With two wins over MTSU, the Crimson Tide sweep the weekend and move to 9-0 on the season.
For highlights of the first three games, click right chere.
GAME 1: ALABAMA 10, EVANSVILLE 2 (6 Innings)
GAME 2: ALABAMA 1, VIRGINIA TECH 0
GAME 3: ALABAMA 2, VIRGINIA TECH 0
GAME 4: ALABAMA 8, MTSU 0 (5 innings)
RS-frosh Alex Salter got the start in the circle. Freshman Jenna Lord started at first. Sophomore Kat Grill was in right field. Freshman Jordan Stephens was the designated player. And, boy, there was no life from the home team until the fifth inning. Bama had one single through the first four innings against the Blue Raiders.
Alabama loaded the bases in the fourth inning on a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch but only managed one run on a sac fly. With the power outage at the plate for Alabama, the Crimson Tide had to resort to small-ball, loading the bases in the fifth with three infield singles. That is when - GUESS WHO - Ally Shipman plated two with a double to make the score 3-0. After a walk loaded the bases again, Ashley Prange was hit by a pitch to drive in a fourth run. Megan Bloodworth would add another run on a sac fly. Stephens followed that up with a ball that banged off the left field wall for a two RBI double. A pair of walks loaded the bases once again for Dallis Goodnight. The freshman hit a spinning grounder to third that was booted and the Crimson Tide scored an eighth run - seventh of the inning - for the run-rule win.
Salter was okay but not dominating like she should be against such competition. She was given the hook in the top of fifth inning with two outs and a runner on third in favor of Montana Fouts. The Tide ace retired the one batter she faced for the save. For her 4.2 innings, Salter gave up three hits and no walks, striking out two.
GAME 5: ALABAMA 9, MTSU 1 (6 innings)
It was the other transfer, Ashley Prange, who went deep on Sunday. As the second batter of the game, the Tide third baseman cranked a ball over the to left field wall with one aboard. An unearned run later in the inning would make it 3-0. In the next inning, it was Ally Shipman’s turn again as she stroked a two-run double to push the lead to five. Still with no outs in the inning and the bases loaded, Kaylee Tow drew a bases on ball for the easiest RBI in softball. Coach Patrick Murphy would empty the bench soon there after.
Megan Bloodworth had a pretty forgettable weekend. Fellow frosh Jordan Stephens on the other hand showed Tide fans she too was a frosh to watch when she blasted a three-run, pinch-hit homer to walk it off in the sixth inning.
Montana Fouts got the start and toyed with the Blue Raiders for most of the game, striking out eight of the first nine batters she faced and whiffed 13 for the game. She disturbingly ran into a little trouble in the top of the sixth when she allowed two singles and double to end the no-hitter and shutout.
For some odd reason, Murphy inserted Lexi Kilfoyl as his designated hitter. She flied out, walked on four pitches, and hit into a fielder’s choice ground out that was almost a double play. She would later be subsititured for Stephens who got the big hit. #MoreStephens
*** Lollipop unicorn rainbow chasers, stop reading here lest ye get your feelings hurt! ***
- After nine games a season ago, Alabama had five round-trippers and 41 for the season. After Sunday’s game, the Tide totals 14 four-baggers for 2022.
- Bailey Dowling had a rough weekend with only two hits in 12 at bats. However, she did produce three walks and played well in the field.
- After a highlight reel weekend last week, Bloodworth had a poor home stand at the plate going 0-fer the weekend in seven at bats with three strikeouts. She was still able to knock in a pair of runs on a sac fly and a hit by pitch with the bases loaded.
- Murphy better be working the recruiting trail for some frontline pitchers. Second year hurlers Torrence and Salter have not been bad in the circle but they don’t look like SEC-caliber pitchers. Additionally, it is unknown how many more years the Tide will have Fouts and Kilfoyl on the roster. Bama signed three position players for 2023 who enroll in the Fall of 2022. Unless Murphy can hit up the Transfer Portal in the off-season, Alabama will have no new pitchers arriving until the 2024 season at the soonest.
- All six Crimson Tide true freshmen played this weekend. Sophomore Grill played a good deal as well.
- Stephens’s double in Game 4 was just inches away from being a walk-off home run. She made up for it in Game 5 with the walk-off home run. #MoreStephens
- Jenna Lord was 2 for 4 with 1 RBI and 1 stolen base over the span of Games 4 and 5.
- Goodnight showed a flash of speed in Game 5 when she laid down a bunt and seemingly beat out the throw, confirmed by replay. Yet, the umpire saw otherwise. There are no replay reviews in non-conference games this season but there will be in SEC games. Goodnight is 6 for 6 in stolen bases.
- KJ Haney struck out against MTSU on an awful pitch low and outside. Sorry to be harsh (see disclosure above) but I’m not sure what kind of a future this sophomore has on the team.
- It is unclear what happened to Fouts in the sixth inning on Sunday. Does she lose focus or get bored when she is dominating an opponent? We have occasionally seen this from her before. Perhaps she was experimenting with some different methods of pitching?
- Fouts gave up her first walk of the season in inning number four on Sunday.
- The Tide star pitcher also made a nifty snag of a ground ball and cleanly threw to first.
- The Alabama defense has been stellar. The Crimson Tide turned two highlight reel double plays and the outfield has been laser accurate with their throws into the infield. I am probably jinxing it, but the Tide has only one error on the season thus far and it did not lead to a run being scored. Alabama had 54 errors in 61 games a season ago.
- Hats off to the softball grounds crew. Just look at the outfield grass in the clip below. Augusta National is jealous. Grounds crew chief Jonathan Dewitt and his team won “Field of the Year” national award for their work at Rhoads.
- Virginia Tech leaves Tuscaloosa with an 8-2 record. They won their three non-Alabama games pretty handily.
- MTSU and Evansville predictably loss their games to Alabama and Virginia Tech, but split against each other.
- If you watched the games this weekend, your heard the color commentary of Cait Brooks who played for (ugh) Notre Dame! C’mon SEC Network? You couldn’t find an SEC alum or better yet an Alabama alum to do these games?
- Speaking of Alabama alum announcers, former Tide All-American and current ESPN/SECN personality Kayla Braud is very covert about her private life, but it looks like she had a baby last fall. Congrats!
- Former Bama outfielder Kallie Case is married to former Alabama and Toledo quarterback Philip Ely. He is currently QB coach at McNeese State. They have one daughter.
- Shipman - 6 for 12, two 2B, two HR, 9 RBI, 4 RUNS, 4 BB, 0 K.
- Goodnight - 5 for 12, 1 RBI, 5 RUNS, 2 SB, outfield assist.
- Fouts - 2 wins, 1 save, 13 innings, 6 HITS, 1 ER, 1 BB, 24 K.
- Tow - 3 for 8, three 2B, 3 RUNS, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 2 K.
- After topping No. 7 Oklahoma State on Friday, No. 22 LSU lost three straight to No. 5 Washington, unranked Notre Dame, and No. 16 Michigan in a tournament in Clearwater, Florida.
- No. 25 Auburn defeated No. 9 Texas but were shutout by No. 3 UCLA 9-0. Also in Clearwater.
- It should not be surprising that FSU is again looking solid. The ‘Noles had four straight wins over ranked teams in Clearwater: No. 15 Tennessee, No. 9 Texas, No. 16 Michigan, and No. 24 UCF. They meet No. 3 UCLA later this evening.
- Mississippi State (5-5) is not good. The Dogs lost at home to Southern Illinois and Central Arkansas this past weekend and fell to Loyola Marymount the week before.
- Former Alabama walk-on and pinch-running specialist Mary Greg Anderson is playing for Kennesaw State (2-4). She is leading off and playing right field.
UPCOMING ALABAMA SCHEDULE
Patrick Murphy continues the tradition of playing one of his alma maters, ULL. The Tide will play one game in Laffy before heading to Youngsville, LA for the Mardi Gras Mambo. [Such a strange name for a tournament since everyone knows Mardi Gras is held in Mobile. Amirite?]
- Thursday, Feb. 24 Louisiana-Laf (6-0) 6 p.m. CT (played in Laffy)
- Friday, Feb. 25 Nicholls (2-8) 2 p.m. CT
- Friday, Feb. 25 Southeastern Louisiana (6-2) 4 p.m. CT
- Saturday, Feb. 26 Northwestern State (6-4) 3 p.m. CT
- Saturday, Feb. 26 Louisiana Tech (6-4) 5 p.m. CT
- Sunday, Feb. 27 Louisiana-Laf 11 a.m. CT