It wasn’t the SEC but UL-Lafayette is a strong team and a stiff challenge for the Crimson Tide. The Ragin’ Cajuns are by far the best non-major team in the NCAA.
Montana Fouts pitched ten innings over two games. The Tide had only nine hits but those they produced ten runs.
GAME 1: ALABAMA 5, ULL 3
This game opened about as well as one could hope. With one out, KB Sides doubled, Bailey Hemphill walked, Kaylee Tow doubled in a run, and Lexi Kilfoyl cleared the bases with the first home run of her Alabama career.
Unfortunately, the Crimson Tide bats fell asleep after taking the 4-0 lead. You have to wonder if the opposing pitcher had early game jitters because she settled down and pitched masterfully the rest of the way. Alabama could manage only one more hit, a bunt, the rest of the way while striking out seven times. The Tide tacked on a run in the fifth on an error, the aforementioned bunt hit, a stolen base and a fielder’s choice.
Montana Fouts pitched another amazing game but a couple of mental lapses allowed the Rajuns to push three runs across in the top of the fifth. A pair of infield singles opened the frame thanks to hesitations by the Bama infield. Next, shortstop Taylor Clark fielded a grounder and threw to third instead of the sure out at first even though she had no chance of getting the lead runner. With the bases jammed, the next ball was grounded to Maddie Morgan who smartly conceded the run and went to first. With first base open, the next batter grounded to Fouts who mistakenly threw to home but there was no force on. This was followed up by a bloop single to left field that pushed two more runs across.
Fouts (15-3) finished the game with eleven Ks - her sixth straight start with double digits in that category and twelfth on the season.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 5, ULL 1
The play of the day was Savannah Woodard’s long drive in the third inning that hit the wall and eluded the right fielder. With Maddie Morgan ahead of her, Woodard kept on running and recorded the rare stand-up inside-the-park home run.
Alabama continues to feast on the mistakes of their opponents. With runners on second and third in the second inning, Elissa Brown singled in pinch runner Kayla Davis followed by Woodard who scored on a throwing error. In the fourth, Brown reached first on a muffed throw, stole second and took third on a bad throw. She would then score on a Sides sacrifice fly. The Bama center fielder also stole three bases on the day.
Krystal Goodman (6-1) was not as sharp as we have seen her but she kept batters off balance for most of her appearance. Murphy took her out after four innings and Montana Fouts slammed the door for her third save of the year.
Bailey Hemphill had two of the best defensive plays of the week, maybe the year. With runners on second and third in the third inning, after a fly ball catch, Elissa Brown sent the throw home late but Hemphill quickly relayed the throw to third and nailed the runner trying to advance. It was a run for ULL but the double play ended the inning and any potential rally. The next inning it was deja vu all over again. With a runner on second, a single to left was fielded and thrown home holding the runner at third. The batter tried to advance to second and the Tide catcher shot her down to end the inning.
- Fouts - The Crimson Tide ace is pitching lights out. A win, a save, and 15 Ks.
- Brown - 3 for 8, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 4 stolen bases. She also reached base on errors due to her crazy speed.
- Woodard - 3 for 9, 4 RBI, 3 runs, ITP HR, but she struck out 4 times and had some fielding issues. still, it is good to see some production at the bottom of the order.
STATS ‘N’ STUFF
*** We may have some newcomers this week, so I guess we’ll have to go back to the tone of the original warnings used earlier in the season, lest feelings get hurt and the rage/cancel mob emerges: This section is for tough talk. There are observations of both good and bad that went on this week. If you want sunshine and rainbows, you might want to stop reading.
- There were even more on Sunday.
- It will show up as a single in the box score but a three Bama fielders let a pop-up land in between them in the shallow outfield early in Sunday’s game. It could be blamed on the sun but still we have nobody taking control in the infield.
- On Saturday, Elissa Brown stole her first base since April 14 versus Alabama State. Her last theft before that one was against Auburn way back on March 14. She had three more on Sunday. Welcome back.
- With 129 career stolen bases, Brown is four away from tying for third in Alabama career swipes. Second place is 182, first place 198. I don’t think she is getting there unless she comes back next season.
- KB Sides had her hitting streak halted at ten games on Sunday but she did have two walks and an RBI sac fly. Her average has not dipped below .300 since the third game of the year.
- Kaylee Tow leads the team in doubles with 11, one ahead of Sides. Kelly Kretschman hit 22 in 1998 for the school record.
- Bailey Dowling is still third on the team in RBI with 25 and second in homers at six. (sad face emoticon) Claire Jenkins is fourth in RBI at 20. Alexis Mack has 15.
- Hemphill has only one RBI (vs Alabama State) since Game 1 vs Arkansas on April 9 in which she homered. In the first game against Laffy, she scored her first run since that same Arky game. Of course some of that second stat is attributed to pinch-runners. She went hitless for the week including the USM game on Wednesday.
- Lexi Kilfoyl served as designated hitter for both Laffy games but did not pitch. I don’t know what mechanics you need for pitching that you don’t need for batting and running bases. Someone please enlighten me.
- Despite what some people may claim, there still has been no explanation for her absence from pitching. If Team25 wants to win big things this season, they will need her at 100% in the circle.
- Kilfoyl’s HR was clutch and turned out to be more important than anyone would have ever imagined at that point. That said, one home run is not an endorsement for regularly using her in the batting order. As a side note, she made outs to end innings in her other two plate appearances. One was a strike out. The other was a ground out with two runners on base - something she also did in her first at bat on Sunday. On her second at bat, the Tide DP grounded into what should’ve been a double play but Kaylee Tow’s slide may have been a distraction that caused the shortstop to throw high. She popped up in her final at bat of the day. She was 1 for 6 in the two game set and did not advance a runner in her five outs made.
- Woodard hit the Tide’s 27th dinger of the season. Just a little reminder: Hemphill had 26 by herself in 2019. That team finished with 89 total round-trippers.
- Fouts has 189 Ks in124.0 innings pitched.
- @I suppose we can announce the starters for next weekend’s three-game series: Game 1 - Fouts; Game 2 - Fouts; Game 3 - Fouts.@
- Murphy got some more fuel for his “safety base” fire. On Wednesday against Southern Miss, Maddie Morgan had a close play at first and stumbled over the foot of the Golden Eagle covering first and taking a bit of a spill. She was okay but upon further inspection, MM was running pretty far inside the baseline. Man, if only there was someone to teach the team fundamentals like this... Hmmm, any suggestions of who could do this?
- All of a sudden, Jaala Torrence has lost her effectiveness in the circle. After carrying a 0.00 ERA through her first seven appearances, the true freshman is having trouble getting outs. She has allowed five runs in her last three outings (Alabama State, Florida, Southern Miss) covering three innings.
- Sarah Cornell is now 0 for 6 at the plate with five strikeouts and a walk. Just stop, Murph.
- Alabama is now 36-7 overall and 12-6 in the SEC. In the conference standings, Bama still trails Arkansas and Florida, and currently Mizzou depending on the outcome of tomorrow’s games with the Razorbacks.
Next up are the Jekyll and Hyde Bulldogs. Last Tuesday, Georgia handed No. 1 Oklahoma their first loss of the season and then got run-ruled 12-3 in the nightcap. This weekend, Tennessee took two of three against UGA in Knoxville. That team is a mystery.
- Friday, April 30, 2021 at Georgia 5 p.m. CT
- Saturday, May 01, 2021 at Georgia 1 p.m. CT
- Friday, March 05, 2021 at Georgia 1 p.m. CT