Bloodworth’s solo home run leads softball to thrilling victory Friday night

Blake Byler, Staff Reporter

No 2. Alabama (17-0) got all it could handle from Texas (10-8), but was able to escape with a 5-4 victory Friday night.

“They’re a good team, we knew that they’d give us a really good game,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “It was just a good college softball game.”

The win came in the first of four games Alabama will play in the T-Mobile Crimson Classic, a multiteam event featuring Alabama, Texas and Miami (Ohio).

Senior Montana Fouts got the start in the circle and is now 7-0. Fouts was not as formidable in the circle, as she gave up eight hits, two being home runs. The senior struck out nine batters.

“I saw a whole lot of grit,” senior catcher Ally Shipman said of Fouts. “That’s nothing new with Montana. We know that’s in her and she works so hard on the field and off the field. It’s no surprise to see her step up in these moments, because she’s earned it.”

The first inning started exactly the way the Crimson Tide wanted. Alabama scored two runs from a Shipman single that brought in freshman Dallis Goodnight and senior Ashley Prange, who followed on a throwing error to second.

Senior Kaylee Tow brought in Shipman singling up the middle, giving the Crimson Tide an early 3-0 advantage over the Longhorns as the “Horns Down” hand signal rose throughout the crowd at Rhoads Stadium.

Texas responded immediately, as Alyssa Washington crushed a two-run home run into left field, cutting its deficit to just 3-2. Fouts composed herself, though, and got out of the inning with a strikeout.

After another Shipman RBI extended Alabama’s lead in the third, Texas responded in the fourth the exact same way it did earlier in the game: a two-run home run, which tied the game at four runs apiece.

Shipman, a transfer from Tennessee, has been an integral piece in Alabama’s successes this season. She leads the team by far with 23 RBIs and has added three home runs with it so far this season.

“Half the games, when we score, she gets the first RBI,” Murphy said. “That’s the type of kid you want.”

After a scoreless fifth inning, Rhoads was building anticipation. A double play followed by a strikeout from Fouts ignited the sellout crowd, and a solo home run into left field from freshman Megan Bloodworth sent it into a frenzy. The Crimson Tide took a 5-4 lead, and Alabama closed the game out at the top of the seventh with the aid of two strikeouts by Fouts.

“The environment was great, I wish I could thank every fan individually,” Murphy said. “It’s the best atmosphere in college softball.”

The home run was Bloodworth’s first in front of a home crowd and fifth of the season. She now holds the team lead by herself.

“I was just thinking, let her throw me a pitch, let me hit what I can hit,” Bloodworth said. “My favorite part was when I rounded third and everyone was going crazy, it was awesome.”

Alabama will continue the Crimson Classic in Rhoads Stadium on Saturday with a doubleheader. The Crimson Tide have a rematch with Texas and their first matchup with Miami (Ohio) shortly after. Day two of the Crimson Classic will broadcast on SEC Network+.