Softball drops game one to No. 23 Missouri in extra innings Friday night


CW / Morgan Gray

Alabama starting pitcher Montana Fouts (14) throws a pitch in the Crimson Tide’s 3-2 loss to the No. 23 Missouri Tigers on May 6 at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Blake Byler, Assistant Sports Editor

The slump for the Alabama Crimson Tide continues.

Sliding eighth-ranked Alabama (39-10, 14-8 SEC) fell to red-hot No. 23 Missouri (33-17, 12-9 SEC) by a final score of 3-2 in eight innings on Friday night at Rhoads Stadium. The Crimson Tide has now lost four of five games, while the Tigers have won eight in a row.

“We just couldn’t continue innings,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “We just have to have another person get on base. That’s been the story all year long too. It’s very frustrating.”

Star pitcher Montana Fouts (21-4) started in the circle for the Crimson Tide and delivered a magnificent performance. The senior racked up 14 strikeouts over 33 batters faced.

Fouts began the game locked in, striking out three batters in the first inning. Missouri stole the early game momentum, though, as the Tigers’ Kimberly Wert drilled a two-run home run into center field, giving Missouri a 2-0 lead to open the game.

The home run was almost an out. Junior Savannah Woodard had a shot at robbing Wert of the home run at the wall, but dropped the ball as it bounced over the wall.

The Crimson Tide wasted no time answering the Tigers’ score. Senior third baseman and lead-off batter Ashley Prange squared up and took her third pitch the distance for a solo home run, bringing Alabama back within one score.  The home run was Prange’s seventh on the season, two back of the team lead.

Following the first inning mishap that led to the home run, the Alabama defense tightened up, keeping Missouri off the board for the following six innings. The defense made some impressive plays, including a 6-4-3 double play in the second inning. And in the third, catcher Ally Shipman fired a ball to infielder Bailey Dowling at second to catch a runner stealing.

Needing its offense to heat up, Dowling stepped up with two outs and knocked a home run of her own into left field to tie the game at two runs apiece. The home run was Dowling’s team-leading ninth of the season. At that moment in the game, Alabama had only two hits in the game – both of which were home runs.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Crimson Tide got its first non-home run hit with a double from junior Abby Doerr. Sophomore Kat Grill was inserted to pinch run in scoring position, but Alabama was unable to add another hit or capitalize on her position, leaving the game knotted at two after five.

Both teams held each other scoreless from that point until the first extra inning, where Fouts walked in a Missouri baserunner from third to give the Tigers a one-run edge. Missouri could not add any more with the bases loaded, as left fielder Jenna Johnson ran under a fly ball and made a great catch at the wall to secure the third out.

The Tigers then took care of Alabama’s lineup in the bottom of the eighth, securing the win.

Alabama will get another shot at Missouri on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch set for 12:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.

When asked what adjustments Murphy wanted his team to make, he was firm and to the point.

“Hit the ball more. It’s easier said than done.”