FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - No. 5 seed Alabama defeated No. 13 seed Missouri, 7-2, in an action-packed first-round showdown to advance in the SEC Tournament. The Tide took over early with a four-run lead in the second inning then stayed consistent at the plate and leaned on Montana Fouts on the mound to earn the win.
Ashley Prange went yard twice, including a solo shot in the first and a two-run homer in the fifth. She racked up three RBI and two runs scored while going 3-for-3. "I knew I wanted to look for a hard pitch early," Prange said about her first at bat. "She came back inside and so I took advantage."
Fouts continued to live up to her legacy in the circle, striking out 10 Tigers while allowing eight hits and one walk in her complete-game effort. "They're a great hitting team so I knew I couldn't get ahead of myself in that way," Fouts said about her approach to the Mizzou lineup. "Just kind of taking it one pitch at a time instead of really focusing on inning by inning."
"I feel like I want to give everything to them," Fouts added, regarding her teammates. "They play great defense and they score the runs and I just want to do everything I can possible to put us in the best situation."
Meanwhile, Bailey Dowling also contributed at the plate, consistently putting herself in scoring position, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored, as the Tide combine for nine hits. "It's something we've been working on," Prange said about passing the bat. "It's something we want to take a lot of pride in and so I thought we did a really good job of that tonight."
The Tigers put up a fight but couldn't get a rally going as the Bama defense continued to shut them down. The Tide took advantage of Mizzou's two errors, never letting up offensively. Starting pitcher Jordan Weber endured the loss, allowing four hits and four runs after facing nine batters.
How It Happened
B1 | With two outs and a 2-2 count, Prange set the tone, taking Weber deep with a dead-center solo shot to score the first run of the game in flashy fashion. Ally Shipman just barely missed a homer of her own as center fielder Alex Honnold's home run-robbing grab halted the Tide's chances at back-to-back dingers. Alabama 1, Missouri 0
B2 | Kenleigh Cahalan and Dowling notched back-to-back singles to start the inning then advanced to second and third with Emma Broadfoot's sac bunt. Kali Heivilin's RBI-single to left field scored Cahalan and put runners on the corners. Things got sticky when Kristen White laid down a bunt toward the mound, putting pressure on Weber who fumbled the ball as Dowling crossed the plate. Laurin Krings took over in the circle to close out the inning, but not before Jenna Johnson's sac fly to right field brought in another run for the Tide. Alabama 4, Missouri 0
T3 | The Tigers received the wake-up call loud and clear as Jenna Laird riled things up with a double down the left field line. Honnold followed suit with a single up the middle to bring her home before Alabama could wrap up the inning. Alabama 4, Missouri 1
B4 | Dowling led off the fourth frame with a double through the left side and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Missouri managed to turn away the next two batters, but another wild pitch allowed Dowling to score before Krings logged her third strikeout of the game. Alabama 5, Missouri 1
T5 | Maddie Snider blistered a line drive missile down the left field line, but Alabama shortstop Cahalan stepped up on the next play, charging in to snag a dying line drive and double up Snider at first. The Tigers didn't back down, however, as Honnold worked a full count for a walk and stole second. Kara Daly continued Mizzou's momentum with an RBI-single before the Tide shut down their comeback attempt once again. Alabama 5, Missouri 2
B5 | Alabama remained unfazed as Larissa Preuitt found her way on base with a single toward second. Prange stayed hungry, crushing a two-run shot, her second homer of the game, past left center field. The Tigers put Cierra Harrison on the mound in an attempt to turn the Tide, closing out the inning despite some hot shots off the bat. Alabama 7, Missouri 2
The Crimson Tide allowed only two more hits throughout the remainder of the game, securing the 7-2 victory and eliminating the Tigers from the tournament.
Alabama (39-17, 14-10 SEC) will face No. 4 seed Arkansas (38-16, 14-10 SEC) on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. CT in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
Missouri (39-17, 14-10 SEC) awaits the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday night. The bracket for the NCAA Tournament will be released at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2.