by: Alex Chasen
TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- On the third and final day of the T-Mobile Crimson Classic, the Tide looked to sweep the weekend in their Sunday doubleheader against the 10-8 Longwood Lancers followed by the 6-12 Mercer Bears.
Alabama verse Longwood
Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts kept her dominant weekend and season rolling in the circle as she earned her third perfect game in her Alabama Softball career and improved her record to 9-1 on the season.
She came into Sunday with having her most strikeouts in a game at 16, fans were on the edge of their seats in the latter part of this game to see if she would break her record, but she came just shy with 14 strikeouts in six innings of work. Just like Fouts did in Saturday’s Alabama vs Longwood match-up she pitched a zero earned run game which dropped her season ERA to 1.54.
Behind Fouts’ star performance in the circle was Alabama’s high-powered offense that caught ablaze scoring seven of their eight runs in the fourth through the sixth inning.
Their 8-0 win was aided by the offensive dominance led by senior third baseman Ashley Prange. Prange has brought power hitting to this Alabama lineup of late, already matching her home run total (8) from last season with still over two months of regular season games to be played.
Prange discussed how she felt playing behind the fantastic performances from the pitching circle this weekend.
“It’s been awesome, they (pitchers) make our job easy and they’ve looked incredible, and I think they straight up dominated, it’s been really fun to play behind,” Prange said.
She displayed her power in both of today’s games, starting off with three RBIs and a home run in game one.
Alabama verse Mercer
After the 8-0 win over Longwood the Crimson Tides day was not over quite yet. In game two of today’s doubleheader, they faced off against the Mercer Bears who looked to go home with three wins and two losses in the Crimson Classic.
Out the gate, Bears starting pitcher Grace Taylor gave the Alabama offense some trouble in her first two innings in the circle with zero runs earned.
After a slow start at the plate, Alabama opened up the game in the bottom of the third, scoring three runs. The spark that initiated in the bottom of the third combusted into five more runs for the Tide in the last two innings at the plate.
Ashley Prange continued her slugger afternoon with another 2 RBIs and a home run in game two.
Head coach Patrick Murphy on Prange’s performance at the plate today.
“All fall that’s how she hit honestly, we practice twelve weeks and she was the best hitter nine of those weeks. She’s been doing that at practice and It’s very rewarding as a coach to see somebody take it into a game,” Murphy said.
Alabama starting pitcher Alex Salter and the defense behind her held the Mercer Bears offense to zero runs earned. Salter had two strikeouts but gave Mercer’s offense a challenge to make significant contact with the ball. Much of the Bear’s contact created pop flys or routine ground balls for the infield.
Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT the 17-3 Crimson Tide look to continue their dominance against the 5-7 Western Michigan Broncos in their last of 13 straight home games.