Mocs Fight Hard But Fall To Alabama, 3-0

UTC Loses To Crimson Tide In NCAA Rregional

Friday, May 20, 2022 - by Joseph Dycus
Emily Coltharp connects for the Mocs in a 3-0 loss to Alabama on Friday in a NCAA Regional first round game.
Emily Coltharp connects for the Mocs in a 3-0 loss to Alabama on Friday in a NCAA Regional first round game.
- photo by gomocs.com

Montana Fouts is lauded as a generational talent, and rightfully so. Against the Chattanooga Mocs, it initially appeared as if her golden right arm would stay in the dugout. The popular thinking went that the Tide would rock the Mocs in an easy win.

 

But as the temperatures crept toward 90 degrees and the sun beat down upon the field, the Mocs walked into Tuscaloosa and punched Alabama in the mouth.

Alabama eventually won 3-0, but the Mocs made the Tide sweat, leading them to break out their greatest weapon in relief. Fouts pitched three and a third innings, struck out seven but also allowed three hits.

 

“We’re like the horse that won the Kentucky Derby, Strike Rich,” coach Frank Reed said. “We’re a mid-major school, guys. We’re not in the SEC and can’t compete there (in football), but we can compete in softball. I can’t tell my team they played badly, because they played great and I’m proud of them.”

 

Brooke Parrott was the headliner for the first three innings, keeping Alabama hitless through three. Every pitch was a mystery to the Crimson Tide, and each ball that left their bat seemed to find its way to an easy out. Alabama’s coach Patrick Murphy was impressed with the mid-major challengers.

 

“You want the other team to feel like we respect them, and that we’re going to take it to them,” coach Murphy said. “I think Montana did that, I think our defense did that, and I think that our offense could’ve done more, but they did enough to win.”

 

“I think I did a good job of getting ahead with strikes for the most part, and they were popping up my changeups,” Parrott, who finished with two hits allowed and two earned runs given up, said. “I think after the first or second inning, we settled in.”

 

In the first inning, Goodnight struck out swinging, Dowling lined out, and then Parrott got Shipman to foul out to third-baseman Kaili Phillips. The next two innings followed a similar theme. Meanwhile, the Mocs were able to get on base against Alabama starter Alex Salter. 

 

“Kaili was telling us this is just another stadium, and we’re both playing in between these lines,” Emily Coltharp said. “So we should just go out there and do what we know how to do..”

 

Emily Coltharp led the game off with a single, and she moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. But in what would become the theme of the day, the Mocs could not get runners across the plate. Olivia Lipari was stranded in the second, and Kailey Snell endured the same fate in the third. 

 

To start the fourth, Phillips and Lipari both got on base with one out, actions that marked the end of Salter’s day. The fans at Rhoads Stadium had been attentive all afternoon, but a palpable buzz began to circulate around the overheated congregation when they saw Fouts jog onto the field. 

 

“Montana is always going to want the ball,” coach Murphy said. “And she’s going to show up against whoever we’re playing.”

 

If the Mocs were to score, they would have to mash against a pitcher who has been named to the last two All-American teams and will soon be named to her third in three seasons. That didn’t happen, because Pressley Williamson struck out swinging, and Gracey Kruse could only flail at Fouts’ pitches.

 

That feeling remained even after Fouts returned to the dugout. Alabama took their momentum and ran off a couple of runs in the bottom of the fourth. First was a Bailey Dowling home run to left that flew just above a fielder’s glove, and then Megan Bloodworth smacked a sac fly to center that scored Ally Shipman. Parrott was relieved by Izzy Allen, who later gave way to Hannah Wood once Jenna Lord drove in M'Kay Gidley in the fifth.

 

The Mocs had one more chance to tie the game in the top of the seventh. Chattanooga stared down Fouts and rapped out two of their three hits against the ace. With the powerful Reagan Armour at the plate, the Mocs had their best against Alabama’s best. Fouts won out and popped up to short, but coach Reed said he could’ve easily envisioned another outcome. 

 

“When she was up, I could visualize Regan popping one out and tying the ballgame,” coach Reed said. “I never felt like we weren’t going to win.”

 

UTC will play the loser of Stanford and Murray State on Saturday. The game’s first pitch will be at 5:30 EST. 

 

 

Do you have an opinion on this article, or have a story you believe needs coverage? You can contact the author at Joseph.A.Dycus@gmail.com or on Twitter at @joseph_dycus.


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