Alabama needed only one more win to punch their ticket to the Women’s College World Series, and they got it on Saturday by knocking off Kentucky 4-1 to win the Tuscaloosa Super Regional.
The Tide wasted no time getting on the board in this one, as a leadoff single by Alexis Mack and a walk to Bailey Hemphill set the table for Kaylee Tow to crush a two run double that nearly left the yard.
Alabama starting pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl would run into some trouble in the bottom of the second. Two singles and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with no outs for Renee Abernathy, who homered twice yesterday. Abernathy hit a ground ball to third base and the Tide had the runner caught between third and home. For some inexplicable reason they failed to execute the rundown and ended up allowing the run to score while barely retiring a trailing runner at third. Kilfoyl was able to induce a grounder and soft liner to close out the inning with a 2-1 lead.
Maddie Morgan added a two run homer in the fourth, and the Tide were in business. Kilfoyl was able to finish the game allowing only the one run.
This wasn’t the prettiest performance. Besides the rundown mishap, a couple of baserunning gaffes kept the score closer than it should have been. Alabama probably played a better overall game yesterday, but Kilfoyl and otherwise stellar infield defense simply shut down the Kentucky bats.
Alabama now heads to Oklahoma City looking like a legitimate contender to win the whole thing. They way they have been pitching, you can’t ask for a better 1-2 punch than Fouts and Kilfoyl. All of the games will be difficult, but great pitching gives you a chance in every one.
Next up for the Tide will be a Thursday matchup with the winner of the Arkansas vs. Arizona series. The lower seeded Wildcats won the first game.