Fouts strikes out 16 in South Carolina sweep

Blake Byler, Staff Reporter

No. 4 Alabama (28-4, 6-3 SEC) secured its first sweep in an SEC series this season in a 6-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Beckham Field over South Carolina.

Senior pitcher Montana Fouts struck out a season-high 16 batters and gave up only two hits to the Gamecocks (18-13, 2-7 SEC).

While Fouts was the biggest story of the day, Alabama also had a spectacular day hitting the ball. The Crimson Tide put the pressure on South Carolina from the first pitch, as three straight RBI singles with just one out gave Alabama the early 3-0 lead.

One of the RBIs in the first inning came from senior Kaylee Tow, one of Alabama’s most efficient batters of the game. Tow and junior Jenna Johnson each earned three hits.

After a frustrating start, South Carolina head coach Beverly Smith made a pitching change with only one out in the first inning. The change was successful for a while as South Carolina held Alabama without a run until the fourth inning.

Sophomore Kat Grill extended Alabama’s lead to 4-0 in the fourth with an RBI single.

The Gamecocks put some pressure on Fouts in the fourth inning, loading the bases with two outs. Fouts walked a batter, bringing in the Gamecocks’ first and only run of the game. Fouts got Alabama out of the inning with a strikeout.

An RBI single in the fifth from sophomore Bailey Dowling and an RBI double in the sixth from senior Ally Shipman brought in Alabama’s final two runs of the game. Fouts closed out the final inning with her 15th and 16th strikeouts of the game.

Shipman has been an RBI machine for Alabama all season long, now with 34 on the season, making her by far the team leader.

After a midseason slump in the middle of March, Alabama is gaining some momentum. The Crimson Tide have two midweek games this week. First up is Alabama State on Tuesday at Rhoads Stadium. Then Alabama will travel to Albertville, Alabama, to face Jacksonville State on Wednesday night in the Sand Mountain Showdown.

Questions? Email the sports desk at sports@cw.ua.edu.