Woodard steals home to walk off against Mississippi State in game one

Blake Byler, Staff Reporter

No. 2 Alabama (34-6, 11-5 SEC) secured a hard fought 2-1 win in game one of a weekend series against Mississippi State (26-15, 7-6 SEC)  after a walk-off steal of home plate.

Two of the Crimson Tide’s four hits came in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“I think we’re really resilient,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “I think we have a knack for ‘they-score-we-score,’ and thank God.”

Senior pitcher Montana Fouts (17-3) was masterful starting in the circle, striking out 11 of her 26 batters faced. Despite the impressive stat line, Fouts said she could have improved on her performance.

“I definitely think I have a lot of stuff to work on,” Fouts said. “I’ve got to get the ball moving a little bit. I know that they’re a good hitting team, and I just trusted my defense and they had my back.”

It was clear from the beginning that this game was going to be a defensive battle and a pitcher’s duel.

Through the first two innings, both teams had a double play, but hits for either team were hard to come by. Entering the third inning, Alabama had only one runner get on base and no hits after freshman Dallis Goodnight reached first on an error.

Mississippi State’s defense continued to hold the Crimson Tide’s attack. Fielders were continually in the right position to make a play on the ball.

At the end of four innings, both pitchers had only thrown a combined 104 pitches and had a combined two hits, neither of which resulted in a score.

“[Their pitcher] was terrific, and they were terrific,” Murphy said. “We couldn’t get anything going the first five innings. Credit to her, they made the plays.”

The Bulldogs opened the sixth inning with their second hit of the game and immediately followed it with a sac bunt to move pinch runner Phoebe Florian into scoring position. An ensuing walk and single loaded the bases for Mississippi State for the first time all game. 

With a sac fly into right field, the Bulldogs scored their first run of the game.

With Alabama on the ropes, Fouts recorded her ninth strikeout of the game against the next batter, injecting some energy into the relatively quiet crowd at Rhoads Stadium.

The Crimson Tide needed an answer, and Megan Bloodworth provided that answer in the bottom of the sixth. The freshman tanked a pitch over the left field wall for a solo home run, evening the score at one run apiece.

“I don’t think I feel any pressure, it’s just do what I’ve been doing,” Bloodworth said. “She threw the changeup, and I just hit it.”

The home run was Bloodworth’s sixth of the year. She now sits alone at second place on the team in home runs.

With the game tied entering the seventh inning, Fouts showed up big, striking out two of three batters in a 1-2-3 inning for the Bulldogs. Once Alabama got a chance to bat, pinch runner Savannah Woodard stole home on a wild pitch, securing the victory.

Game two of the series will be back in Rhoads Stadium on Friday night, with first pitch slated for 6 p.m. CT.