#8-seed Alabama 2, #6-seed Arizona 0
It could be in the rain, in intense heat, day games, night games, way-past-bedtime games; it does not matter. This Crimson Tide did what it has done all season with everyone contributing.
Montana Fouts (20-6) went up against one of the most potent offenses in the nation and shut them down. The fab freshman had 9 strikeouts, 3 walks and only gave 3 singles in a complete game shutout.
Arizona surprisingly started Alyssa Denham (13-6) instead of ace Taylor McQuillin (24-8) and paid the price. Denham gave up only one hit but it was a costly hit. After a pair of walks in the third inning, Bailey Hemphill hit a two-run double that would be the difference in the game.
Fouts was perfect through three innings until the Wildcats loaded the bases in the fourth with one out. Fouts fought through it with a strikeout and a big play by Hemphill.
McQuillin came in to pitch in the fourth inning, but by then it was too late. From that point, the Bama defense and the strikeout queen took over.
The game ended at 12:46am CT and the Tide rolls on to the semi-finals.
After an offensive explosion against Florida, the Alabama bats fell a little silent versus Arizona collecting two hits and four walks. The spectacular pitching by Fouts was the difference and an assist goes to Sarah Cornell. Several teams have only one pitcher they can rely on to get the W in post-season play and sometimes that ace just needs rest. The Crimson Tide were fortunate to have Cornell to pitch the early game, so Fouts could pitch the nightcap.
Alabama now faces the top-seeded Sooners once again. To get to the Championship best-of-three, the Tide must defeat Oklahoma twice on Sunday. The first game these two played on Thursday was a tight game that could have fallen the Crimson Tide’s way if the ball had fallen a few millimeters to the left here or to the right there.
With last night’s game going so deep into night, it’s anyone’s guess what plan is hatching in coach Patrick Murphy’s head. Will he go back to Fouts on such a short turnaround? Might we see Krystal Goodman pitch a couple of innings on Sunday? Will Murphy tweak the lineup against Oklahoma lefty Giselle Juarez? He is earning his salary this weekend.