Montana Fouts strikes out 15 to lead Alabama softball to SEC Tournament semifinal showdown with Tennessee
TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — No. 3 Alabama softball advanced to the semifinal round of the SEC tournament on Thursday night behind career nights from SEC Player of the Year Bailey Hemphill and SEC co-Pitcher of the Year Montana Fouts.
The Crimson Tide returned the favor on its regular-season series loss to the Kentucky Wildcats with a 5-1 victory at Rhoads Stadium.
Schedules and scores from the week: 2021 SEC Softball Tournament seeds and bracket announced
Here are three things we learned:
Hemphill in history books
Hemphill hit two home runs, which put her tied for first place in career home runs in program history with Kelly Kretschman at 60. She now has 10 on the season.
The two long bombs tie her with 20 other players for most home runs in an SEC Tournament.
Crimson Tide on a roll: Alabama softball has home-field advantage and momentum at SEC Tournament
Fouts, who is from Grayson, Kentucky, finished with 15 strikeouts. That is four more than what she totaled against the Kentucky Wildcats in her two appearance during the regular season.
The 15 strikeouts tied former Alabama pitcher Alexis Osorio for the SEC record for number of strikeouts in a single SEC Tournament game. Osorio did it in 2017 when she struck out 15 Texas A&M Aggies in 10 innings.
The SEC co-Pitcher of the Year had strikeouts in eight of her first nine outs. She also struck out four straight Wildcats at one point.
This was Fout’s 15th appearance with 10-plus strikeouts and ninth against an SEC opponent.
Wildcats still got tournament
The No. 17 ranked Kentucky Wildcats are ranked in the top 20 for RPI and went 13-11 during conference play.
Coach Rachel Lawson will be bringing the Wildcats to their 12th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in her 13th season as head coach. The field will be announced Sunday.
No. 3 Alabama softball will face Tennessee in the semifinals Friday at Rhoads Stadium. The first pitch will be roughly 35 minutes after the first semifinal matchup between the No. 4 Florida Gators and No. 15 Missouri Tigers, which is set for 3 p.m. CT.