Clearly, this Crimson Tide is still figuring out who they are, but a few trends - good and bad - are coming into focus.
The good? Kenleigh Cahalan is proving that her high recruiting rankings were well-deserved. [Learn the name: KEN-lee kuh-HEY-lan] Ally Shipman continues to rip the cover off the ball. And the big inning made a few appearances.
The bad? Much of the offense is coming from the top of the order. As a result, Bama is still stranding runners all over the place. Thus far this season, none of the pitchers - including Montana Fouts - have delivered a dominating effort for more than a 4 inning stint.
[NOTE: The @AlabamaSB Twitter account did not post any videos.]
GAME 1: ALABAMA 9, KENNESAW 2
Lauren Esman got the start in the circle and had a less than stellar outing. She gave up singles to the first batter of the first and second innings. In that second inning, the Owls would load the bases on a pair of singles and a hit-by-pitch. KSU would take an early lead on a fielder’s choice to home in which catcher Marlie Giles neglected to place a foot on the plate. Chalk that one up to inexperience (and maybe poor situational coaching preparation?).
Esman would get through the next two innings but was yanked in favor of Jaala Torrence after allowing a single in the fifth with one out. [She would stay in the game and bat for herself (smh) and go 0 for 3.] That batter would come around to score on a passed ball, a stolen base, and two throwing errors. It was not a good inning behind the plate for Giles.
Once again, Cahalan opened an Alabama game with a base hit. The freshman doubled but would be stranded. She would also single in the third and not score. The Tide was putting up zeroes until an unearned run in the fourth tied the game 1-1. Down 2-1 in the fifth, Bama put up six runs thanks to a double by Ally Shipman that cleared the bases and a two-run triple by Larissa Preuitt. The Tide added two more on an Ashley Prange single in the sixth.
Torrence (W, 2-1) was perfect with 4 Ks over the last 2.2.
GAME 2: ALABAMA 6, SE LOUISIANA 2
Alabama had another six run inning in Game 2. Unfortunately, all the other innings were goose eggs. Once more, Cahalan would get the team’s first hit of the game with a one-out double in the third inning but she would not score.
The Lions imploded in the bottom of the 4th with the first two Tide batters reaching on errors. Emma Broadfoot would single one in. After a pair of Bama players reached bases on balls, Shipman again cleared the bases with a double. A Bailey Dowling single would push across run number six.
For awhile, Montana Fouts was mostly doing Montana Fouts things including five strikeouts in the fourth and fifth innings. Then came the hiccup that has been a disturbing trend this young season. In the sixth, a one out Lions walk was followed by home run to right center. At 6-2, the game turned a little perilous. But as she usually does, it rolled right off Fouts’s back as she whiffed the next two batters.
GAME 3: ALABAMA 14, INDIANA STATE 4- 5 Innings Run Rule
It was a wretched start fro the Tide as the Sycamores scored two runs in the first inning on three consecutive singles and two errors (White, Kat Grill) with Alex Salter in the circle.
The ISU lead did not last long as hot-hitting Shipman hit a two-run bomb in the bottom of the frame.
Saturday was Faith Hensley’s Senior Day which seems odd considering she had all of 12 at bats as a member of the Crimson Tide coming into the day. But The Gut® got one right because the Ball State transfer hit a two run homer in the same inning for a 4-2 lead.
In the spirit of giving, Alabama gave a run back in the second frame with another two errors (Prange, Salter). Bama loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning but only managed one run when Hensley got her third RBI of the day on a hit by pitch.
More giving when the 3rd inning leadoff Sycamore deposited a Salter offering over the outfield wall to trail only 5-4. Torrence entered the game and slammed the door. The Tide again responded, this time with a 2-run inside-the-park home run by Cahalan - her second this season.
Bama added two more on a bases loaded single by Kat Grill and one on a bunt single by White. 10-4 after 4.
In the fifth, a sac fly RBI followed by a walk-off three run dinger by Giles ends the game on a run rule.
GAME 4: ALABAMA 11, SE LOUISIANA 0 - 5 Innings Run Rule
Alabama again struck early in the first with Shipman knocking in the first run on an RBI single. Dowling followed up with a 2 RBI double. Two consecutive wild pitches plated fourth and fifth runs.
In the second, Dowling hit a three run homer to extend the lead to 8-0. Next frame, Cahalan continued her tear with her second home run of the season - this one the traditional kind that sailed over the right field wall for a 10-0 advantage. In the fourth, Faith Hensley again went deep on her Senior Day with a solo shot.
Fouts returned to the circle and tossed 4.0 innings, yielding four singles and a double while striking out 9. Esman pitched the fifth. A single was erased by a caught stealing. The other two batters popped up and the run rule came into effect.
GAME 5: KENNESAW 5, THE GUT® 3
After three straight decent outings, I suppose it was too much to hope for fourth from Torrence. The woebegone Owls put four singles together in the first inning to score two runs. Jaala seemed to settle down getting KSU 1-2-3 in the second with two Ks but with the shortest of short leashes, Patrick Murphy and his Gut® surprisingly hooked her after she walked the leadoff batter in the third. Esman entered the game and gave up an RBI double and an RBI single for an early 4-0 deficit.
Meanwhile the UA offense (sans Dowling, Heivilin, and Giles) managed only one hit through the first four innings until - guess who? - Cahalan doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch in the fifth. She would score on a sac fly by Preuitt.
The Gut® must have been feeling especially salty because he inserted Alex Salter into the game in the sixth and the leadoff hitter crushed a ball out of the park. This was followed by two singles and an error by Broadfoot that loaded the bases. Torrence reentered the game and got out of the jam.
After a leadoff walk to Broadfoot, Prange finally woke up from a deep slumber and homered to center field to cut the score to 5-3.
Following a walk and sac bunt against Torrence, Murphy again made a random pitching change by bringing in Fouts (a couple innings too late IMHO) who whiffed two.
Bama quietly went down in order in the seventh frame for the second inexcusable loss of the season. Bama was outhit 3 to 10. Surprise, surprise, the pitching after Fouts is completely inadequate.
*** Lollipop unicorn rainbow chasers, stop reading here lest ye get your feelings hurt! ***
- We just can’t have nice things. Alabama gets their fans hopes up after two dominating run rule wins and pull this piece of crap out of their pockets against one of the worst DI teams in the nation in Game 5. Reminiscent of the 2021 WCWS when Fouts throws a perfect game against superpower UCLA, Murphy allows his team to celebrate too much and they come out unfocused and flat in the next game.
- The loss to Kennesaw State was only the second defeat to an Atlantic 10 team in program history. It was the only win on the weekend for the Owls. They were run-ruled by Indiana State the night before.
- Fab freshman Kenleigh Cahalan has hit safely in 14 consecutive games to begin the season. It is the longest streak to start an Alabama career, eclipsing legendary Haylie McCleney who hit in her first twelve.
- Cahalan is the only Alabama player to have two inside-the-park HRs in one season and is just the second to have two in their career. Brittany Rogers did so in 2007 and 2008.
- Bama had two errors (Prange, Giles) in Game 1, and four in Game 3.
- YOU HAD ONE JOB: In Game 1, Esman pop fouled to the catcher and for some reason Jordan Stephens who was on first base ran two-thirds of the way to second and was double off first. Hmm. Remind me again who coaches first base?
- Freshman pinch-runner Kristen White was called out at first for leaving the base too early to end Bama’s big six-run rally of Game 2 . Hmm... ^^^
- Bama had only four stolen base attempts - three in one game versus Indy State. They were successful in all four.
- Hensley has scored at least one run in 9 out of 10 games she has played thus far for a total of 12 runs. She is improving after a slow start.
- Dowling has still yet to play defense. For unexplained reasons, she did not play in either game against Kennesaw. Is she injured? Dowling went 3 for 7 with 6 RBI, 4 runs, one 2B, 1 HR, and 0 Ks in the three games she did participate in over the weekend.
- After a big weekend in Clearwater last week, Prange had considerably cooled off against much weaker opposition. Since her two home run game against UCLA, the senior went 4 for 23 with no extra base hits and three RBI in eight games. She finally snapped that rut with her Sunday four-bagger.
- Perhaps looking for more pop in the lineup, Shipman played first base in Games 2-3 and looked like a natural. Giles stood in at catcher. Emma Broadfoot has started most of the games at first this season but has struggled at the dish (6 for 24). Giles is 5 for 10. They both have 4 RBI.
- Thanks to UA Athletics Dept for streaming all the games. It was only one camera with the radio call but we aren’t complaining!
- CAHALAN – 8 FOR 12 (.667), 8 RUNS, 4 RBI, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 BB, 1 SB - by the end of the week, they were just walking her.
- HENSLEY – 5-9 (.556), 8 RUNS, 4 RBI, 2 HR, 2 BB, 1 SB, 3 HBP, 0 K
- SHIPMAN 5-15 (.333), 4 RUNS, 9 RBI, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 BB
UPCOMING ALABAMA SCHEDULE
- Wednesday, March 1 vs Southern Miss 6 p.m. CT
- Friday, March 3 vs Robert Morris 4 p.m. CT
- Friday, March 3 vs Longwood 6:30 p.m. CT
- Saturday, March 4 vs Robert Morris 11 a.m. CT
- Saturday, March 4 vs Longwood 1:30 p.m. CT
- Sunday, March 5 vs Mercer 1 p.m. CT
* All games are relegated to streaming on SEC+.
After Fouts, which pitcher do you trust most?
This poll is closed
Can Cahalan pitch?