Alabama went with Lexi Kilfoyl in the circle to open the NCAA tournament, and the results were outstanding. Kilfoyl threw the first 5.1 innings of a combined no-hitter with Krystal Goodman and the Tide offense did its part to produce a run-rule 9-0 victory. As rolltide.com points out, this is Alabama’s first NCAA tournament no-no since Jackie Traina threw one in 2011.
Kilfoyl struck out a career high 15 of the 17 batters she faced. The only baserunner reached on an error, and only one other hitter managed to put the ball in play. It’s tough to do much better than that. Bailey Hemphill did her thing with a walk-off two run bomb to secure the run rule, and Jenna Johnson went deep as well. Alexis Mack went 3-for-4 and scored three runs.
The next test will be much tougher, as the Tide face Clemson at 11am today on ESPN2. The Tigers may well have been hosting a regional themselves absent an upset loss to Duke in the ACC tournament final. They are now 43-6 on the season and will likely match Tide ace Montana Fouts with freshman Valerie Cagle, the ACC player of the year. Cagle started in Clemson’s victory over Troy yesterday to earn the first NCAA tournament win in program history. She struck out 10 in 4 shutout innings and hit two homers. She has a miniscule 1.04 ERA on the season, so expect a low scoring affair.
Consider this your game thread, and enjoy.