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Fouts plays brilliantly, takes Alabama ahead of UCLA in WCWS


The Montana Fouts threw a perfect game on their 21st birthday with 14 strikeouts as Alabama beat UCLA 6-0 on Friday night to reach the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series.

Oklahoma City — The Montana Fouts threw a perfect game on their 21st birthday with 14 strikeouts, and Alabama defeated UCLA 6-0 on Friday night to reach the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series.

There were four individual perfect games and one combined in World Series history before Fouts’ Gems. The most recent was by Courtney Blades of southern Mississippi in 2000.

As the game progressed, Fouts tried not to focus on the situation.

“I honestly wasn’t really thinking about it,” she said. “I don’t think you can think like that as a pitcher, as a player, or even in the stands, because I think I’m a superstitious person. But I don’t know – I Was off in just about every pitch because I know one swing away, they have momentum.

The Alabama section of the crowd, and even a fair number of UCLA fans, stood out as the Fouts took the circle to the bottom of the seventh. He opened the innings by swinging US Olympians Bubba Nickels and Rachel Garcia. The Bruins’ final batsman, Aaliyah Jordan, flew into deep left field.

Fouts threw 65 of his 95 pitches to strike against the team that entered the game with a .319 batting average.

“He’s a great pitcher,” said UCLA shortstop Briana Perez. “We went with a game plan, we let him lead in a lot of cases and didn’t make adjustments throughout the game, and that’s why here we are.”

Third seed Alabama (52–7) continued their winning streak to 20 matches. Crimson Tide need one more win to reach the best-of-three championship series.

Garcia, a two-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, finished sixth. He conceded five runs off seven hits and scored three. He threw 105 pitches a day after throwing 112 in a victory over Florida State.

The second-seeded Bruins (47-6) will play either Oklahoma or Georgia in the elimination game on Saturday night.

Fouts gave up a run and was dismissed for 16 without a walk against Arizona on Thursday. He has two full games with 30 strikeouts and no walks in World Series play this year.

“Didn’t think she would get better than yesterday, but she did,” said Alabama coach Patrick Murphy. “And these are good teams. I mean, it’s the king of the Pac-12, Pac-12 champions, and it’s something else for a kid from a small town in northeastern Kentucky to throw a perfect game against the great UCLA.”

Alabama wasted no time supporting the Fouts run. In the first innings, Bailey Hemphill doubled to score Alexis Mack, and Hemphill was later scored on a single by Jenna Johnson.

The Crimson Tide got insurance in the fifth when Kaylee Toe beat a three-run homer 5-0.

Tide then focused on finishing work for Fouts.

“I think I realized about the fifth inning that she was throwing a perfect game, but we all know the unwritten rule of never saying they were throwing the perfect game,” Toe said. “I think we were just trying to be cool, calm, and collected, trying to make up the plays, to keep him and allow him that moment. So nobody’s going to talk about it until the end. Didn’t want to talk, but of course we went crazy for him in the end.”

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.

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