After relentless rain all this week it was a clear and perfect day in Tuscaloosa on Friday.
There was, however, a major storm inside Rhoads Stadium.
Namely, Autumn Storms.
The Arkansas pitcher flummoxed Alabama hitters, all except KB Sides, as the Razorbacks took a 1-0 win in the SEC softball opener.
Sides went 3-for-3 to tie her season high (last week) and had all but two of Alabama’s five hits.
“She gets on base three times with one out and you got your best hitter behind her, so we need to do better at continuing the inning,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “We just needed more besides her.”
Alabama stranded five runners and couldn’t get the timely hit to get the momentum. That had to do with Storms, who walked just two batters to go with her five hits allowed.
“She did a good job,” Murphy said of Storms. “She keeps the ball knee cap or lower. It’s very difficult to lift (pitches).”
Montana Fouts allowed eight hits with five strikeouts and walked five. The defense came through for six innings, but Fouts walked the leadoff batter, who advanced on a passed ball and scored on a hit from Danielle Gibson.
“Too many freebies,” Murphy said of the walks and passed ball, as well as an error.
Jenna Johnson did make two highlight catches in center field, including one in the seventh. It wasn’t enough to prevent Arkansas from breaking through against Fouts, however.
“Jenna made two SportsCenter catches that saved probably six runs at least,” Murphy said. “When she plays like that, I mean, you think, ‘oh my gosh, maybe this is going to happen, maybe we are going to score a run.’ But we just needed one more hit and one inning and we score.
No. Alabama (12-8, 0-1 SEC) takes on Arkansas (17-4, 1-0) for Game 2 of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Reach Edwin Stanton at 205-0226 or at email@example.com or via Twitter, @edwinstantonu2