MONTGOMERY, Ala. — It wasn't the location or opponent the No. 8 Alabama softball team thought it would start the season against, but with the help of a combined perfect game from Montana Fouts and Sarah Cornell, the Crimson Tide beat Alabama State 10-0 on Friday night.
"It was a great way to start things off," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. "I was really pleased with our pitching staff. Montana gave us an awesome start and Sarah came in and did her job and went right at them."
Fouts and Cornell combined for 11 strikeouts in five perfect innings.
The Crimson Tide was originally slated to begin the season at the Texas Classic facing Colorado State on Friday. After that tournament was cancelled due to inclement weather, the Alabama staff quickly found some replacement games for opening weekend.
The first impromptu game on the new schedule was this matchup with the host Hornets who were outmatched from the first inning.
Hornets' starting pitcher Vanessa Bradford gave up six walks and five runs in just 1 1/3 innings while Fouts struck out four of the first six batters she faced.
Alabama's speed on the basepaths helped it put pressure on the Hornets all night. The Crimson Tide finished with eight steals, including four from Elissa Brown.
Alabama State walked in the first two runs, but then a Bailey Hemphill single cleared the bases in the second inning to put Alabama up 5-0. Kaylee Tow had a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning.
Because Alabama had built up an 8-0 lead halfway through the fourth, Murphy brought in players off the bench to get some playing time during the team's first live game in approximately 11 months.
Two of those bench players, Kyra Lockhart and Kayla Davis, drove in runs in the fifth inning.
Jenna Johnson and KB Sides both added RBIs for Alabama.
Next up: Alabama plays Notre Dame in Montgomery on Saturday afternoon at 4:30.