With more weather delays and the UGA-SCar game going extra innings, it was a late start for Alabama. And it was a late ending as well.
ALABAMA 3, ARKANSAS 2 - 9 Innings
Early on, Alabama was leaving base runners all over the place. In the first inning, the Tide put runners at second and third but could not score. In the second, two runners also reached base. Kristen White hit a grounder that went under two gloves for an error and Ally Shipman would come around to score.
In the top of the sixth inning with Faith Hensley standing on second, Jenna Johnson singled to center. A laser throw home got Hensley out at home on a play that could have gone either way. Video replay did not overturn the call. [I guess tie goes to the runner only applies in baseball.]
THE THROW. THE TAG! pic.twitter.com/j0g4p8S46l— Arkansas Razorback Softball (@RazorbackSB) May 12, 2023
[It was much closer upon replay review.]
With Bama holding on to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, it appeared that an overworked Montana Fouts might finally be wearing down. Arky got a runner to second on a single and a wild pitch. After a full count battle with Rylin Hedgecock, Patrick Murphy called for an outside pitch to intentionally walk the Razorback slugger. [You can always tell it is the post-season for Alabama softball when The Gut® starts walking folks.] The next batter of course singled in the tying run on the first pitch she saw. Fouts would fight back to strike out a Hog with the bases loaded to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, the unthinkable occurred. With one out and a 1-2 count, Fouts strikes out a batter but lands awkwardly on her left leg and comes away limping. After some medical attention, the Tide ace attempted some warm up pitches but could not continue.
Alex Salter entered the game and Arkansas loaded the bases. Shortstop Kenleigh Cahalan fielded a ground ball and made a nifty shuffle throw to third for the final out of the frame.
On to the ninth. Alissa Preuitt and Ashley Prange walked and each moved up a base on a passed ball. That is when Bailey Dowling delivered a two RBI double down the third base line.
Arky would get one unearned run back on a bloop double and a frantic throw home by freshman Kali Heivilin that was nowhere near catcher Ally Shipman.
BOGLE MAGIC BROUGHT TO YOU BY RAIGAN KRAMER! pic.twitter.com/8N9lenrp5a— Arkansas Razorback Softball (@RazorbackSB) May 12, 2023
The Gut® again intentionally walked Hedgecock but this time it worked out as the next batter grounded out to end the game.
After the game, Murphy did not have an update on Fouts’s condition.
- DOWLING: 2 for 5, 2 RBI, 2B
- FOUTS: 6.2 INNINGS, 1 ER, 9 K
- SALTER: 2.1 INNINGS, 1 UNEARNED RUN, 1 K, WIN
OTHER THURSDAY GAMES
- #8 Florida 6, #9 Kentucky 2 - Potential NPOY Skylar Wallace: 2-2, HR, 1B, 2 BB, 3 runs.
- #3 Auburn 8, #11 Ole Miss 7 - Penta got shelled but Aubie erased a four run deficit.
- #10 South Carolina 2, #2 Georgia 1 - 8 innings
Bama now faces the winner of Florida-Tennessee which due to more rain was pushed until Friday 10 a.m. CT. Auburn will play South Carolina at 3 p.m. CT. Alabama vs UF-UT winner is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. CT and air on ESPN2.
The schedule definitely works in Alabama’s favor for their opponent will be playing a second game on the day.
TENNESSEE OR FLORIDA
The Tide lost two of three to the Tennessee in Knoxville in late March.
If it is Florida, it will be the first meeting between the Crimson Tide and the Gators in 2023.
Florida’s pitching is pretty awful with all of their pitchers sporting ERAs over 3.00. Thus, Tim Walton employs a strategy of outscoring everyone. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. But you take what you can get.
Of course you know who the big star for Florida is. Skylar Wallace is a cinch for SEC POY and may just win the National POTY. She is batting a ridiculous .463 with 19 home runs and 55 RBI at the leadoff spot. 8th year senior Charla Echols is hitting .364 with 11 HR and 63 Ribbies.
Tennessee is led by superstars Ashley Rogers (15-1, 0.76 ERA) and Kiki Milloy (.423 BA, 49 RBI, leads the nation with 71 runs scored, third in 21 HR).
The dramatic win and loss of Montana Fouts might be too much for this fragile squad to handle. We all know how they react after a big win or big moment.
This second win betters the Tide’s odds of at top 16 seed that bring with it Regional hosting duties. But with no Fouts, might the Selection Committee look at Bama differently?
Will Murphy go back to Salter on Friday or try his luck with one of the other Tide pitchers? This tournament isn’t over yet. Being one of the most unpredictable SEC seasons of recent memory, anything could happen.
If Fouts is out for the season, how much further can Bama go?
This poll is closed
Without Fouts, it’s over.
They will win a couple games without her.
Salter has improved and Bama will make it to the Supers.
"Win It For Tana" will sweep the team and Bama will return to the WCWS.