Due to a weather delay, Alabama had to wait five hours before winning their first round matchup against Missouri 7-2 Wednesday night at Bogle Park in Fayetteville, Ark. Alabama’s run in the SEC Tournament last year ended early in the quarterfinals by Missouri, but this year Alabama refused to let that happen again.
Despite having to wait around five hours for the rain to pass, Alabama came out swinging the bats early. Thanks to the hot start from the Crimson Tide hitters, Alabama never trailed the entire game. Third baseman Ashley Prange started the hitting off in the first inning with a solo homer smashed over the center field wall to give the Crimson Tide an early 1-0 lead. Later, in the second inning, Alabama tacked on three more runs from an RBI single from Kali Heivilin, a squeeze bunt from Kristen White and a Jenna Johnson sacrifice fly to give Alabama a commanding 4-0 lead.
This would be plenty of run support for Alabama’s ace, Montana Fouts. Fouts spread out eight hits from Missouri in her complete-game victory, allowing just two runs and striking out 10 batters. The 10 strikeouts from Fouts put her at 302 for the season, the second time in her career she has eclipsed the 300 strikeout mark in a season, making her one of three Alabama pitchers to accomplish this feat.
After Missouri cut the lead to three runs in the third inning, Alabama’s Bailey Dowling scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend the Alabama lead back to four runs. Missouri put another run across in the top of the fifth attempting to battle their way back into the game. In the bottom half of the fifth inning though, Prange stayed hot at the plate, crushing a two-run homer over the left centerfield fence for her second home run of the game, putting the game out of reach. Prange would finish 3-for–3 with two home runs and three RBIs on the night.
Next up for Alabama will be a quarterfinal matchup against No. 4 seed Arkansas, the defending SEC Tournament champions, and this year’s host team. Due to the extended weather delay Wednesday, Alabama’s quarterfinal game will be pushed back to 7 p.m. Thursday night and will be the final game of the day if the weather holds off.
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