TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama softball shut out top-seeded Florida, 4-0, Saturday night to win the 2021 SEC Softball Tournament Championship at Rhoads Stadium.
The tournament title is the sixth in program history, its first since 2012. Alabama remains the only program to win an SEC Tournament on its home field, doing so in 2021 and 2012. The win was the Crimson Tide's 44th SEC Tournament victory, tying LSU for the most of any team.
Alabama (45-7) shut out Florida (42-9) behind another masterful performance from Montana Fouts (22-3), who went the distance with 11 strikeouts. The complete-game shutout is the first since Tennessee's Monica Abbott in 2006. Fouts was named the SEC Tournament MVP, striking out a tournament-record 39 batters over her three appearances.
In addition to Fouts, Bailey Hemphill, Alexis Mack and Taylor Clark earned SEC All-Tournament accolades.
As the lower seed batting in the top of the first inning, Alabama took a three-run lead thanks to a clutch squeeze bunt from Jenna Johnson and some heads-up baserunning on a fielding error plated two more runs. An RBI single from Clark in the top of the sixth drove home the fourth and final run, with Fouts and the Tide defense holding the potent Gator offense to just three hits, all singles.
Alabama now awaits is postseason draw with the NCAA Tournament selection show Sunday, May 16 at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
FROM HEAD COACH PATRICK MURPHY
"The SEC was tough this year. I think everyone will realize just how great the SEC and the level of talent is when the All-American list gets released in a few weeks. There are so many great athletes throughout the SEC and in softball, specifically. I think softball, if not number one, is the second-best sport in the SEC.
"The championship tradition and coaches here at Alabama are a great fraternity to be in. I heard from so many other coaches last night wishing us good luck. It is a difficult job and we wanted to do the same thing and add to the success of our other sports. That's why I love being a spring sport, it gives me an opportunity to learn from the fall and winter coaches. This team had grit and resiliency and it's been a fun group to coach."
FROM TOURNAMENT MVP MONTANA FOUTS
"Winning the tournament at home means everything after all the adversity we've faced and the injuries we've overcome this year. To us, this win signifies that anything is possible and that we can accomplish anything. It feels great to be a part of this university and for our team to contribute our own SEC championship, but we aren't done yet and we have bigger dreams."
- Alabama is now 44-26 at SEC Tournament, tying LSU for the most tournament wins.
- The title is its sixth, previously winning in 2012, 2010, 2005, 2003 and 1998.
- Alabama remains the only team to win an SEC Tournament on its home field, doing so in 2012 and 2021.
- Montana Fouts' 39 strikeouts this week is a new SEC Tournament record, breaking the old mark of 37 set by LSU's Brittni Sneed in 2002.
- The complete-game shutout by Fouts is the first at the SEC Tournament since Tennessee's Monica Abbott.
- The Tide improves its win streak to 13 games, 12 of which have come over ranked foes.
- Hemphill has now reached base safely in 15 straight games, while Alexis Mack extended her hitting streak to nine games
T1 | Jenna Johnson laid down a squeeze bunt as Alexis Mack scored from third (1-0, 1 Out) T1 | A Florida throwing error allowed two runs score (3-0, Alabama)
T6 | Taylor Clark hit an RBI single into left field, scoring KB Sides from third (4-0, Alabama)
NCAA REGIONALS Thursday, May 20-Sunday, May 23