The Crimson Tide (28-12, 6-6 SEC) had an excellent opportunity for a much-needed sweep over South Carolina (27-11, 4-8) but came up short.
GAME 1: ALABAMA 2, SOUTH CAROLINA 1 - 9 Innings
For such a tight low-scoring game, it was a bumpy ride until the end.
Ashley Prange broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning when she singled in Kenleigh Cahalan who had doubled before her and made it to third on a South Carolina error. Unfortunately, Bama would leave the bases loaded in that inning and the next as well. The Tide would strand at least one runner in each of the first five innings.
Montana Fouts was perfect through the first four innings including taking down the first seven of 12 batters she faced on strikes. Then the bus hit a pothole in the fifth inning when the first three Gamecocks got on base via two singles and a walk. Fouts got a strikeout followed by a fielder’s choice at home. It appeared the Tide would get out of the jam when the next batter struck out. However upon replay review, it was judged that Ally Shipman had dropped strike three and a run scored.
It would remain a 1-1 tie until the bottom of the ninth when Alabama would need their fab freshman to bail them out.
KENLEIGH CALLED GAME!— Rhoads Ragers (@RagersRhoads) April 6, 2023
️@TCanterburyRTR on @UA_CTSN pic.twitter.com/t69IdZs9Qs
In the ninth inning, A pair of singles and a fielder’s choice put Larissa Preuitt on second. Cahalan’s single to center would win the opener.
Fouts delivered 152 offerings in nine innings and was repaid with 15 Ks. Her performance pushed her passed Alexis Osorio in Alabama career strikeouts. SC managed three singles and two walks - one intentional.
GAME 2: ALABAMA 4, SOUTH CAROLINA 0 - No-hitter!
Montana Fouts with the no-hitter!@MontanaFouts— Alabama Softball (@AlabamaSB) April 8, 2023
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For the second weekend in a row, Patrick Murphy put Montana Fouts in the circle on back-to-back starts and it paid off. The Crimson Tide star threw her fourth career no-hitter. She tossed 96 pitches - a season low for a complete game - and missed out on a perfect game due to two walks and a HBP. Fouts whiffed ten in the game.
Some heads-up baserunning as the rundown allows Shipman to score from third@JennaJohnson88 @ally_shipman— Alabama Softball (@AlabamaSB) April 8, 2023
SECN+ | https://t.co/X3h5ctphV4#Team27 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/kv4y9Ghq29
Bama scored all their runs in the third inning on three singles, a walk, and a sac fly and the above fielder’s choice.
GAME 3: SOUTH CAROLINA 3, ALABAMA 1
It was quite the craptacular follow-up for Alabama after Fouts’s no-no in Game 2. The Crimson Tide managed three whole hits in a winnable game while striking out a season-high 11 times. There is no blaming the pitching on this one.
Lauren Esman got the start for the Tide in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and made a nice debut by striking out the side in the first inning.
T-3 | The Gamecocks get on the scoreboard first on what ends up being a double steal, as @_Desiderio3 comes home.— Gamecock Softball (@GamecockSoftbll) April 8, 2023
1 | 0 pic.twitter.com/xn5fON80G6
In the third inning with a runners on first and third base, SC took a page from Alabama’s strategy and scored on a delayed steal home.
Senior Day Solo Shot for Prange! @a_prange— Alabama Softball (@AlabamaSB) April 8, 2023
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Prange struck back in the bottom of the frame with a solo home run. It all fell apart when the first Gamecock batter of the fourth inning walked and the next batter deposited the ball over the left field wall. The next ‘Cock singled and Murphy left Esman in the game. A fielder’s choice advanced the runner to second and that is when Jaala Torrence entered the game and got three outs to keep the Tide close at 3-1.
Jaala would finish out the game in dominating fashion, pitching 4.0 innings of no-hit ball. Unfortunately, the Tide offense would do nothing as well. Bama would have no hits after the Pranger four-bagger and the last five Alabama batters of the game all struck out.
*** Lollipop unicorn rainbow chasers, stop reading here lest ye get your feelings hurt! ***
The RBR softball coverage will call them as we see them and will not change because some reader(s) got upset because someone declared Patrick to not be a Saint. We are not going to blow sunshine up your backsides and pretend everything is all unicorns frolicking in a field of gumdrops and lollipops when it is not. If that is the sort of thing you want, there are plenty of sunshine-pumpers out there willing to fill your pretty little head with that sort of malarkey.
- Once again, this coaching staff cannot bring their team off a big high and get them focused for the next game. The Lollipop Guild is going to beat their chests over a “series win” but this three-game set should have been a sweep - a much needed one at that.
- As mentioned in the preview, SC came into this series leading the conference in stolen bases. Shipman threw out two of two runners in Game 2. However, SC was three for three in swipes in the series finale.
- Four different Bama baserunners stole a base in the first game. Unfortunately, they were one for three in the two following games.
- SC’s double steal in Game 3 was expertly carried out. It will need to be something for the coaching staff to address.
- Pinch-hitters went 0 for 3. Pinch-runners did not score a run.
- The Gut® continues to pinch run and pinch hit at odd times. All I can figure is that he is trying to keep everyone happy with playing time. But seriously, does pinch-running for someone once a weekend really itch that scratch to play?
- Fouts struck out at least one batter in each inning of the Friday game continuing a streak from last weekend’s two game that she pitched. The streak was snapped in the top of 4th of Game 2 of the series.
- Fouts threw 248 total pitches in her two starts.
- Fouts’s no-hitter was the 44th in program history.
- With 25 strikeouts over the weekend, Fouts has passed Alexis Osorio in Alabama career whiffs. Stephanie VanBrakle’s total could be within reach in a couple of weeks:
- 1,219 Kelsi Dunne 2008-11
- 1,113 Stephanie VanBrakle 2003-06
- 1,081 Montana Fouts 2019-pres.
- 1,063 Alexis Osorio 2015-18
- 1,045 Shelley Laird 1999-02
- 976 Jaclyn Traina 2011-14
- In a stretch of five games, Alabama won three by the score of 4-0. In each of those games, all the Tide runs came in one inning.
- As a team, Alabama hit 16 for 77 (.208) in the South Carolina series. They had only two extra base hits in Cahalan’s double and Prange’s dinger. Ten batters walked and 17 struck out. Is having more strikeouts than hits a bad thing? I’m kinda thinking it is.
- ONE HIT WONDERS: Kali Heivilin, Bailey Dowling, and Emma Broadfoot started all three games and produced one hit each.
- It has been 29 straight games that Dowling has batted as DP but not play in the field.
- The Gut® utilized three vastly different batting orders with only Cahalan leading off as the constant.
- FOUTS: 2 WINS, 16.0 INNINGS, 3 HITS & 1 RUN ALLOWED, 25 K
- PRANGE: 3-6 (.500), 2 RUNS, 2 RBI, HR, 4 BB, 0 K
- Honorable mention, TORRENCE: 4.0 INNINGS, 0 HITS & 0 RUNS ALLOWED, 2 BB, 3 K
UPCOMING ALABAMA SCHEDULE
It’s the second and last chance to catch the Tide in Birmingham this season as they face the Sam-Dogs on Tuesday. There may be some General Admission tickets remaining.
Alabama is fortunate to have another struggling SEC team up next on the slate. Having lost four straight, MSU is 23-14 overall and 3-6 in the conference. The Bullies continue SEC play today and Monday against TAMU.
- Tuesday, April 11 at Samford 6 p.m. CT Birmingham, AL - ESPN+
- Friday, April 14 at Mississippi State 4 p.m. CT Starkville, MS
- Saturday, April 15 at Mississippi State 1:30 p.m. CT Starkville, MS
- Sunday, April 16 at Mississippi State 1 p.m. CT Starkville, MS - SEC Network
"Winning the series" against SC is ___:
This poll is closed