In her first game back in two weeks, Montana Fouts did not look like her usual self and the Crimson Tide lost the first game of the super regionals to No. 12 Northwestern 3-1 on Friday.
Alabama was able to get past the regional without having to bring Fouts back to the circle, allowing her to get additional rest, but with a trip to the Women’s College World Series up for grabs, coach Patrick Murphy decided to give Fouts the start. The Crimson Tide ace was only able to get through three and one-third innings Friday night, allowing three runs on five hits before having to give up the circle to Jaala Torrence.
After receiving a standing ovation as she took the circle, Fouts came out and retired the first five batters she faced before giving up a solo home run in the second inning that was just the beginning as her first start back began to fall apart. In the third inning, Fouts allowed the first three batters to reach base before pitching out of the jam after allowing just one run. Northwestern followed up in the fourth inning scoring another run after a wild throw from Fouts put the lead-off batter on second base. Jaala Torrence came in to replace Fouts after a walk and an RBI single to pitch Alabama out of a jam. Torrence finished the game keeping Northwestern scoreless for three and two-thirds innings.
While Alabama’s pitching was not up to par Friday night, the big story was the lack of offense. Alabama was only able to put one run across on six hits while leaving six runners on base. Ashley Prange, Alabama’s best hitter, finished the game 2-for-3, but the Crimson Tide was unable to get anyone on base in front of her for her to drive in.
If Alabama wants to advance to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series, they will have to overcome some heavy odds. According to ESPN, teams who win the first game of the super regional have an 81% chance to advance. The Crimson Tide will have to win two straight games against Northwestern to overcome these odds, starting with the second game of the series Saturday night at 8 p.m.
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