Rhoads Stadium was buzzing at 7 p.m. as Montana Fouts took the mound. The All-American hadn't pitched since a hyperextended knee knocked her out of the SEC Tournament two weeks ago. Unfortunately, this buzz wouldn't quite last, as by the 4th inning Fouts had surrendered three runs and was replaced by budding star Jaala Torrence.

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Excellent pitching yet again from Torrence wasn't enough to help the Tide to victory, as a common problem reared it's head: lack of offense. The three runs Fouts gave up could have been overtaken, but cold bats led to Alabama going down 0-1 in the best of three series.

Alabama's sole run was essentially scored on an error, as the Tide batters were unable to knock one out of Rhoads. They came close a couple of times, but their inability to get over the hump cost them the game.

Alongside a struggling offense, Fouts also had her struggles coming back from injury with a knee brace. She clearly wasn't quite herself, making numerous uncharacteristic errors. Northwestern took advantage of this, and by the time Torrence came in for relief, the damage was done.

The big question going into Saturday's elimination game is what will coach Patrick Murphy decide to do with Fouts and Torrence. Does he choose to go with the hot hand, or the injury-hampered program legend?

The Crimson Tide and the Wildcats will face off again in a must-win game for Alabama tomorrow night at 8 p.m. CT.

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