Alabama took care of business against Clemson in their second game of the Tuscaloosa NCAA regional and will now move on to the championship round, likely against these same Tigers.
Montana Fouts was as dominant as you’d expect the SEC Pitcher of the Year to be. She threw a complete game shutout, allowing only four hits and striking out 16. She and game one starter Lexi Kilfoyl look to be on top of their games at the right time.
Alabama broke through with a little small ball in the third inning against Clemson ace Valerie Cagle. Taylor Clark led things off by legging out an infield hit, followed by bunt singles from Elissa Brown and Alexis Mack to load the bases for Bailey Hemphill. Hemphill didn’t make great contact but managed to hit one off her fists out into right field to stake Fouts to a two run lead.
The Tide also used the small ball route to tack on big in the sixth. Brown had the key at bat again, working a hard fought two out walk from Cagle to load the bases. Mack proceeded to chop one over the shortstop for a two run single, with a high throw to the plate moving the runners to second and third. Bailey Hemphill came through again as she seemingly always does, sending a rocket down the third base line for a 6-0 lead that would become the final score.
It’s tough not to be excited about the way this team is playing right now. In the last three games they have shut out #4 Florida and #10 Clemson (ESPN rankings) by a combined 11-0 score sandwiched around an easy win overmatched Alabama State. If the pitching stays consistent at this level, Alabama is going to make some noise in Oklahoma City.
There is still much work to be done, of course. The championship starts at 1pm CT tomorrow, and assuming Clemson is the opponent they will have to beat the Tide twice to advance. Let’s hope it only takes one. If they play as they have the last three games that shouldn’t be an issue.