Alabama extends their winning streak to ten straight after their second consecutive sweep of an SEC opponent. The Crimson Tide bats have double digits hits in five straight.
Montana Fouts also stays on a hot streak pitching in all three wins.
GAME 1: ALABAMA 8, OLE MISS 0 (5 innings)
The Ole Miss outfielders were mighty busy fielding Bama hits as the new and improved Crimson Tide batting lineup continues their offensive tear. Alexis Mack and KB Sides singled and Savannah Woodard knocked in two for an early first inning lead. The second time through the order, Alabama collected five runs on six hits. Kaylee Tow, Jenna Johnson, Maddie Morgan, and Woodard all collected RBIs to push the lead to 7-0 after three innings.
To lead off the fifth, Johnson stroked a double that missed going out by about a foot. After Woodard walked and was sacrificed to second, the Rebs chose to intentionally walk Morgan to face Elissa Brown. Bad move. The Tide center fielder clobbered the first pitch over the Ole Miss center fielder’s head for the walk-off run-rule win. In the box score, it will look like a one RBI single. Under different circumstances, the hit might have a bases clearing double or triple.
Montana Fouts was Montana Fouts. She absolutely mowed the Ackbars down, allowing only two hits - one of which was erased on a double play. The Tide junior struck out eight of the 18 batters she faced.
Bama had 13 hits and every player had at least one hit, plus one run or RBI.
GAME 2: ALABAMA 11, OLE MISS 7
The hits just kept on coming. Alabama again had hits in the double digits (16) as well as having every Tide player record a hit for the second game in a row. Six Bama players had two or more hits. Unfortunately, Fouts could not start this game. But she would finish it.
Alabama started out strong with two first inning runs on a two-RBI double by Jenna Johnson. However, Ole Miss struck back in the third inning. Taylor Clark, who had been showing recent signs of improvement, let a potential double play ground ball eat her up and slip into left field. Three hits later, the Rebs were up 3-2. (Clark made up for the error later.)
Alabama retook the lead on a bases loaded error by the OM second baseman that plated two. The Rebels responded again with one in the top of the fourth. The Crimson Tide would retort with an inning Missy could not over come. In the bottom of the fourth, Bama would collect six runs on six hits and three Ole Miss errors. Like most Tide opponents, the usually solid defense of the Black Bear Sharks got all flustered with the UA speed and committed a season high five errors for the game. Shortstop Mikayla Allee came into the game with one error on the season and left with a total of three.
After pushing another run across to make the score 11-4, Bama had a chance to end the game on a run rule win. The Tide loaded the bases but Johnson and Savannah Woodard could not collect the last RBI.
Krystal Goodman struggled down the stretch and gave up two runs in the sixth. She was lifted in the seventh for Fouts who finished the game in a non-save situation. Thank goodness the bats are hot.
GAME 3: ALABAMA 6, OLE MISS 1
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Double digit Bama hits and double digit strikeouts for Montana Fouts.
Alabama again scored in the first inning plating two on a bases loaded single by Savannah Woodard. But the big blow would come courteous of Kaylee Tow who crushed a pitch to right center field for a three run homer in the fourth inning.
Fouts (19-3) was spectacular, whiffing 12 Rebels and making only one mistake on the whole weekend: a sixth inning solo shot by OM slugger Paige Smith. Only one other Ole Miss player reached second base in the entire game.
Alabama honored the seniors before the game on Saturday. Senior reserve Kyra Lockhart got the start as DP and got one of the biggest cheers of the game when she delivered a long single. What an outstanding group. They will be missed but they have miles to go before they sleep.
UA also honored the Ole Miss seniors.
Mrs. Ann Rhoads, one of the namesakes for the Alabama softball stadium, passed away this past week. She and her husband were great boosters of UA softball and many other Alabama sports. Her late husband, John, passed in 2001. Read more about her here.
- Fouts - who else? Two wins in three appearances, 13.0 innings, one run allowed, 20 strikeouts, 3 BB, 8 hits allowed.
- Tow - 7 for 11, home run, 5 runs, 4 RBI
- Hemphill - only 4 for 6 because they walked her three times in game 3, double, 6 runs, 1 RBI
- Mack - 7 for 12, 4 runs, 1 RBI, 2 doubles
- Woodard - 4 for 10, 2 runs, 6 RBI, 0 errors
- Sides - 4 for 9, 3 runs, 2 RBI
STATS ‘N’ STUFF
*** DISCLAIMER: This section is for tough talk. There are observations of both good and bad that went on this week - though there is not much to compalin about this week! If you want butterflies and wishing trees, you might want to pop on down to the “UP NEXT” section.
- It was reported during the broadcasts that Alabama was missing some players due to Captain Trips contact tracing. I really thought we were done with that silliness. With Goodman struggling in Game 2, it was Fouts and true freshman Alex Salter who warmed up in the bullpen. Salter has not played all season. One would assume pitchers Sarah Cornell, Jaala Torrence and perhaps Lexi Kilfoyl were among the aforementioned group. Cornell was not present for the Senior Day presentation.
- Reserves Abby Doerr and Kat Grill were also M.I.A. on the weekend.
- Mack, Brown, Tow, Sides, Morgan, and Woodard had at least one hit in all three games.
- Jenna Johnson got starts in the first two games as designated player and was 3 for 6 with two doubles and three RBIs to seemingly solidify her role as the DH as the post-season progresses.
- The improvement of Hemphill’s skills behind the dish have been impressive this season. She is framing pitches, digging balls out of the dirt, and keeping runners at first close like a pro.
- Why Patrick Murphy ever doubted Morgan’s defensive skills is beyond me. She continues to flash the leather at the hot corner this season.
- Thursday’s win was the Crimson Tide’s first run rule win of the season with Fouts in the circle. It’s good to see the offense put up big numbers when she is pitching - a thing that has not happened much the last three seasons.
- Taylor Clark’s emerging confidence is evident in her play. She is 7 for 21 over her last eight games and always has a big smile on her face after reaching first. She struck out only once over the weekend.
- On Friday, Clark got hit by a foul line drive while standing on third base and was on the ground for a moment. She recovered and stayed in the game. The Tide is already without infielders Bailey Dowling and Caroline Jenkins. It would be a scary thought to think what Bama might do if another infielder went down. I would assume, Woodard would slide over to shortstop, Mack would come in from left field to play second, and Johnson would take her spot in the outfield.
- Fouts had ANOTHER error throwing to first. Seriously, how is nobody fixing this issue?
- With so many pitchers out of commission, Goodman was forced to go longer than normal. She gave a great effort in Game 2 but she is not built for long outings.
- Alabama finishes the regular season 42-7 and 18-6 in the SEC.
The SEC Tournament’s “last place” round starts with one game on Tuesday followed by four games on Wednesday in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has clinched a first round bye with their third place finish in the conference and await the winner of UGA and UK to be played on Thursday.
*Vanderbilt does not field a softball team.