Softball shut out by Stanford, moves within one game of elimination

Blake Byler, Assistant Sports Editor

For the first time since 2007, Alabama softball has lost a game in regional play.

The No. 6 Crimson Tide (42-12) was shut out 6-0 Saturday afternoon by Stanford (38-19) in the winner’s bracket of the Tuscaloosa Regional. The loss broke a 44-game winning streak in regional play.

Senior Montana Fouts (23-7) started in the circle for Alabama, but left the game early after being hit by a throw. Fouts gave up seven hits and five runs while striking out just one batter.

The Crimson Tide’s recent offensive woes were on full display, as Alabama recorded just two hits the entire game, compared to 11 from the Cardinal.

Stanford wasted no time and brought the fight to Alabama early. A leadoff triple from Stanford’s Taylor Gindlesperger was followed immediately by an RBI via fielder’s choice allowing her to score, giving the Cardinal a 1-0 lead after just two batters.

Later in the first, Fouts loaded the bases after hitting a Stanford batter with a pitch. She then walked the next batter to bring in a run. A sac fly followed to bring in a third run, before a tag out at home and a put out at first got Alabama out of the inning.

Despite the fact that Stanford could have added more than three runs, the Cardinal crowd behind the Stanford dugout was alive and energized, while the home crowd continually expressed its displeasure with calls from the home plate umpire.

After the wild first inning, Fouts and the defense seemed to settle in. Stanford recorded only one hit over the next three innings, but the Cardinal led off the fifth with back-to-back hits. A few at-bats later, a single into right center field brought in a Cardinal runner. A fielder’s choice allowed another to score — extending the lead to 5-0.

In the sixth, catcher Ally Shipman accidentally hit Fouts with a throw in an attempt to catch a Stanford runner stealing second. Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy chose to replace Fouts with redshirt freshman Alex Salter after the incident. Alabama recorded its only hit after the first inning in the sixth, but once again came up empty and stranded its sole runner.

Before closing out the game, Stanford added one more run in the seventh as icing on the cake.

With the loss, Alabama moves to the elimination bracket of the regional. The Crimson Tide will face the winner of Murray State and Chattanooga once that game concludes. Another loss in the regional would eliminate Alabama from the NCAA Tournament, and end the season.