Fouts pitches another perfect game over the weekend, softball wins series against Ole Miss


Pitcher Montana Fouts mid-throw during series against Ole Miss. Courtesy of UA Athletics.

Dean Harrell, Contributing Writer

Over the weekend, the No. 14 Alabama softball concluded its regular season with a series win in Oxford, Mississippi, against the University of Mississippi. Two stellar performances in the circle from senior Montana Fouts, one being a perfect game, and strong hitting helped the Crimson Tide secure the series win.   

Game one 

To begin the weekend road trip to Oxford, the Crimson Tide started just like they wanted to against Ole Miss. With a perfect game performance from Montana Fouts, Alabama cruised to a 9-0 victory to start the series. 

“That was old-fashioned Alabama softball,” said head coach Patrick Murphy. “The starting pitcher had a great game, the defense was terrific, and we had 11 hits and kept innings alive.” 

Things got off to a quick start for Alabama, as the first two batters reached base to bring up freshman Kenleigh Cahalan. Cahalan proceeded to rocket a line drive back to the pitcher that was caught, but a throwing error into the outfield trying to double up senior Jenna Johnson at second base caused her to come all the way home for the first run of the game. 

From the first run came plenty more after that. After scoring two runs in the first inning, the bats remained hot in the third as RBI singles from junior Emma Broadfoot, Johnson and graduate Ashley Prange extended the lead to 5-0. 

However, after an early scoring surge in the first and second inning, there was a scoring drought until the sixth inning. With the game already out of reach, it seemed as if the Crimson Tide wanted to get the game over with and secure Fouts’ perfect game, and they did just that. 

Junior Bailey Dowling got the inning going after a two-RBI single into left field, bringing home junior M’Kay Gidley and sophomore Kali Heivilin. Not stopping there, freshman Larissa Preuitt continued the inning with a double to right field to bring home two more and extend the lead to 9-0. 

Despite the scoring proficiency of Alabama, the offense was not the main headline of the game.  Fouts put on a show once again, tallying the fourth perfect game of her career and her second of the season. Striking out six batters and giving the Rebels problems all day long, Fouts continues to show her dominance as the postseason approaches. 

“It was really easy to trust my defense,” Fouts said. “Ole Miss was putting the ball in play but we were making great plays out there. We put the runs on the board, which is always great as a pitcher. Putting up five runs in the first two innings was a big deal.” 

Game two 

For the second game of the series, the competition rose to the next level. However, once again, the Crimson Tide prevailed and won the game 3-1. 

The matchup became a pitcher’s duel very early on as both teams went scoreless through the first three innings. However, in the fourth inning, Ole Miss broke the scoreless tie after sophomore Lexie Brady grounded a ball up the middle to bring home the first run of the game. 

While the Rebels got out to a small lead, the Crimson Tide struggled to come up with an answer. It took until the seventh and final inning for Alabama to retaliate. 

With one last inning left to win the game, Murphy’s squad knew it would take some work. Broadfoot got the inning started with a single and Heivilin followed her with a single of her own. With two outs and two runners on base, Johnson was Alabama’s last hope. 

Johnson did her job as needed and proceeded to drill a towering three-run home run to left field to take a 3-1 lead. While the Rebels had a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the seventh, Fouts did what she does best and closed the game out, causing Ole Miss to go three up, three down to seal the victory. 

Game three 

For the final game of the regular season, the Crimson Tide sought to end the series with a victory and complete the sweep on the road. However, the Rebels had different plans in mind and ended their regular season with a final victory at home.  

Much like game two, it was a competitive battle all game long. After a scoreless first inning, Alabama struck first on the board in the second. Broadfoot led off the inning with a double to right field and was then brought home by a single from Heivilin. However, Ole Miss responded in the bottom half of the inning with a solo home run by senior Savana Sikes to tie it up. 

After the big home run, the Crimson Tide needed a response to get the lead back again. Alabama did just that in the fourth inning as Broadfoot grounded a ball to second base, bringing home Cahalan. Immediately following Broadfoot was Heivilin, who delivered a solo home run of her own to take a 3-1 lead.  

However, the scoring output in the midway point of the game was not done there. The Crimson Tide tacked on one more run in the fifth inning as Larissa Preuitt picked up an RBI single to make it a 4-1 game. 

In SEC softball, no lead is safe. That statement remained true in this matchup as the somewhat comfortable three-run Alabama lead was not enough to finish the game. 

The bottom of the seventh inning was a nightmare for the Crimson Tide as two back-to-back solo homers by Ole Miss made it a one-run game with nobody out. Alabama got one step closer to a narrow victory after a routine ground ball out, only needing two more to conclude the game. However, Ole Miss freshman Jalia Lassiter followed the groundout with a single to keep the inning alive. Following her, senior Paige Smith delivered a huge single up the middle to bring home Lassiter and tied the game up at four. 

With only one out and a runner on first base, Alabama had lost all of its previous momentum by the end of the game. Right after the RBI single to tie the game, senior Mya Stevenson drilled a big double into left field to bring home the winning run and to finish the walk-off win for the Rebels. 

After a rather disappointing loss to end the regular season, the Crimson Tide will look ahead to the conference tournament, starting on May 10 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Tournament schedule is still to be determined.