Alabama vs. UCLA Pitching Preview
There’s only been four games so far in the Women’s College World Series. But, the teams and especially their pitchers have already shown why they deserve to be in Oklahoma City.
Tonight, in game six, Alabama and UCLA will face off in the hopes of continuing play in the winner’s bracket.
The matchup will take place at 8:30 p.m. CT in Oklahoma City and on ESPN2.
The lineups have not been released yet, so below is a short preview of each team’s starting pitcher possibilities.
The Crimson Tide has an advantage when it comes to pitching depth. Its rotating starters Montana Fouts and Lexi Kilfoyl have taken care of business in the circle all season. And tonight they have something to prove against UCLA.
The pair faced the Bruins in 2020 at the St. Pete/Clear Water Elite Invitational. Fouts took her first start of the season in the circle pitching just one inning. She gave up four runs before Kilfoyl came in to relieve her. Combined they struck out three batters, walked nine and gave up seven runs.
Montana Fouts: Fouts (26-3) most recently opened play for the Crimson Tide in the WCWS. She tied her career high of 16 strikeouts against the Arizona Wildcats and helped her team advance in the winner’s bracket.
She earned the title of SEC Co-Pitcher of the Year and has continued to show her dominance in the circle.
Some of her accomplishments this season include:
- Double-digit strikeouts in 21 games so far setting a new Alabama single-season record
- Most strikeouts recorded in SEC Softball Tournament history (39) and single-game record (15) against Kentucky
- Broke 300 strikeouts (330) and became the eighth Alabama pitcher to do so
- First Team NFCA All-American
Lexi Kilfoyl: Kilfoyl (13-3) finished off Kentucky in game two of the Tuscaloosa Super Regionals on May 29. She threw all seven innings, which she hadn’t done for two months due to injury.
With her ability to move the ball in the zone, she brings a different look to the circle than her counterpart Fouts.
The sophomore’s accomplishments this season:
- Recorded the first no-hitter against North Carolina in February, the first since Alexis Osario’s in 2018
- Received the first SEC Newcomer of the Week Award
- Placed on the All-SEC Newcomer Team
The UCLA Bruins traveled to Oklahoma City without one of their key pitchers, Megan Faraimo, who stayed in Los Angeles due to an injured right hand, according to a statement from the team. Without Faraimo the Bruins will most likely rely on either Rachel Garcia or Holly Azevedo to start in the circle.
Faraimo was the starting pitcher against the Crimson Tide the last time the Bruins faced Alabama in 2020. Faraimo threw a shut out and held Alabama to just two hits.
Garcia was playing with Team USA so she was not an option for head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez.
Rachel Garcia: Garcia (18-1) threw a shutout against Florida State last night in game four of the WCWS. She struck out 11 Seminoles and allowed five hits. The redshirt senior pitched her way into the winner’s bracket.
Garcia, who was named to the United States Softball Olympic Team in 2019, spent 2020 with Team USA and did not play with UCLA. The Olympian returned to the Bruins this year for her final collegiate season.
Some of her accomplishments:
- 3x USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year (2018, 2019, 2020*)
- Pac-12 Player of the Year (2018, 2019, 2021)
- USA Softball National Team World Championship roster (2018)
- USA Softball Women's National Team (2019)
- USA Softball Olympic Team (2020)
- First Team NFCA All-American (2021)
Holly Azevedo: Azevedo (8-1) most recently threw one inning in UCLA’s opening game against Virginia Tech in the Los Angeles Super Regional. She gave up one run, one hit and struck out three batters.
The redshirt junior is a likely option to pitch in game six of the WCWS due to Faraimo being out and Garcia pitching seven innings yesterday.
She has a 1.83 ERA and has given up 19 walks in the 61.1 innings that she’s pitched this season.
Some of her accomplishments:
- Named to the USA Softball Junior Women's National Team (2017)
- NFCA All-Region Second Team (2018)
- Pac-12 All-Freshman Team (2018)
LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history