TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- After losing Friday night and with the season on the line, No. 5 seed Alabama defeated No. 12 seed Northwestern 2-1 to force a Game 3 in the Tuscaloosa Super Regional.
“It was a hell of a game between two really good teams,” said Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy. “It was a dogfight the whole way and I’m really proud of our bunch.”
The Tide offense struggled for the fourth consecutive game, but finally came up with some timely hits when it mattered most.
In the top of the seventh inning with the game tied, Larissa Preuitt got a leadoff single and moved into scoring position on a bunt from Kristen White. Then Ashley Prange delivered an RBI single to center field, driving home the eventual winning run.
“The only thing I had said to the coaches before that at-bat was, ‘I’m gonna get this ball out front’ because I’d gotten jammed on an inside pitch my last at-bat,” Prange said. “I just wanted to hit something up the middle and try to at least give us a chance to score a run.”
Prange was one of the few players who had multiple hits. In the first inning, Prange doubled off the wall in left field to start the game. Then after moving up to third, she was able to score on a sac fly from Bailey Dowling to take the lead 1-0.
While the offense sputtered in the middle innings Alabama was able to rely on pitching and defense to stay in the game.
Jaala Torrence got the start in the circle and was able to go 4.1 innings before giving up her first run of the postseason. With two runners on and with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning Torrence was replaced by Montana Fouts who was able to shut down the Wildcats for the rest of the game.
“Fouts is a competitor,” Northwestern Head Coach Kate Drohan said. “She’s tough, she wants the ball and she wants to fight for her team.”
After giving up three runs in Game 1 Fouts was phenomenal in her return to the circle. The ace pitcher finished with 2.2 innings pitched and three strikeouts while not giving up a single hit.
It is unclear who will get the start in the next game but with a trip to Oklahoma City on the line it’s likely that everybody will be available.
Alabama will be attempting to make it to the Women’s College World Series for the fourteenth time in program history while Northwestern will be trying for a seventh appearance.