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Alabama Softball Bolsters Bullpen With LSU Transfer

Alabama girl is coming home.

Welcome home

If you have been in a coma the last few months, welcome back. The bad news is that Montana Fouts will never pitch for the Crimson Tide ever again. This notion was certainly not lost on Alabama coach Patrick Murphy. A week after picking up senior Kayla Beavers from Central Arkansas, Murphy reeled in rising sophomore Alea Johnson (7-1 record and 1.41 ERA) from LSU. These two additions are strong moves that will help fill the gaping hole left by Fouts’s departure.

Murphy has gone to the transfer portal before. The problem is that he tended to get players from small schools or colleges out of the “power” region of the south/southwest. Sometimes it worked well enough but often times it resulted in mediocrity. Many other teams, namely Arkansas, have grown their programs through poaching the SEC. The one time Murphy did that, he hit a home run landing Ally Shipman from Tennessee. Now, for a second time, he is a poacher in the conference and not the poachee.

Johnson had a really good freshman campaign but as Erik mentioned in the Jumbo Package, she was languishing on the bench behind three other pitchers. Despite her good pitching, she was 4th on the staff in innings (44.2) and appearances - only 12 games. Bama’s Lauren Esman had 58.0 and 20. Alea participated in three games in April and three in May.

In four SEC games of 12.1 innings, she allowed seven hits and two earned runs. However as Erik alluded, she walked eight and struck out three with six wild pitches in those games. The sunny side of those numbers is that she was able to work out of jams. Alea also pitched two perfect innings of six up-six down against National Champs Oklahoma - who will be SEC next season.

Johnson’s season ERA of 1.41 would be much lower if not for a rough outing against ULL in the Baton Rogue Regional. Starter Ali Kilponen got knocked around for three runs in 1.1 innings and then Johnson gets thrown in the fire after sitting on the bench for a solid two weeks. She too would give up three runs in a 7-4 loss.

The newest member of the Tide will not be a complete stranger to the team. She played travel ball with National Champs Birmingham Thunderbolts, which is the same team as fellow Alabama players Kenleigh Cahalan, Larissa Preuitt and Marlie Giles.

It is an excellent pick up by Murphy. My only real complaint is (you knew I would have one, right?), why didn’t he sign her out of high school? She is from Fairhope, AL where she was the two-time 7A Pitcher of the Year.

Now go get us some home run hitters.

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