Softball shuts out Mississippi State, sweeps second SEC team this season

Blake Byler, Staff Reporter

After two nail-biters against the Bulldogs in games one and two, No. 2 Alabama (36-6, 13-5 SEC) secured a comfortable 4-0 victory over Mississippi State (26-17, 7-8 SEC) to clinch the Crimson Tide’s second sweep of an SEC team this season.

Inclement weather in Tuscaloosa delayed the game by roughly an hour, and head coach Patrick Murphy said he was appreciative of the crowd at Rhoads Stadium.

“I really appreciate everybody having to work through the rain delay,” Murphy said. “Everybody on staff and the grounds crew especially, because they worked really hard today to get the game in.”

Just like in game one, senior Montana Fouts (19-3) made the start at pitcher for Alabama. She struck out 11 batters and allowed only three hits in the winning effort.

“I really thought Montana respected the heck out of that lineup and threw a great game,” Murphy said. “Eleven K’s and a three-hitter, and they’re a very good hitting team. So really pleased with the sweep, and I’m really thankful for the fans that stuck around.”

Alabama had only six hits of its own. Many of those hits, however, came in succession in a three-run fifth inning that propelled the Crimson Tide’s lead out of reach.

Alabama’s first run came in an unusual fashion in the third inning, as a throwing error into right field by Mississippi State allowed Kat Grill to round all four bases and score off a bunt. Grill has stepped up lately for the Crimson Tide, recording a hit in seven of her last eight games.

Following Grill’s run came the big fifth inning. With the bases loaded, freshman Aubrey Barnhart grounded a two-RBI single into center field, followed by a groundout from sophomore Bailey Dowling that brought in senior Ashley Prange.

Barnhart had two RBIs coming into the game and left her single at-bat having doubled that number.

With the 4-0 lead, Alabama leaned on its defense and Fouts’ pitching, cruising to a win and a sweep.

Next week, the Crimson Tide have a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon before their weekend series in College Station against Texas A&M. Alabama will take on North Alabama at 3:45 p.m. CT on Tuesday, immediately followed by a game against Alcorn State.

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