’m really not surprised that she had that many strikeouts,” Mack said. “I know that she wants to be out there and wants to strike every single one of them out; she’s such a competitor. As a defense we really fed off of her energy and got fired up behind her. We don’t expect anything less.”
With Alabama’s win over Clemson the team advances to the regional final. Alabama will face the winner of the loser’s bracket tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. CT.
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