OKLAHOMA CITY — The Arizona softball team lost to Alabama 5-1 to open the Women’s College World Series.
Montana Fouts held the Wildcats to two hits while striking out 16 batters. Jessie Harper drove in the only run for Arizona, launching her 92nd career homer, tying Katiyana Mauga for most in Arizona history and second-most in NCAA history.
Our full recap can be found HERE and below are some notable postgame quotes from both teams.
Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts on Jennie Finch being at the stadium: “I didn’t know she was out there. I think that is pretty cool. She is one of my role models. I’ve looked up to her my entire life. I’m still as big a fan now as I was then. It’s pretty cool that our team won and we did well on both sides of the ball.”
Alabama coach Patrick Murphy on Fouts’ outing: “One of the best. I couldn’t believe it. I keep the stats in the dugout. I think from four all the way down to nine, I don’t think anybody put the ball in play. I could be wrong. But what a performance. I mean, that’s a great hitting team. Nothing to take away from them. That is a hell of a hitting team. For a kid to do that against an Arizona team that’s legit, that was pretty special to watch.”
Arizona head coach Mike Candrea on Fouts: “She was outstanding. My hat goes off to her. She threw a hell of a ballgame. We really didn’t have any answers for the majority of that game. I think early on, you know, we were just not catching up to the speed or we were actually making ourselves react quicker than what we needed to instead of trying to slow it down and get good pitches. I thought early in the game we looked at pitches we probably could have hit, gave her the opportunity to throw the rise ball up in the zone and we started chasing. She’s a good pitcher. 72 miles an hour is not easy to hit. Even if it’s straight. Well, Montana has not only the velocity, but she has good movement. We knew it was going to be a challenge. I thought we would obviously be a little better than we were today. We just couldn’t figure it out, ran out of innings.”
Arizona left fielder Janelle Meoño on struggling against Fouts: “I think the one thing she has on us was her speed. It was difficult, I guess, for a couple of us to get on time. But I think we did adjust towards the end. We just needed to see more pitches and extend our at-bats. We’ll be back, ready for the next game.”
Candrea on Alabama slugger Bailey Hemphill and her homer: “Well, truthfully you try not to give her anything she can hit. That’s easier said than done. She ended up hitting a backdoor curve. The ball got over the plate, she squared it up. So you tip your hat to her. But like I said, I think the thing of today was Montana Fouts. I thought she truly threw a very good ballgame, really kept us at check. When you don’t have an offense, sometimes I felt like a ghost at third base, there’s not much you can do. All you can do to win a game like that is to match them pitch for pitch. We didn’t quite do that.”
Candrea on Hanah Bowen’s pitching: “She had a couple mistakes, but overall competed, did a good job. I felt like if we could go into the last innings with a 2-0 ballgame, it would be a little bit different. I thought Reyna (Carranco)’s call kind of changed some momentum in the game. We’re at the College World Series. This is what happens. We need to just kind of reset and move forward.”
Candrea on the “off day” Friday: “We’re going to continue to do what we normally do. We got a day off tomorrow, quote, day off. We’re going to go out and practice, do some hitting, get prepared for Saturday.”
Harper tying Mauga with a seventh-inning solo homer: “I told myself that I’m getting Dejah another at-bat. Dejah is super special. I love watching her at the plate. I trust in her 100%. If we could get Dejah another at-bat, it’s going to be good. That was my mindset, is just, Hey, you’re not going to beat me again. Let’s get Dejah up, and let’s see what we can do from there.”
Harper on bouncing back Saturday: “I’m excited. We have another game left. I get to put on this uniform again. Our team is going to be ready. We’re going to do whatever we have to to make it back to the top. But, hey, it’s softball. We’re playing it. That’s all we can do is just keep playing our game, but be super thankful that we’re here. We’ve earned the right to be here. We’re going to do what we have to do to make it back to the top. It’s going to be a grind. I trust ourselves, I trust our teammates, so we’re going to be good.”