OKLAHOMA CITY - Alabama softball earned a convincing 5-1 win Thursday night over Arizona to stay in the winner's bracket at the Women's College World Series.
Alabama (51-7) took an early two-run lead over Arizona (39-14) with runs in the first and third innings, including a solo home run from Bailey Hemphill. Still leading by two in the bottom of the sixth, an RBI double from Maddie Morgan made it 3-0 before Abby Doerr stepped in as a pinch-hitter and slugged a two-run home run to left center to make it 5-0. The Wildcats' Jessie Harper erased the shutout with a two-out solo home run in the seventh but a strikeout ended the game in the next at-bat.
The Tide was led by a dominant performance by Montana Fouts (25-3) in the circle, tying her career high with 16 strikeouts in the complete-game victory. She faced the minimum until the solo home run in the seventh and struck out the side in four of the seven innings pitched. Hemphill scored two of the team's five runs and Morgan went 2-for-3 for her third multi-hit game of the season.
With the win, Alabama advances in the winners bracket and will play Friday at 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2. The Tide will play the winner of tonight's game between UCLA and Florida State.
- Alabama improves its record to 21-23 all-time at the Women's College World Series
- The Tide is now 7-14 all-time vs. Arizona, including a 3-1 record at the WCWS
- It is the fourth time Alabama has won its opening game at the WCWS, previously doing so in 2011, 2012 and 2014 and going on to win game two in each of those seasons
- The Tide improves its current win streak to 19 games, 17 of which have come over ranked foes
- Montana Fouts finished with a career-best 16 strikeouts, marking her 21st game with double-digit Ks, including her last eight straight and 15 against ranked teams
- Fouts has 330 strikeouts this season, one away from Kelsi Dunne in sixth place on the single-season rankings with her 331 from 2011
- Bailey Hemphill drew a walk to improve her career total to 224, now one behind second-place Arkansas' Devon Wallace in the SEC career rankings and two behind record-holder Amanda Lorenz from Florida
- B1 | On a single to left field, an error on the play allowed Bailey Hemphill to round third and score (1-0, 1 Out)
- B1 | Hemphill smashed a solo home run down the left field line (2-0, 1 Out)
- B6 | Maddie Morgan launched a double to the warning track, scoring Savannah Woodard from first (3-0, 2 Out)
- B6 | Abby Doerr went opposite field for a two-run pinch hit home run (5-0, 2 Out)
- T7 | Arizona's Jessie Harper hit a solo home run to erase the shutout (5-1, 2 Out)
UP NEXT - WOMEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES (OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA.)
Friday, June 4 vs. UCLA/Florida State Winner - 8:30 p.m. CT - ESPNU