COLLEGE SOFTBALL

Fouts throws perfect game, leads Alabama past UCLA in WCWS

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Montana Fouts threw a perfect game with 14 strikeouts, and Alabama defeated UCLA 6-0 on Friday night to advance to the semifinals of the Women's College World Series.

There had been four individual perfect games and one combined in World Series history before Fouts' gem. The most recent was by Courtney Blades of Southern Mississippi in 2000.

The Alabama section of the crowd, and even a fair number of UCLA fans, stood as Fouts took the circle in the bottom of the seventh. She opened the inning by striking out U.S. Olympians Bubba Nickles and Rachel Garcia swinging. UCLA's final batter, Aaliyah Jordan, flied out deep to left field.

Third-seeded Alabama (52-7) ran its win streak to 20 games. The 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, was pulled in the sixth. She gave up five earned runs on seven hits and struck out three. She threw 105 pitches, one day after throwing 112 in a win over Florida State.

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

Fouts gave up one run and struck out 16 without a walk against Arizona on Thursday. She has two complete games with 30 strikeouts and no walks in World Series play this year. She threw 95 pitches against UCLA, a team that entered the night with a .319 batting average.

Alabama didn’t waste time giving Fouts run support. In the first inning, Bailey Hemphill doubled to score Alexis Mack, and Hemphill later scored on a single by Jenna Johnson.

The Crimson Tide got insurance in the fifth, when Kaylee Tow hit a three-run homer to make it 5-0.