This Alabama series with Georgia was the first in a long time that the Crimson Tide looked like their old selves - like 2019 old selves. They were solid in all three phases of the game: pitching, hitting and defense. Here’s hoping they can keep that momentum going.
GAME 1: ALABAMA 4, GEORGIA 1
The Crimson Tide opened this game the way you would want, loading the bases but Lexi Kilfoyl struck out with the bases loaded. In the third inning, Kaylee Tow homered to right center with two runners on to take a 3-0 lead. After a Savannah Woodard walk and stolen base, Maddie Morgan would single her in for a four-spot on the inning. This ended the day for UGA ace Mary Wilson Avant. Reliever Britton Rogers came in and kept the scoring at 4-0.
Montana Fouts had an off-day striking out only nine. Haha... but seriously, she was once again excellent in the circle. She had a small letdown in the fifth when she gave up back-to-back doubles to lead off the inning but was able to rebound with two whiffs and a ground out. Those two doubles plus a single were the only hits for UGA on the day.
Alabama played some excellent defense with some slick plays by Morgan and Woodard. The Tide also stole three bases by three different players, a strategy that has been missing as of late. Tow was 3 for 4.
GAME 2: ALABAMA 13, GEORGIA 3 (5 innings)
Patrick Murphy got a little creative in the second game of this set by moving Bailey Hemphill up to second in the batting order for the first time this season (maybe ever?). It seems all the Tide catcher does these days is walk and hit singles, so, why not? Kaylee Tow hit third and KB Sides was the clean-up hitter. Jenna Johnson would serve as the designated hitter (YAY!). Clearly the new lineup worked wonders as the Crimson Tide battered the Bulldogs pitching with 13 hits. They were also much more patient at the plate drawing seven walks.
UGA coach Lu Harris-Champer might be getting desperate as she sent Avant back out to start and the super senior was once again greeted rudely by Bama. The Tide sent nine batters to the plate if the first inning scoring four runs. Johnson’s two RBI single in the second frame sent Avant to the showers a little earlier than she had expected. Alabama would put up five runs in the third punctuated by a three RBI double by Maddie Morgan.
Krystal Goodman got the start in the circle for Bama and pretty much flummoxed Georgia batters for four innings utilizing her change-up and causing nine ground outs. In the fifth, she ran out of gas and gave up a two-run homer but limited the damage. Jawjuh used three pitchers in the game and none of them were effective.
Hemp was 3 for 3 with two walks. Morgan had five RBIs, Savannah Woodard knocked in three.
GAME 3: ALABAMA 6, GEORGIA 3
Bama went with the same lineup as Game 2 and had similar but different results. The Tide had base runners all over the place (12 hits, seven walks, HBP) but you’ve never seen so many hard hit balls go right to defenders. Otherwise, the score spread would have been much larger.
Bama scored on an error, a passed ball, a sac fly, a HBP with the bases loaded, and two via bases loaded walks. Alexis Mack was 3 for 5 at the top of the order. Maddie Morgan was only 1 for 4 but she hit some rockets. MM and Kaylee Tow are really heating up at the dish.
Montana Fouts again had a bit of a midgame letdown. After tossing four no-hit innings, she gave up a single and a home run - a disturbing omen if this Bama team is up against a top-shelf pitcher in the near future. The Dawgs also loaded the bases in the sixth but could only get one run on a head’s up double play ground ball turned by Woodard. Fouts struck out 11 Bulldogs.
- Fouts - I am running out of adjectives.
- Tow - 6 for 12, hits in every game, 3 RBI, 4 runs, 2 BB, 0 K
- Goodman - Clutch performance when the Tide needed her, complete 5 inning win
- Mack - 5 for 12, 5 runs scored, 3 stolen bases, BB
- Hemp - 4 for 8, 1 RBI, 5 runs, 2B, 5 BB, 0 K
STATS ‘N’ STUFF
*** DISCLAIMER: This section is for tough talk. There are observations of both good and bad that went on this week. If you want fairie dust and magic ponies who fart cupcakes, you might want to skip on down to the “UP NEXT” section.
- Justin and Jaiden Fields are now 0-5 all-time against Alabama.
- Abby Doerr got some pinch-hitting opportunities which is great. However in the third inning of the first game with the bases loaded, she hit for All-SEC four-year starter Elissa Brown who was hitting .385 in what was still a tight game. Doerr grounded into a fielder’s choice out at home. In Game 2, she stood in for Taylor Clark (.161) and delivered a single.
- On Saturday, KB Sides ran down to first on what appeared to be an infield hit but the ball was called foul. After passing the bag, she landed funny and was seen stretching an ankle/shin. However, the Tide right fielder stayed in the game and delivered a single and would later score in the inning.
- Hemphill keeps hitting at a blistering pace (.398) as well as walking (38 on the season). She finally collected her first RBI since the single one she got against Alabama State. Before that, it was Game 1 vs Arkansas on April 9 in which she homered. It won’t make the highlight reel but it came in Game 3 on a pop fly to the second baseman in which Clark tagged up and scored. Hemp also got her first double since the Florida series. She is still two long balls behind the school record held by Hall of Famer Kelly Kretschman.
- Lexi Kilfoyl is still not pitching with little explanation. She has not stood in the circle since April 10 against Arkansas. When Goodman appeared to be wavering in Game 2 up by ten runs, it was Jaala Torrence and Sarah Cornell who were warming up in the bullpen. Even with this “condition”, Murphy still thinks Kilfoyl is fine to bat. She served as designated hitter in Game 1 and struck out with the bases jammed in the first inning. She would walk twice and ground out. When Fouts ran into a little trouble late in Game 3, Kilfoyl made a brief appearance in the bullpen. So, your guess is as good as mine as to what is going on with her. We don’t have anyone in the local press willing or interested enough to ask tough questions.
- Johnson was 1 for 5 in her two DH starts but collected three RBIs.
- In Game 1, three Alabama runners were called out for being out of the box. Personally, they all looked like borderline calls (no pun intended). The Tide had not had one of those called on them in months. It almost felt like this ump had an axe to grind.
- Woodard had an error in the second game but otherwise played well at second. Clark had one oopsie in the finale. Fortunately, the Tide shortstop did not let it eat at her and followed it up with some good fielding plays.
- Clark might be coming around at the plate. She had three hits including two on Sunday. Although, she did strike out once in each game and stranded some runners. She stole one base in each game of the series as well.
- Bama had six swipes for the weekend. UGA did not attempt a stolen base.
- Sarah Cornell pinch ran for Hemphill in the Sunday game.
- Alabama is 39-7 and 15-6 in the SEC.
Next up are the Rebel Black Bear Shark Ackbars who took two of three against #25 UCF this weekend and are 34-16 (12-9 SEC). It’s another weird Thurs-Fri-Sat series but classes are done, so, who cares? These games are the final regular season games of the season for both teams. Anything less than a sweep would be a disappointment.
- Thursday, May 6 vs. Ole Miss 6 p.m. CT - SECN+
- Friday, May 7 vs. Ole Miss 6 p.m. CT - SECN+
- Saturday, May 8 vs. Ole Miss 11 a.m. CT - SECN