Montana Fouts picked up right where she left off on Thursday with another dominating effort... only better! On her 21st birthday, the Alabama ace made history with a perfect game no-hitter, the first in WCWS history since 2000. Stop and think about what she has done. This isn’t Auburn or Kentucky in the other dugout. It’s a team of All-Americans and US Olympic players. And not a single one of them reached base. IN A WORLD SERIES GAME! Fouts struck out 14 Bruins en route to her 27th win of the season. Bubba Nickles, Rachel Garcia, Aaliyah Jordan and Briana Perez all whiffed twice each.
Birthday Perfection! @MontanaFouts#WCWS x @AlabamaSB pic.twitter.com/x6Qzr4PbWc— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 5, 2021
ALABAMA 6, UCLA 0
The Crimson Tide did what they do best and that is get on the scoreboard early. Another seemingly competent defense folded under the speed and smarts of the Bama base running. Alexis Mack got it started with a single and a stolen base. For some odd reason, UCLA brought their outfielders into Little League depth and Bailey Hemphill doubled to the wall to score Mack. After a groundout, Jenna Johnson would single in Hemphill for an early 2-0 lead.
The score stayed that way until the fifth inning when Mack singled, Hemp walked, and Kaylee Tow crushed a ball to the deepest part of the park to push the score to 5-0. It was only the fourth round-tripper given up by Rachel Garcia all year.
A three-run by @kaytow12 makes it 5-0!— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 5, 2021
ESPN2#WCWS x @AlabamaSB pic.twitter.com/5Iq3BlXCPW
With runners on second and third in the sixth, Elissa Brown hit a slapper to first base. Rather than throw home, the Bruin chose to tag Brown out allowing Savannah Woodard to score the sixth run of the night. At this point, UCLA’s Garcia was lifted from the game. The All-American gave up six runs, five of them earned, on seven hits and three walks. She struck out only three.
THIS ‘N’ THAT
For the uninitiated, this section is for observations. Some good, some bad. However, it’s been a whole lotta good lately.
- The perfect game was only the fifth in WCWS history with the last instance coming in 2000. The other three times occurred in the 1980s when college softball was still in its infancy. The first Crimson Tide softball season was in 1997.
- Alabama’s win streak now stands at 20 games. In this postseason, the Tide has beaten the regular season champions of the Pac-12, the ACC, and the SEC.
- The tenth time is the charm. Friday night’s victory was the first against UCLA in program history.
- Fouts performance was the 22nd time this season that she recorded double-digit strikeouts.
- The USOC might seriously want to think about taking Fouts to Tokyo. She is pitching on another level.
- Alabama had base runners in every inning except the seventh. I think by that time, Patrick Murphy just wanted to get Fouts back in the circle, so Tide batters were instructed to swing away.
- On two occasions, the Bruins defense did not field balls that they thought would roll foul. Both stayed fair for hits. It is amazing how Bama runners can get in the heads of their opponents.
- Fouts got her necklace tangled in her mask a few times. The first time, Hemphill came out an untangled it. The second time it was Maddie Morgan. That in itself is not all that interesting. When Morgan went back to her spot at third, the camera focused on her and you could see her reminding her teammates that there was only one out. It is little things like this that makes her a fan favorite around RBR. If you have followed the Tide all season, you may recall earlier in the season there were a few infield gaffes of throwing to the wrong base while Morgan was in the dugout.
- KB Sides again hit the ball hard but came up empty in the hit department.
- The Tide stole three bases: Mack, Sides, and Woodard.
- IMHO, the umpire behind the plate called a pretty fair and consistent game for both pitchers. However, he sure let UCLA enjoy plenty of mound visits and take as long as they wanted. I think they had three in the first inning alone.
- Beth Mowins is the most excruciatingly annoying announcer on TV. She has this belief that she must fill every second of a broadcast with her voice - even if she is just repeating herself which she often does. I can’t imagine what executives at ESPN heard her call a game and said “YES! We must have her!”
- Another gripe about the four-letter network is their propensity to put the game on hold so that Holly Rowe can ask the coaches bland questions with coachspeak answers. They bring very little to the broadcasts. Play ****ing ball!
- At the end of the game, Rowe interviewed Fouts and felt it necessary to stand 20 feet away while doing it. smh
- If you are not watching this team, what are you waiting for! Tell a friend!
- James mutha-frickin’ Madison just keeps on winning. This time, the victim was the other “home team” Oklahoma State. The Dukes have a legend in the making in super senior pitcher Odicci Alexander (pronounced like “Odyssey”). She again went the distance for the win and made a spectacular play in the seventh inning to preserve the 2-1 victory.
ODICCI ALEXANDER, ARE YOU SERIOUS?!— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 5, 2021
ESPN2#WCWS #SCtop10 x @JMUSoftball pic.twitter.com/eVJ0ruSiZY
With the win, Alabama moves into the semifinals against an opponent to be determined. The Tide will not have to play again until Sunday at 2:30pm CT.
Saturday’s losers bracket is a quadruple-header of elimination games. Losers of each game will be sent home.
- Oklahoma vs Georgia 11am CT - ESPN
- Arizona vs Florida State 2:30pm CT - ESPN
- Okl-UGA winner vs UCLA 6pm CT - ESPN (winner plays JMU Sunday)
- AZ-FSU winner vs Oklahoma State 8:30pm CT - ESPN (winner plays Bama Sunday)