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Women's College World Series: Fouts pitches Alabama past Arizona in opener

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Montana Fouts

Alabama's Montana Fouts (14) threw the first perfect game in Women's College World Series history against UCLA on Friday.

No. 3-seeded Alabama softball advanced to the winners’ bracket after a 5-1 victory over No. 11 Arizona in the first round of the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

The Crimson Tide (51-7) used 16 Montana Fouts strikeouts and a pinch-hit home run to keep its winning streak alive.

Here are three things we learned as the Crimson Tide advanced at the WCWS:

1. Fouts near perfect

Fouts pitched 14 innings with a combined 14 strikeouts and no runs allowed as a freshman in the 2019 WCWS.

It was more of the same for the unanimous NFCA All-American, who picked up her 26th win of the season and 21st with at least 10 strikeouts, bringing her season total to 330. She’s had eight starts in a row with at least 10 strikeouts.

After recording the first out via a groundout against Arizona (41-14), Fouts reeled off eight straight strikeouts before giving up a hit. She also struck out six in a row from the fifth inning on and did not record a single walk.

She struck out the side in four innings. Batters four through nine each struck out two times. She allowed a solo home run in the seventh inning.

2. Bats awake early, stay up late

The Crimson Tide jumped out to a lead in the first inning for the third time in six NCAA tournament games behind back-to-back walks from Bailey Hemphill and Kaylee Tow and a single from Jenna Johnson.

Hemphill brought her career total to 63 with a solo home run in the third inning.

In the sixth inning, the Crimson Tide scored three runs with two outs.

Savannah Woodard scored on a Maddie Morgan double. Pinch hitter Abby Doerr hit a two-run home run on an 0-2 count, her second home run of the year.

3. Win streak travels to OKC

The win gives the Crimson Tide its 19th win in a row, 17th against a ranked opponent and first away from Rhoads Stadium since the Georgia series (April 30-May 2).

Alabama is now looking for its second win in OKC, something it has done in the last six of the eight WCWS appearances since 2008.

What’s next

Alabama plays Friday at 8:30 P.M. CT on ESPNU against the winner of Florida State and UCLA. A win Friday would put the Crimson Tide in the semifinals Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN.

A loss Friday will put the Crimson Tide against the winner of Oklahoma and UGA on Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN.