Recap | Softball clinches 16th Super Regional berth

Robert Cortez, Staff Reporter

No. 3 Alabama softball (48-7) earned a spot in the NCAA Super Regionals for the 16th consecutive year after beating Clemson (44-8) in the Tuscaloosa Regional final on Sunday, May 23. 

The 5-0 win was supported by junior Montana Fouts (24-3; 1.44 ERA) and an early offensive attack. The Crimson Tide extended its regional win streak to a national record of 43 games.  

“Congrats to all the teams that were here, and especially Clemson because it was a heck of a good regional,” Head Coach Patrick Murphy said. 

For the second game in a row, Fouts got the nod in the circle. Fouts registered another double-digit strikeout performance against Clemson, whose baserunners never reached third base.

Fouts’ ninth strikeout of the game was her 300th of the season.

In her two starts against Clemson, Fouts held Valerie Cagle to a 0-for-5 performance at the plate and struck her out three times. 

“[Cagle] had the most RBIs, home runs and the best batting average,” Murphy said. “So for Montana to do what she did against Cagle is a really good feat.” 

In Saturday’s postgame conference, Murphy said the Alabama offense’s goal is to score first — and to do it in the first inning if possible. The offense accomplished that goal in Sunday’s game when graduate student Alexis Mack led the game with a base hit and scored off a sacrifice fly from senior Kaylee Tow. 

Alabama tacked on insurance runs in the following inning with a three-run home run to center field from graduate student Taylor Clark. Murphy said Clark’s home run may have been the “hardest ball she’s hit” during her time in the program. 

“I was really just trying to put something in the air for [Savannah Woodard] to score,” Clark said. 

Both of Clark’s home runs this year happened in the postseason. She hit her first home run against No. 9 Tennessee in the SEC Tournament semifinal. Three of Clark’s four hits this postseason scored an Alabama run. 

The Pennsylvania native said her ability to come up with big hits in the postseason is from trusting the repetitions she takes during practice. 

“I just trust my preparation and want to help my team in any way I can,” Clark said. 

The Crimson Tide offense collected eight hits. Mack and graduate student Elissa Brown lead the way with a pair of hits each. Mack also had one of the team’s two stolen bases in the game.

The Alabama pitching staff combined for a program record of 44 strikeouts in regional play. The previous record of 36 was set in 2007 over the course of five regional games. This year’s pitching staff only needed three games to break the record. 

Alabama will host No. 14 Kentucky in the Super Regional round. The Crimson Tide and Wildcats have played each other four times this season and have a split record of 2-2. The date and time are TBA.