The hosts of the 2021 SEC Softball Tournament were set to face the Kentucky Wildcats for the fourth time this year, but on a bigger stage. A spot in the Tournament’s quarterfinals was on the line in the single-elimination game.

Alabama’s fans kept cheering on their team the entire night while the Crimson Tide defeated Kentucky 5-1 to move on to the semifinals.

“It was awesome, it was just like two years ago,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “It was an old time atmosphere in Rhoads House.”

Bailey Hemphill, SEC Player of the Year and Montana Fouts, SEC Co-Pitcher of the Year, put on performances that helped their team move on to the semifinals.

Bailey Hemphill started off the game strong for the Crimson Tide’s offense in the first inning. She hit a solo home run on a 3-1 count to give Alabama an early lead.

This home run put her one away from tying the 60 career home run record set by Kelly Kretschman (1998-2001).

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Hemphill has broken and tied many records this season and continued on that trend in the fifth inning.

Alexis Mack drew a lead off walk to put a runner on for Hemphill. This time on a 3-2 count she hit her second home run of the game to give Alabama a 5-1 lead while simultaneously tying two records.

Her second home run tied the SEC Tournament single-game record.

“That was old Bailey at the plate, and we are happy to see her finally out of the home run slump,” Murphy said.

In his opening statement, Murphy said his starting pitcher Montana Fouts was “terrific” in the game.

“She rises to the occasion,” Murphy said. “She just makes the pitches when she needs too.”

Fouts held it down in the circle for the Crimson Tide and like her teammate, also tied a record.

She threw 15 strikeouts to tie Alabama’s Alexis Osario who had set the SEC Tournament single-game record in 2017. Osario hit 15 strikeouts in 10 innings against Texas A&M while Fouts was able to do it in just seven.

Her performance was the 15th game this season with double-digit strikeouts. She also struck out every Wildcat batter at least once.

Fouts opened five half-innings with a strikeout and ended six of them the same way.

 

Alabama will face Tennessee in the semifinals on Friday, May 14. The matchup will be broadcast on ESPN2, the time is undetermined but will be about 35 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

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