Alabama softball edges out Middle Tennessee State, advances to Super Regional
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Peyton Davis
TUSCALOOSA-This weekend’s Tuscaloosa softball regional started off with a smooth ride for the Crimson Tide after a 5-0 win against LIU on Friday and a 12-5 win against Middle Tennessee State on Saturday.
Sunday, however, was anything but for Alabama softball, as the team went down 4-1 to Middle Tennessee State early in the afternoon. That meant the teams played a rubber match hours later to decide which team advanced to next weekend’s Super Regional.
Senior star pitcher Montana Fouts was out with an injury, so head coach Patrick Murphy instead started Junior Jaala Torrence on short rest. Torrence delivered in a huge way with a game shutout of the Blue Raiders, surrendering only five hits and a walk while striking out eight.
However, pitching from Middle Tennessee junior Kamryn Carcich alongside team defense had the game tied 0-0 going into the seventh inning.
In the top of the seventh, yet again this season, Alabama had to find a way out of its offensive struggles.
After throwing out a MTSU baserunner on a steal attempt to second in the bottom of the sixth inning, Alabama catcher Ally Shipman led off the Tide and ripped a line drive just barely over the left field fence for a go-ahead homerun and an ensuing crowd eruption.
The Tide managed two more baserunners, but could not scratch any more across as it was still a 1-0 game going into the bottom of the seventh.
A two out base hit was the only traffic the Blue Raiders could manage in the bottom of the seventh as Torrence struck out junior Savannah Behabetz, looking for the final out that sent the Tide to another Super Regional.
Sunday was a microcosm of what Crimson Tide softball has been going through all season: resilience in intense circumstances. With the season on the line, the team found a way yet again.
The road does not get easier from here, as the Tide faces No. 12 seed Northwestern Wildcats in a best of three series starting Friday, May 26, but after such a disappointing finish to last season and rough start to this season, this team is hungry for another try.
The Tide hopes Fouts will be back on the mound this week, as she is crucial to team success going into the final 16. According to Murphy, her left leg injury is considered day-to-day; she was warming up throughout the game Sunday afternoon, but her status for next weekend remains unknown.
Far and away the popular pick for the National Championship title is the Oklahoma Sooners, as the team has enjoyed a historically great season, but the Crimson Tide looks to add a second championship in program history and the first one since 2012.