Montana Fouts perfect game, a no-hitter and shutouts for Alabama softball at Crimson Classic

Maxwell Donaldson
The Tuscaloosa News

The Alabama softball pitching staff made statement after statement during the Crimson Classic this weekend at Rhoads Stadium extending its shutout streak to six games.

The highlight was Montana Fouts' perfect game on Sunday, when she had 12 strikeouts in the 8-0 win in six innings over Longwood. It came a day after Jaala Torrence had a five-inning no-hitter in a 10-0 win over Robert Morris.

The rest of the weekend had shutout wins by Lauren Esman (4-0 over Robert Morris on Friday) and Fouts (5-0 over Longwood on Saturday). In Game 2 on Sunday, Alex Salter shut down Mercer in an 8-0 win as the Crimson Tide (17-3) swept the weekend.

It seems to be a turning point under new pitching coach Lance McMahon. The staff and coach have been working on getting on learning each others' tendencies.

"We have gotten along since the jump, the first day he was here," Fouts said. "I think it takes time learning in-game stuff, what we want and that kind of sequence. He's really comfortable if we want to shake off stuff and very open-minded in what we want to work on every day. He has an open mind, and so do we."

Perfect Montana Fouts

Fouts already had one shutout performance this week vs. Southern Miss, allowing one hit and striking out 10 in six innings. On Saturday Fouts, shut down Longwood and struck out 12, her most since her season debut.

On Sunday, she struck out 14 of the 18 batters she faced and only needed 73 pitches, which averages to just over four pitches per batter. She had a stretch with 11 strikeouts in 12 batters.

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Offense goes through ebbs and flows

Alabama had innings of eight runs and four runs (three times) but struggled to "pass the baton" like coach Patrick Murphy always talks about.

Against Robert Morris on Friday, Alabama scored twice on the first at-bat of an inning but struggled to do anything after. In all, Alabama had 13 innings this weekend with only three or four at-bats by the Crimson Tide, and only three brought in a run.

Ashley Prange led the way with three home runs and seven RBI.

Battle for No. 2 pitcher intensifies

Fouts was the Alabama ace going into the season, but question marks came up behind her. Esman, Torrence and Salter were going to be battling for the No. 2 role, and all staked claims with their performances over the weekend.

Esman allowed four hits with nine strikeouts on Friday, Torrence had four strikeouts in her no-hitter while Salter allowed two hits with two strikeouts on Sunday.

A benefit for Esman, she's the only left-handed pitcher on the staff and would give opponents a different look if Fouts bookends the weekend.

Up next

Alabama hosts Western Michigan on Tuesday before traveling to UAB on Wednesday. The Crimson Tide travel to Texas for the Bevo Classic where they will face Texas (twice), Texas State and Wisconsin in a weekend tournament.