TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - No. 12 seed Northwestern took Friday's opening game of the Tuscaloosa Super Regional, defeating No. 5 seed Alabama 3-1.
With the loss Alabama (43-20) will need to win Saturday's game two to force a winner-take-all game three on Sunday, while one more win would send Northwestern (42-11) to the Women's College World Series. The Crimson Tide has dropped the opening game of a Super Regional series five times, rallying to win in three games in 2011 vs. Stanford and 2015 vs. Oklahoma, both in Tuscaloosa.
Northwestern scratched the first run of the game across in the top of the second on a solo home run from Angela Zedak. Alabama threatened in the bottom half, loading the bases with two out for the top of the order but a long fly ball ended the inning as the Wildcats got out of the jam holding the one-run lead. The Wildcats added another run in the third and fourth innings to lead 3-0 before the Crimson Tide scored in the bottom of the fourth on some heads-up baserunning from Jordan Stephens, who went all the way from first to home. The Wildcats stranded a combined four baserunners over the final three innings, unable to add to their lead, but the Tide wasn't able to threaten either as the 3-1 score ultimately proved final.
After suffering an injury in the SEC Tournament against Arkansas on May 11, Montana Fouts (23-10) made her return to the circle throwing 3.1 innings in the start while Jaala Torrence backed her up with 3.2 shutout innings in relief. For the second time in the last three games, Ashley Prange went 2-for-3 including a first-inning double, her 10th of the season.
From Head Coach Patrick Murphy
"The goal of the weekend is to win two games. They won the first one, so we have to win tomorrow to play on Sunday. Tomorrow is our focus. Today was a fact-finding mission. We have an idea of what they do now, so we'll go home, watch film and study and come out with a really great game plan for tomorrow night. The players just need to keep their poise. They've been playing this game since they were five years old."
- Alabama is now 24-14 in Super Regionals, including a 21-6 mark at home
- This is the sixth time the Crimson Tide has lost the opening game of the Super Regional round, with Alabama rallying to win the series in three games in 2011 vs. Stanford and 2015 vs. Oklahoma
- Ashley Prange's 2-for-3 day marked her 13th multi-hit game of the season, one shy of Bailey Dowling for the team lead
- Montana Fouts now has 314 strikeouts this season, 17 shy of seventh-place Kelsi Dunne, and 1,172 career strikeouts
- T2 | Angela Zedak got Northwestern on the board with a solo home run (0-1, 2 Out)
- T3 | An infield single with the bases loaded drove in a run for the Wildcats (0-2, 1 Out)
- T4 | Kelsey Nader drove in a run with an RBI single up the middle (0-3, 1 Out)
- B4 | Jordan Stephens caught the defense sleeping as she went from first to third before breaking for home (1-3, 2 Out)
Up Next: vs. #12 Northwestern (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
- Saturday, May 27 - 8 p.m. CT - ESPN