Outstanding Bama pitching had five shutouts (hence the dounts) and two no-hitters.
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GAME 1: ALABAMA 4, ROBERT MORRIS 0
Bama scored two runs in the first frame on one hit. After a hit by pitch and a walk, Jordan Stephens singled in the two Tide runners for an early 2-0 lead.
Kali Heivilin had an unorthodox trip around the bases in the second. On a drive to right field the Colonials’ right fielder broke the wrong way and fell down. As a result, Heivilin made it to third base for a triple and then scored on a bad throw to third base.
Ashley Prange hit a solo moonshot to center field to make it 4-0 in the third. And then Bama politely put their bats away and brought out the wet noodles - only two soft singles the rest of the way.
Lauren “Don’t Call Me Howard” Esman got the start in the circle and yielded a single and a walk in the first but settled down for the complete game shutout win. She struck out nine and gave up only four hits.
GAME 2: ALABAMA 10, ROBERT MORRIS 0 - 5.0 Innings Run Rule No-No
Bama required a little assistance in scoring in Game 2. With one out in the second, two Tide singles were followed by an error and a fielder’s choice for a 2-0 UA advantage. Ally Shipman left the bases loaded.
Alabama woke up in the fourth inning when Cahalan earned her first hit since last Sunday with a solo shot to right center. Faith Hensley followed with a single and a stolen base. Shipman knocked her in with a single for a 4-0 lead. Bama picked up another run on a bases loaded boot by the RMU shortstop on an easy roller that could have been a double play. Esman singled in two to push the lead to 7-0.
In the same inning, Bailey Dowling pinch hit with runners on second and third and broke out of her funk with an absolute bomb to left center.
It was Jaala Torrence in the circle doing what she does to cupcakes, pitching a dominating softball. She cajoled 4 strikeouts in her first career no-hitter. It’s too bad we can’t get her to do that against the power teams.
GAME 3: ALABAMA 5, LONGWOOD 0
The Lancers were feeling mighty charitable to the Tide in the second inning. The starting pitcher walked three of the first four Tide batters. Not to be outdone, the LU second baseman committed a fielding error that allowed the first two Bama scores. Cahalan got the first hit of the day with a two RBI single. 4 RUNS, 1 HIT.
Of course, you know what happened next. The bats were stored away in the freezer behind that venison that Montana Fouts shot over the winter break.
In the fifth, Prange led off with a double. A pair of outs moved her up two stations and the Crimson Tide was done scoring for the day. Four hits. If not for the meltdown inning, this game would have been much closer.
Montana Fouts (8-1) did Montana Fouts things: 3-hit shutout over seven innings with twelve Ks.
GAME 4: ALABAMA 8, LONGWOOD 0 - 6.0 Innings Run Rule No-No
Alabama got their second no-hitter of the weekend with this one being the 6.0 inning perfect game variety. Fouts mowed down the Lancers with 14 whiffs for the W.
It is tax season, so I suppose Longwood needed some more write-offs. In the first inning, Shipman was beaned on her back knee. Getting hit by a pitch happens a lot in softball - way more than baseball - but this one was one that makes you cringe in sympathy pain. After limping down to first and a visit from the UA medical staff, Ally stayed in the game. Apparently she was okay, because she scored from first on a Dowling single and a Lancers error in center. She also tripled in her next at bat.
Perhaps sensing the Tide’s offensive struggles, Patrick Murphy had to resort to small ball. On a bunt-and-run by Jenna Johnson in the fourth, Jordan Stephens made it all the way around to third base. Emma Broadfoot knocked her in with a single.
More philanthropy in the fifth, Cahalan led off with a double. Prange hit a pop to center that the outfielder lost in the sun or in her psyche. On a throw to third, Prange moved up to second. This allowed Shipman to pick up the RBI with a sac fly to left. Dowling followed with a run-scoring single.
More bunts and slap singles put two on board in the sixth inning for Prange who sent a ball deep over the centerfield wall. After two more walks, Jordan Stephens singled in the eighth run for a walk-off run-rule no-hit perfect game.
GAME 5: ALABAMA 8, MERCER 0 - 5.0 Innings Run Rule
Following a leadoff single by Heivilin, Cahalan and Prange had back-to-back doubles for a 2-0 lead in the third. After an out, Dowling would join the doubles parade sending a third runner plateward.
In the next inning, Jenna Johnson broke out of her slump with a two run dinger. Later in the frame, Cahalan sac flied Heivilin in and Prange would hit a solo home run for a touchdown lead.
Appropriately enough, Bama wins it on a bases loaded wild pitch for another walk-off run rule victory.
Alex Salter (2-0) made her first appearance of the weekend in the circle. She pitched well, scattering 2 singles and striking out two with no walks. The win is the first complete game of her Tide career (Alabama State in 2022 was the other).
*** Lollipop unicorn rainbow chasers, stop reading here lest ye get your feelings hurt! ***
- Well, at least they went 5-0. The pitching was outstanding, but no less should be expected against these teams that we did not even know existed until a few days ago.
- Fouts’s perfect game was the eighth in program history but the third of her career.
- Batting on the other hand was inconsistent and benefited from many mistakes by their underwhelming opponents. Every team Bama played this week (including USM on Wednesday) committed at least one error in their meetings with Alabama. The Tide was also the beneficiaries of 23 walks.
- In Games 1 and 3, Patrick Murphy went with Shipman at first and Giles at catcher - a move which I applaud. It gives the Tide more offense and gives Ally a break behind the plate. On a bunt to first, Shipman smoothly fielded and made a textbook throw to first like she’s done it all her life.
- Game 1 had black female umpire, Destini Robinson, behind the plate - which is notable because she is a bit of a rarity. TBH, the majority of these officials seem to be white men. Softball umpires don’t get paid a lot and have other jobs. It’s assumed they mostly do these games out of fun.
- YOU HAD ONE JOB: With the outcome of Game 1 still in doubt in the sixth inning, Jordan Stephens was called out at first for leaving the base too early. Hmm...
- On a high throw to first, Broadfoot came down with the ball in what could have been a scary collision with the Mercer baserunner. Everyone was okay but it brings to mind the subject that Murphy has been beating the drum over for the last couple of years, which is the safety first base. He has yet to utilize one in a game. All it takes is an agreement by both teams to use one.
- Perhaps looking to shake things up, The Gut® started Faith Hensley and Abby Duchscherer in the second game Saturday. Which is fine I guess but he batted them second and fourth respectively. Emma Broadfoot hit fifth and played third base in place of Prange. Esman (not pitching) was DH in the 8-spot. Not a lineup I am crazy about. Bailey Dowling DNP.
- WALK THIS WAY: Broadfoot drew 4 walks this weekend.
- In the sixth inning of Game 3 with a 5-0 lead, The Gut® pinch hit Kat Grill for Jenna Johnson. She reached first on a bunt single. Feeling good about his grand victory, The Gut® pinch hit Faith Hensley for Kali Heivilin who was the next batter. She whiffed on three pitches. Doubling down, he once again went to the bench and sent Esman to hit for Giles. Three pitches, three strikes. Bra. Vo.
- For some reason, The Gut® pinch ran for Jenna Johnson in Game 1 and Shipley in Game 2 with the final outcomes still in doubt. He also pinched for Ship last weekend. It is a bid odd since those two are pretty fast runners. Ally had two stolen bases on the weekend and is 4 for 4 on the season. She also legged out an honest triple on Sunday. Johnson does not have a swipe this season but had 12 a season ago - second best on the team.
- Cahalan at short and Heivilin at second were the only two players to start all five games at their primary position. Six different players played in the outfield.
- Still, no play in the field for Dowling - not even in garbage time. ???
- Former Crimson Tide All-American Kaylee Tow took time off from her job as a Financial Analyst at Boeing in Huntsville to do the color commentary for the Alabama games. At one point during chit-chat in the opening game, the Bama play-by-play guy, Gray Robertson, called Tow a “nerd” for making good grades at Alabama (she was also an Academic All-American and earned an MBA at UA). She seemed a bit taken aback by the comment and defended herself and the team’s pride in excelling in the classroom. It is unclear if Robertson ever apologized.
- Former Alabama pitcher Courtney Gettins (2018-19) is an Assistant Coach for Mercer.
- ICYMI, Robert Morris was an English-born merchant and a Founding Father of the United States. He served as a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, the Second Continental Congress, and the United States Senate, and he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. He had no hand in creating the University. It is simply named in his honor.
- PITCHING STAFF - 4 PITCHERS, 5 WINS, 5 COMPLETE GAMES, 5 SHUTOUTS, 2 NO-HITTERS, 1 PERFECT GAME, 41 K, 4 BB, 0 WILD PITCH
- PRANGE – 6-13 (.462), 6 RUNS, 7 RBI, 3 HR, two 2B, 0 K
- CAHALAN – 5-14 (.357), 3 RUNS, 6 RBI, two 2B, 1 HR, 0 K
- DOWLING 4-11 (.364), 2 RUNS, 6 RBI, one 2B, 1 HR, 0 K
UPCOMING ALABAMA SCHEDULE
Messing With Texas! In one last tune up before SEC play begins, it’s the Bevo Classic in Austin, TX. But first, a few more cupcakes with one in B’ham. Get your tickets quick!
- Tuesday, March 7 vs Western Michigan 6 p.m. CT Tuscaloosa, AL - SEC+.
- Wednesday, March 8 at UAB 6 p.m. CT Birmingham, AL - TV/Streaming ???
- Friday, March 10 at Texas 4 p.m. CT - Longhorn Network
- Saturday, March 11 at Texas State 12:30 p.m. CT - Longhorn Network
- Saturday, March 11 vs Texas 6:30 p.m. CT - Longhorn Network
- Sunday, March 12 vs Wisconsin 9:30 a.m. CT - Longhorn Network
Is Alabama ready to mess with Texas?
This poll is closed
YES, they have got things going on!
Meh, we’ll see.
No, wins over teams of this caliber don’t impress me.