Alabama’s season and Montana Fouts’ career ended Friday night, losing a pitching battle to Stanford 2-0. With the loss to Stanford, Alabama was unable to get a win in the Women’s College World Series for the fourth time out of 14 total trips.
With the season on the line for the Crimson Tide, Montana Fouts was given the start in the circle Friday night. Fouts, despite still battling a hyperextended knee that has kept her limited, did her best to extend the Alabama season but came up just short. Fouts pitched all seven innings for the Crimson Tide, allowing five hits and striking out four, but gave up two runs that would be the difference in the game. The legendary career of Fouts finally came to an end finishing with 100 wins and 1,181 strikeouts over her five year career at Alabama. This season Fouts finished with a 25-11 record and a 1.49 earned run average. Fouts also led the nation in strikeouts with 323 on the season.
On the other side of the pitching battle, Stanford gave Alana Vawter the start in the circle. Vawter is no stranger to the Crimson Tide, as she was the pitcher that sent Alabama home last year in the Tuscaloosa Regional with two complete game shutouts. Friday night was no different, Vawter went five and two-thirds innings of shutout ball allowing just one hit and striking out five batters. Ashley Prange was the only Alabama hitter that was successful, recording the Crimson Tide’s only hit with a single up the middle in the third inning.
Stanford’s standout freshman pitcher and the nation’s ERA leader, NiJaree Canady came into the game to relieve Vawter and things did not get any better for Alabama. After seeing a bunch of dropballs and slower pitching with Vawter, Canady came in throwing much harder with riseballs, creating the perfect one-two punch with the two different pitching styles.
All of Stanford’s offense came from the bat of Sydney Steele as she drove in both runs for the Cardinal. In the second inning, Steele drove in a run with a double to right center field and later added an insurance run in the top of the seventh with a solo homer to left field.
Despite a poor performance in the Women’s College World Series, it was still a successful season for the Crimson Tide, finishing with a 45-22 record while battling injuries and inconsistency throughout the season, with the biggest injury being to Fouts going into the NCAA softball tournament.
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