After a couple of hours of sleep and a change of clothes, Alabama was back at Rhodes to face Stanford in a game starting at 10am local.
Nobody was shocked that Patrick Murphy’s Gut® would put Jenna Johnson back at the leadoff spot, as well as starting Savannah Woodard, and Dallis Goodnight in the outfield. But something must have happened overnight. Murphy is starting to manage smart again.
GAME 6: ALABAMA 4, STANFORD 0
But of course, Montana Fouts was back in the circle after closing down Chattanooga a few hours prior. Stanford had the luxury of resting Alana Vawter and going with a second ace in Regan Krause.
Bama got a one-out single from Ashley Prange in the first inning and a leadoff single from Bailey Dowling in the second but could do nothing with it.
You won’t be able to see it in the box score, but the fourth inning was an ugly one. With one out, Dowling walked. This viewer was waiting for the pinch-runner to come out but The Gut® must have gone out for popcorn. Jenna Lord followed with a sharp single to right that had no chance of being caught. For some reason (Habetz?), Dowling hesitated and it almost looked like she might get to second base late, but there was no throw. One of Alabama’s speedy pinch-runners probably could have made it to third. After Dowling reached second, then The Gut® returned from the concession stand and put in a pinch-runner. Unfortunately, slumping Kaylee Tow was up next and looked bad in a swinging strikeout. Megan Bloodworth flied out and the potential rally was over.
The bottom of the fourth got a little wacky. Stanford leadoff hitter Kaitlyn Lim hit a trickler right back to Fouts but the Tide pitcher got tangled up and booted the ball. After an out, Lim got a great jump and stole second despite a strong throw from Shipman. The next batter hit a ground ball to shortstop. Perhaps feeling a little cocky about her steal, Lim tried to cheat over so she could make a break for third after Dowling would throw to first. However, Dowling threw to second. Bloodworth made a high tag and the umpire called “out”. The play went to replay and was overturned, though these unbiased eyes did not see “clear and convincing evidence” to overturn. After a strikeout, the bases were then loaded when Dowling fumbled a ground ball. Lim must have had a swelled head because she tried to steal home on a delay. When Shipman returned a pitched ball back to Fouts, the Tide pitcher alertly underhanded the ball back home to nail the Cardinal runner at the plate. This one was also reviewed but it was not necessary. She was dead meat and the inning and threat were over.
Momentum like that will fire a team up. Right? RIGHT? ... Bama went down in order before Fouts had a chance to catch her breathe.
In the bottom of the sixth of a scoreless game, Stanford’s coach Jessica Allister must have started game-planning for Tennessee. To that point, Cardinal starter Krause had been hurling a three hit shutout against the Tide. For some reason, Allister pulled her in favor of Vawter - who she might just need later in the day. After a ground out, Shipman singled and Dowling walked. Lord followed up with a crazy spinning grounder that eluded the Stanford first baseman and sent Shipman plateward for the first run of the game. Then - FINALLY - Tow came to the plate and laced a single to left that knocked in Dowling.
Not to be outdone, Murphy pinch-hit Jordan Heivilin for Bloodworth and she struck out. The Gut® made up for that one when KJ Haney pinch hit for Woodard and smoked a double down the third base line that knocked two more Tide runs in for a 4-0 lead.
Vawter’s line: 0.2 Innings pitched, four hits, four earned runs. That’ll kill an ERA.
Fouts (24-7) clamped down and got the final six outs for the win.
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- Isn’t it amazing what happens when you make in-game adjustments?
- Shipman hit into another double play. It’s her third in the last five games. Nothing to look into here. It’s more just dumb luck.
- Tow’s single was her first hit of the series. It was her first RBI since Game 1 of the Texas A&M series back on April 22. Yep. One month ago.
- Woodard made a nice diving catch on a bloop to right. And it’s a good thing she corralled it. Had she missed, that ball would’ve rolled to the corner.
- Goodnight had some nice plays in the outfield as well.
- Lord’s two hits were the first two from the designated hitters position of the lineup this weekend.
- Bama was again the away team and batted first in each inning.
- How much gas does Fouts have left in the tank?
- Who will Stanford go with?
- FOUTS - WIN, 7.0 innings, 5 hits, 0 ER, 5 K, 0 BB
- LORD - 2 for 2, 2B, RBI, RUN
- HANEY - 2 RBI pinch-hit double
UPCOMING ALABAMA SCHEDULE
Alabama and Stanford now have a one game do-or-die for the privileged of advancing to the Super Regional.
Friday, May 20:
- GAME 1: Alabama 3, Chattanooga 0
- GAME 2: Stanford 3, Murray State 1
Saturday, May 21:
- GAME 3: Stanford 6, Alabama 0
- GAME 4: Chattanooga 1 Murray State 0 (8 innings)
- GAME 5: Alabama 6 Chattanooga 2
Sunday, May 22
- GAME 6: Alabama 4, Stanford 0
- GAME 7: Alabama vs Stanford - 1:20pm CT. Winner moves on to the Super.