One bad inning sends Alabama softball home early from SEC Tournament
Alabama softball’s trip to Gainesville, Fla. for the 2022 SEC Tournament lasted just one game with a 3-0 quarterfinal loss to Missouri on Thursday.
"You can't give a good hitting team like Missouri extra outs because they are going to take advantage of it," said Murphy. "We just didn't hit enough and didn't continue any inning."
The defeat marked Alabama's first loss in its opening game in the event since 1999 after winning 21 straight openers. It was also Alabama's first shutout loss in the tournament since 2004.
The Crimson Tide (41-11) has lost five of its last nine games. No. 5 Alabama will await Sunday’s NCAA Tournament selection show to see where it lands in the national seedings.
Repeat?:Five things Alabama softball must do to repeat as SEC Tournament champion
Last time out:Alabama softball wins series over Missouri behind three Montana Fouts appearances
Here are three things we learned:
One bad inning
Before a sixth inning in which Missouri plated its only runs, Montana Fouts retired 13 straight Tigers’ batters between the first and fifth innings.
A leadoff double followed by an intentional walk and an error set up the Missouri offense to take the lead. With two outs, an RBI single gave the Tigers a 2-0 advantage. The second error of the inning resulted in the third run scored.
Fouts (22-6, 1.93 ERA) was credited with the loss.
More on Montana:'Bionic woman': 5 things to know about Alabama softball ace pitcher Montana Fouts
It was more of the same for the Crimson Tide bats in Gainesville. The slumping offense didn’t show up, at least not when it counted. Alabama went 0-for-10 with runners on base and 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.
"We had ball four like three times and we hit a lot of first-pitch popups," said Murphy. "It was an old fashioned pitchers dual for five innings."
More:How ace Montana Fouts is managing increased workload for Alabama softball in 2022
The Crimson Tide boasts the third-best strength of schedule in the country and is No. 4 in RPI (ratings percentage index) rankings, which are considered by the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
Alabama has two wins over the No. 2 team in the latest RPI, Virginia Tech, and 13 of its 41 wins have come against opponents ranked in the top 25.. If Alabama receives a top-eight seed, it would host a regional and host in the super regional round if it advances.
Murphy:Alabama softball: Patrick Murphy had games to coach, but made time for Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
Regional play begins Friday, May 20.
Reach Brett Greenberg at email@example.com or follow @74talk on Twitter.