First things first... Montana Fouts is back! After four weeks (March 24) and 10 games without their ace, the Tide held serve going 8-3. A few weeks ago we speculated that the injury that kept her out of the circle could just be a blister. Clearly it was not. Nick Saban would be proud of coach Patrick Murphy because the softball team kept info on whatever ailed her tighter than Fort Knox. Fortunately for the Crimson Tide, Murphy signed two other solid pitchers in the off-season and that strategy paid off this week.
Alabama 5 Georgia State 1
Alabama won which is great but still... the Panthers (5-35) are a godawful team. This should have been a run-rule game. Elissa Brown was back in the leadoff spot and went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, 1 RBI, and a stolen base. KB Sides has been in a bit of a slump and was moved to eighth in the order but failed to get a hit in the third straight game. Bama had 8 hits but all were singles and left 9 on-base. They also committed 3 errors but on the bright side, GSU only cashed in one run on those errors. Krystal Goodman (W, 7-0) was dominating giving up only two hits and one earned run in a complete game win.
Alabama 7 Georgia 1
On A-Day morning, Alabama fans packed the house for a big SEC showdown with #13/19 UGA and the Tide gave their audience much to cheer about. Bama scored single runs in each of the first three innings including a solo home run by Merris Schroder. The big blow came in the fourth when Maddie Morgan hit a bases loaded double to plate three. Skylar Wallace followed that up with a single that sent Morgan home for the 7-1 lead. Bama stole six bases but left 12 runners on base. Sarah Cornell (W, 16-1) was again brilliant in the circle holding Georgia to two hits. A walk and a double accounted for the Bulldogs’ only run of the day.
Alabama 4 Georgia 0
It was Krystal Goodman’s turn to shine again as she threw a 5-hit shutout for her eighth win against 0 losses. The team behind her put up some sparkling defense to hold UGA at bay. Merris Schoeder was the offense for the Tide hitting a two-run home run, an RBI single, and logging the game’s only stolen base. On the downside, Alabama managed only four hits but KB Sides had the other two hits.
Alabama 4 Georgia 3
Montana Fouts return to the circle was nothing less than spectacular. Being on a pitch count, she only pitched four innings but she was dominant. After the leadoff batter of the game got a high-chopper infield single that Andrelton Simmons couldn’t throw out, the fab freshmen mowed down the Bulldogs striking out 7 of the next 12 batters she faced and no walks. Too bad it was spoiled when reliever Courtney Gettins gave up a pair of doubles and a home run in the fifth to tie the game up 3-3. Sarah Cornell (W, 17-1) entered the game after two outs in that same inning and slammed the door shut. To that point, Alabama had scored three runs without the benefit of a hit, thanks to walks and four UGA errors. However, most of the errors were caused because of heads-up aggressive base-running by the Tide, and panic by the Georgia defense. That trend would continue into the bottom of the seventh when Elissa Brown led off with a bunt that turned into a three bagger. Because of Brown’s speed, the UGA infielder rushed her throw and sent the ball into right field. The Bama centerfielder slid into third in a cloud of dust. The next batter, Kaylee Tow, singled to left field for the walk-off win.
Fouts was fantastic but might be limited for awhile. If Goodman and Cornell can keep up these kinds of performances, the Tide will go far. Alabama now leads the SEC with a 11-4 conference record and a 42-4 mark overall. The Crimson Tide is 22-1 at home.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Sunday’s Game 2 was the first shutout suffered by the Bulldogs all season. Coming into the series, UGA had been averaging 6.98 runs per game. They scored four total in the three game series.
Krystal Goodman stepped up big for the Tide pitching staff notching two wins while giving up only one run and seven hits in two complete games. Sarah Cornell also rang up two Ws, one complete game and one in relief: 9.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 earned run.
The challenges keep getting bigger each week. This time it is a huge weekend showdown of SEC and National implications in a three game set in Gainesville. The #6/9 Gators seem to have the Crimson Tide’s number in several sports (except football). Florida (36-9) is riding a 7-game winning streak. There is no mid-week game this week. #Pray4Montana
Apr 19 (Fri) 4:30pmCT at Florida (DH) ESPN2
Apr 19 (Fri) 6:30pm CT at Florida (DH) SECN+
Apr 20 (Sat) 1pm CT at Florida ESPN
After the Fla series comes a Tuesday game in Cullman against Belmont followed by a weekend series hosting Kentucky.
RHOADS GETS SOME LOVE
The committee approves negotiating an architectural agreement for the Rhoads Softball Stadium renovation with top-ranked firm Ward Scott Architecture of Tuscaloosa.— Ed Enoch (@EdEnoch) April 11, 2019