After an offensive showcase earlier in the day against Florida, Alabama had to battle in a low-scoring pitcher’s duel against Arizona as the Crimson Tide shut out the Wildcats, 2-0.

Alabama (59-9) needed just two runs to defeat Arizona (48-14), with freshman Montana Fouts (20-6) and the Tide defense blanking the Wildcats for just the second time this season, as the Grayson, Ky., right-hander fanned nine batters and allowed just three hits. Junior Bailey Hemphill accounted for Alabama’s entire offensive output, hitting a two-run double in the third inning.

“That was one of Montana’s best performances of the year,” UA head coach Patrick Murphy said. “She had nine strikeouts and held them to three hits and struck out their murderer’s row in order the first time she saw them. That’s a really good hitting team and for her to do that, she was throwing it really well.”

A pair of walks put two on base for Alabama in the top of the third and junior Bailey Hemphill made the Tide’s first hit of the day count, roping a standup double into the left-field gap to drive in both runners and give Alabama a 2-0 lead. Arizona threatened in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with one out. A swinging strikeout went for out number two and Hemphill reached out to her right to snag a hard-hit line drive to end the inning, getting out of the bases-loaded jam and preserving the two-run lead.

With the score still 2-0 in the top of the seventh, Alabama moved a pair of runners into scoring position but could not add to its lead. Senior Rylee Pierce led off the bottom of the seventh with a hard-hit ball to right that just died on the warning track for out number one. A one-out infield single brought the potential tying run to the plate. A force-out at second went for out number two but the batter beat out the back end of the double play attempt for a fielder’s choice. Fouts’ ninth strikeout of the day ended the game to preserve the shutout victory for the Tide.

Alabama will rematch against Oklahoma on Sunday, June 2 at 2:30 p.m. CT. A victory for the Tide in that game would force a second game at 8:30 p.m. CT, with the winner of that contest advancing to the championship series on Monday.

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