TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Forced into a winner-take-all game seven Sunday at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional, Alabama and Middle Tennessee fought in a scoreless pitcher's duel until fifth-year senior Ally Shipman blasted the go-ahead home run in the top of the seventh, the difference in the 1-0 win to send the Crimson Tide to next weekend's Super Regional round.
No. 5 seed Alabama (43-19) will host Super Regionals next weekend in Tuscaloosa, facing off against No. 12 seed Northwestern. Game dates and times are still to be determined. This marks the 18th time the Tide has advanced to the Super Regional round since the current postseason format was adopted in 2005 and will be the 13th time Alabama has served as a host, winning 11 of the previous 12 Super Regional rounds in Tuscaloosa.
Needing to win two games to advance out of the region, Middle Tennessee (42-20) took Sunday's first game against the Crimson Tide, 4-1, to force a deciding seventh game. The final game was a scoreless pitcher's duel until the top of the seventh, when Shipman led off the inning with a line-drive home run to left field. Jaala Torrence (9-2) and the Tide defense shut the door in the bottom half, allowing a two-out single before a groundout capped the complete-game shutout.
On the weekend, Torrence went 3-0 over 18.2 shutout innings, striking out 17 with just three walks. Shipman's home run Sunday was her second of the weekend, going 4-for-10 (.400) with three runs scored and four RBIs in Regional play.
From Head Coach Patrick Murphy
"First, congrats to MTSU on a hell of a Regional. They represented their school, their conference and all of their families tremendously well. They had their first Regional win and made their first Regional final and you couldn't have told me that once in that game. They were very good. Both of their pitchers were great. It was back and forth the whole way. I've said it before, the keys are good starting pitching, great team defense and you have to come up with the key hit and [Ally Shipman] did that for us in the second game. That's high-level softball at the end of the year and that's what you're going to get in the postseason."
- Alabama is now 68-12 all-time in NCAA Regional play
- The Crimson Tide has advanced to Super Regionals 18 times since current format was adopted in 2005, only missing last season and 2020 (no tournament)
- As the No. 5 seed, Alabama will host Super Regionals for the 13th time in program history, winning 11 of the previous 12 Super Regional rounds in Tuscaloosa
- Jaala Torrence threw her second complete-game shutout of the weekend, having only thrown 7.0 innings once in her career prior (March 22, 2022 vs. UAB)
- Torrence's eight strikeouts were a season high, her first game this season with more than five Ks
- Shipman had two hits in the second game of the day and Prange had two in the first, their 11th and 12th of the season, respectively
- Both of Prange's game one hits were doubles, her first game with two doubles since doing so on April 30, 2021 vs. Purdue while playing at Ohio State
Game One Scoring Summary
T1 | Middle Tennessee got on the board first with a two-out RBI single up the middle (0-1, 2 Out)
T3 | Laura Mealer extended the Blue Raiders' lead with a two-run home run (0-3, 0 Out)
B4 | Larissa Preuitt scored from third on a sac fly RBI from Ally Shipman (1-3, 1 Out)
T6 | Ansley Blevins dropped an RBI single into right field (1-4, 1 Out)
Game Two Scoring Summary
T7 | Ally Shipman led off the inning with a solo home run to left (1-0, 0 Out)
Up Next: NCAA Super Regionals vs. Northwestern (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Dates, Times and TV designations TBD