Injuries and errors mount as No. 3 Alabama softball loses series to No. 4 Florida

Brett Greenberg
The Tuscaloosa News

No. 3 Alabama softball dropped two of three games against No. 4 Florida to bring its SEC series record to 4-2.

Despite another complete game by Montana Fouts on Friday, a Gators single in the second inning resulted in a 2-0 loss. On Saturday, errors plagued the Crimson Tide in a 9-2 loss. On Sunday, Alabama used timely hitting to win 4-2. 

Here are three things we learned:

Injury bug hitting the Crimson Tide

Alabama (33-7, 12-6 SEC) saw two outfielders (KB Sides and Jenna Johnson) fall to injury just two weeks into the season. Freshman Bailey Dowling tore her ACL in the Tennessee series. 

On Friday, fifth-year infielder Claire Jenkins was forced out of the game in the fourth inning after injuring her right knee. Jenkins missedthe 2020 season after tearing her ACL in her right knee in 2019. 

"The injury took the wind out of us because we love Claire," said Murphy. "She's obviously the infield captain and at everything else in her life, so that was tough."

Sophomore pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl also was not seen in the series.

Errors need to be fixed

Savannah Woodard, Taylor Clark and Maddie Morgan each committed an error over the final two innings Friday, resulting in a five-run sixth and one-run seventh. Clark entered for the injured Jenkins and Woodard has started at second base since the Dowling injury

Alabama pitching coach Stephanie VanBrakle Prothro protests the home plate umpires apparently tiny strike zone. The Crimson Tide was shut out by the Gators 2-0 in the series opener Friday, April 16, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

The Crimson Tide ranks 114th in the country in fielding percentage (.962) and has committed 42 errors on the season. 

Florida (32-6, 12-3) committed three errors Sunday, matching their total errors this season. The three errors resulted in two Crimson Tide runs. 

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Starting pitcher Montana Fouts delivers a pitch to the plat against Tennessee. The Crimson Tide opened a weekend SEC softball series with Tennessee Friday, March 19, 2021, at Rhoads Stadium. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Fouts forceful Friday and in finale 

Fouts (14-3, 1.67 ERA) reached at least 10 strikeouts for the ninth time Friday, when she struck out 11. The conference's No. 2 strikeout leader allowed six hits in the loss.  

In the finale Sunday, Fouts struck out the final four hitters to reach 10 strikeouts and her fifth straight appearance with 10-plus strikeouts. Fouts finished the weekend allowing two runs on 10 hits with 21 strikeouts and eight walks in 14 innings.

"Montana pitched out of some tough situations all weekend," said Murphy. "She got the job done when we needed her."

What's next

Alabama hosts Southern Miss on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT. The Crimson Tide will continue its seven-game homestand against No. 17 Louisiana on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CT.