Alabama Shuts Out Clemson Again and Advances to Super Regionals
Alabama advances to the NCAA Super Regionals after defeating Clemson 5-0. The sold out crowd at Rhoads Stadium was loud during every play. Taylor Clark’s big three-run home run in the second inning gave the Crimson Tide a four-run cushion.
“Again, Montana was terrific,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “And then Taylor Clark comes through again with a big home run.”
Alabama came out of the gate scoring quickly. As the visiting team placed one run on the board in the top first inning.
Starting pitcher Montana Fouts retired the side and recorded her first strikeout of the day in 12 pitches.
The Crimson Tide kept its scoring streak alive in the second when Clark came through with what according to Murphy was, “probably the hardest hit ball she’s hit in her career.”
With runners on second and third, Clark sent a ball straight into center field for her second home run of the season. Her first came against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament.
“Especially [with a runner] at third base [I want to] get a sac fly,” Clark said. “Something in the air and down in the infield… I don’t try to make it too complicated, I just really focus on breathing.”
Her three-run home run gave Alabama a 4-0 lead over Clemson.
In the fourth inning the Crimson Tide pushed its lead to 5-0, which would be the final score of the game.
“We always say if the other team doesn’t score you’re never going to lose,” Murphy said.
The offense put up runs while Fouts shutout Clemson for the second game in a row, although not without a battle.
The Clemson hitters were seeing more of her pitches, fouling them off, and forcing her to throw longer at bats.
“[Pitching coach Stephanie VanBrakle Prothro] says all the time, you’ve got to find a way to win with your C game,” Murphy said. “You’re not going to have your A game every day. And today she didn’t.”
Despite not being on her “A game,” Fouts threw 12 strikeouts, 111 pitches and gave up two walks.
This weekend, the Alabama pitching staff broke a record that was previously held by the 2007 pitching staff.
In 2007, the pitchers had a combined total of 36 strikeouts in five games in the NCAA Regional.
In the 2021 NCAA Regional Lexi Kilfoyl, Krystal Goodman and Montana Fouts pitched a total of 44 strikeouts during regional play in less than three games to set a new record.
With Alabama’s third shutout of the weekend the team will host Kentucky in the NCAA Super Regionals.
Alabama has faced Kentucky four times so far this season and both teams are tied, winning two games a piece.