After a stunning sweep of No. 6 Arkansas in the Fayetteville Super Regional, the No. 11 Arizona softball team will open the Women's College World Series against No. 3 Alabama. The Crimson Tide has been one of the most dominant teams in the NCAA all year. They finished the regular season with a record of 45-7, won the SEC championship and are currently riding an 18-game win streak that began on Sunday, April 18.
The Wildcats have beaten the two SEC teams, Ole Miss and Arkansas, they faced in their regional tournaments, but Alabama is a completely different team. Here is a breakdown of the powerhouse Crimson Tide and what the Wildcats should look out for.
Alabama is the home of Montana
The Montana that Alabama houses is that of pitcher Montana Fouts. While Arizona has faced tough pitching in the regular season and playoffs, the Wildcats have never faced a pitcher like Fouts. With an ERA of 1.49 and a record of 25-3, Fouts is practically invincible. In the three games that Fouts has pitched during the playoffs, she is 3-0 and threw a shutout in two straight games against Clemson. In those three games, Fouts threw 21 innings, 39 strikeouts and only allowed three runs. Fouts has not lost a game since Friday, April 16, so it will be interesting to see how the Wildcats find success against the SEC’s best.
A four-headed offensive monster
While Arizona’s offense is dealing with Fouts, the pitching will have to deal with four of the most talented hitters all batting after one another. Left fielder Alexis Mack, catcher Bailey Hemphill, first baseman Kaylee Tow and right fielder KB Sides are a pitcher’s worst nightmare. These four hitters combined to bat .384 with 19 home runs, 138 RBI’s and 176 runs. These four players alone dismantle opposing teams, which explains why Alabama had 11 run-rule wins on the season. No matter who pitches against these batters, they will score on you.
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You get a shutout, and you get a shutout! Everybody gets a shutout!
If balls are lucky enough to make it off the bat, odds are they are going into a Crimson Tide player's glove. Alabama amassed an astonishing 18 shutouts on the year. In their first four games of the season, they outscored their opponents 29-0.
In the Easton Crimson Classic, they had four straight games where they shut out their opponents 14-0. The Crimson Tide even managed to shut out No. 3 Florida in the SEC championship game and their first three opponents in the first round of the playoffs. In those four games, they won by a combined score of 24-0.
Alabama does not just beat its opponents, they embarrass them. The Crimson Tide loads up on offense and then clamps down on defense.
Arizona will play Alabama in the first round of the Women's College World Series at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium on Thursday, June 3 at 4 p.m. MST.
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