Recap | Softball edges out Kentucky in game one of super regional play

Robert Cortez, Assistant Sports Editor

An offensive frenzy in the fourth inning propelled No. 3 Alabama (49-7) to a 4-3 win over No. 14 Kentucky (43-15) in game one of the NCAA Super Regional. Following the Crimson Tide’s win on May 28, the team is one win away from its second consecutive appearance at the Women’s College World Series. 

“It was a hell of a super regional game, and we’re just happy to get away with the win,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. 

Prior to facing graduate student Bailey Hemphill in the fourth inning, Kentucky starter Autumn Humes (22-9; 2.41 ERA) had a perfect performance. She retired the first 10 Alabama batters and had four strikeouts. 

Hemphill was the first Alabama runner to reach base when she laced a one-out single to left field. Her hit initiated an offensive surge. Murphy said Hemphill’s hit allowed the offense to “relax.” 

Two singles followed Hemphill’s, which loaded the bases for senior K.B. Sides. Fellow senior Kaylee Tow shared words of encouragement with Sides before she hit a bases-clearing triple in the left center gap. 

Sides’ hit allowed Alabama to capture a 3-2 lead at the time. 

“I give all the credit to [Tow],” Sides said. “I was a little bit nervous, but those words just relaxed me a lot.” 

Sides came around to score on an RBI single from senior Maddie Morgan. Morgan’s 20th RBI of the season was the game-winning run. 

The Dora, Ala. native said the energy of the sold-out crowd inside Rhoads Stadium contributed to the Crimson Tide’s offensive success in the fourth frame. Sides said she’s thankful she doesn’t play for a visiting team in front of the Alabama faithful. 

“I couldn’t imagine coming to this stadium and playing here for the first, second or even third time,” Sides said. “If I hadn’t played at Alabama, there’s no way I’d be able to get in the box and swing the bat because it’s honestly so loud.”

Junior Montana Fouts (25-3; 1.55 ERA) made her fourth start of the season against Kentucky on Friday. The Wildcat lineup did not go down easy. Fouts delivered 138 pitches in the game. 

Fouts tallied her 20th double-digit strikeout performance of the season. With Kentucky’s bases loaded, she closed out the game with her 11th and final strikeout in the seventh inning. Murphy said there were knots in his stomach. 

Two of Kentucky’s runs came from Renee Abernathy’s pair of solo home runs. This was the first time Fouts had given up a home run since May 2. Fouts has now given up 11 long balls this season. 

A runner hadn’t reached third base against Fouts in 21 innings. Her streak ended when a Kentucky base runner reached third in the opening frame. 

First pitch for game two of the Tuscaloosa Super Regional is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, May 29. The game will be televised on ESPN.