Bailey Hemphill wasn’t named SEC Player of the Year for nothing. The Alabama catcher made two highlights in both halves of the first inning with a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play in the first half and an absolutely crushed a 240-foot home run in the bottom of the first frame to give the Tide an early 1-0 lead. For her encore, she hit one out to center field with a runner on first base in the fifth.
Like they have done so much this season, Bama came up with a big hit with two outs. Designated hitter Jenna Johnson knocked in two runs with a double in the third inning.
In the circle, it was a battle of aces between Alabama’s Montana Fouts and UK’s Autumn Humes. The Wildcats’ pitcher had just thrown seven innings 24 hours earlier but only threw 87 pitches in a win over listless UGA. It must have been a shock to the system when Humes threw 55 against the Tide through only three innings and was lifted for a reliever.
Fouts had a crazy first four innings giving up a pair of doubles and three singles but striking out eight. Kentucky left the bases loaded in the third inning but broke through for a run in the fourth after KB Sides committed her first error of the season. The Tide ace would go on to whiff 15 Wildcats to tie the SEC Tournament record. She struck out every batter at least once. UK had no hits in the last three innings as Fouts seemed to just get stronger.
- Hemphill’s home run was the 60th of her career which places her in a tie for the school record with Kelly Kretschman.
- Fouts threw 135 pitches. Her season high is 139 in a win over Arkansas.
- This performance by Fouts was the fifteenth time she tossed double-digit strikeouts. She had 16 against Mississippi State in early March.
- Pinch runner Kat Grill showed her inexperience when she was called out after leaving first base early. Runners are not allowed to leave a base until the ball has left the pitcher’s hand.
- Taylor Clark dropped an infield pop fly for an error and appeared to wrench her back a little bit in the process. She stayed in the game and was seen afterwards wearing some kind of wrap much like Bama hoopster wore at times this past season.
- Bama batters struck out only three times.
- Sarah Cornell and Lexi Kilfoyl were seen pitching in the bullpen during the game.
- SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey was in the house. I wonder if the subject of the eligibility of Henry To’o To’o has come up...
- Rhoads was rocking as the university continues to increase capacity. After nine games, the field still looks great. It has been manicured to perfection. Kudos to the grounds crew.
The Crimson Tide will next face Tennessee who upset the Braxton Burnside-less Arkansas Razorbacks 1-0.
The Vols had only two hits in the win, both by Ally Shipman, one of which was a solo home run. Ashley Rogers (25-8) threw a one hitter and struck out twelve for Tennessee. She also went nine innings the day before in a victory over Texas A&M. Dare the Vols pitch her a third straight day?
Fouts looked like she could have gone another seven innings on Thursday night but threw a ton of pitches. It’s possible that Patrick Murphy turns to Krystal Goodman to start in the circle rather than go with Fouts again so soon.