Alabama was able to advance to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament with an extra-innings victory over Arkansas, but their ace pitcher Montana Fouts’ health is in question.
Alabama defeated the defending SEC Tournament champions and host team Arkansas 3-2 in an extra-inning thriller that took nine innings to determine the victor. Unfortunately, Alabama’s ace, Montana Fouts, suffered a leg injury in the seventh inning and was unable to finish the game, making her availability for the rest of the tournament in doubt.
After the game, Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy told ESPN’s Holly Rowe that he wasn’t planning on pitching Fouts in the semifinals or even the finals if Alabama was able to make it that far. Murphy did not give any further details on the extent of Fouts’ injury but said she lost her footing during her follow-through.
“She slipped a little bit,” Murphy said. “I’ve seen it before with a pitcher where the surface getting really, really, like concrete, and it’s slick. Hopefully, she’s going to be OK.”
Alabama got on the scoreboard first after Ally Shipman leadoff the second inning with a single and later scored on an error by Arkansas. This would be all the scoring until the bottom of the sixth inning when Arkansas would string together a couple of singles to tie the score at one apiece.
Finally, in the top of the ninth, Alabama was able to break the tie, scoring twice in the ninth inning. Larissa Pruiett and Ashley Prange both walked with one out and advanced to second and third on a passed ball to set the table for Bailey Dowling. Dowling lined a ball off the third baseman’s glove into left field to score two runs giving the Crimson Tide a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the ninth.
Arkansas was able to score one run in the ninth off Alex Salter who came in for the injured Montana Fouts, but Salter was able to close it out for Alabama and secure the 3-2 victory, advancing Alabama to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.
After the game, Murphy was pleased with the way his team fought to get the victory over a tough Arkansas team Thursday night.
“It’s unreal, unbelievable,” Murphy said. “We’ve been working toward this all year. It’s a young team with eight newcomers, five freshmen. I think tonight we saw the real Alabama gritty, resilient, determined and couldn't be more proud of them.”
While Alabama will advance to face the winner of Tennessee vs. Florida on Friday night, the health of their All-SEC pitcher will be the biggest concern moving forward.
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