Montana Fouts threw the first perfect game at the Women's College World Series in more than 20 years, and No. 3-seeded Alabama beat No. 2 UCLA 6-0 in a winners’ bracket game Friday night in Oklahoma City.
Fouts struck out 14 batters on her 21st birthday, and Kaylee Tow hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning.
The win gives the Crimson Tide (52-7) its first win over UCLA (41-15) in school history. Alabama is one win away from a berth in the national championship series and will play Sunday against an opponent to be determined.
Here are three things we learned as the Crimson Tide advanced further into the WCWS:
Fouts gives party favors on 21st birthday
Fouts continued her domination in Oklahoma City with a complete game, raising her season strikeout total to 344. She’s had 22 starts with 10-plus strikeouts and nine in a row.
The NFCA All-American has struck out the side in five of the 13 innings she’s pitched at the WCWS and has punched out 30 of 41 batters she’s faced.
Fouts shut down a Bruins lineup that ranks in the top 20 nationally in slugging percentage (.561), on-base percentage (.409), home runs (74) and batting average (.320) and averages more than six runs per game.
Small ball, big hit again
The Crimson Tide continued its quick starts in the NCAA Tournament with two runs in the first inning. This was the fourth time in seven NCAA Tournament games that Alabama has gotten on the board in the first inning.
Alexis Mack reached on a leadoff infield single and came around to score on Bailey Hemphill's eighth double of the year. Jenna Johnson singled for her second hit of the WCWS, scoring Hemphill. All three hits in the inning came with two strikes.
Tow hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning, scoring Mack and Hemphill. Back-to-back sacrifice bunts and an error allowed Elissa Brown to put the ball in play and score Savannah Woodard for the sixth run in the sixth inning.
The Crimson Tide added three stolen bases in the game.
Streak continues with first-ever win over UCLA
The victory gives Alabama its first-ever against UCLA in 11 meetings.
Alabama earned its 20th win in a row, and 18th against a ranked opponent. UA has outscored opponents 122-35 during the streak.
Alabama plays at 2:30 p.m Sunday (ESPN) in the semifinal round. The opponent is yet to be determined.
With a win, the Crimson Tide can advance to the championship series, which is a best-of-three format beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT on Monday (ESPN).
With a loss, Alabama will face the same team again at 8:30 p.m. Sunday (ESPN2). The winner of that game would advance to the championship series.