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Alabama softball ace Montana Fouts has a lot of reasons to celebrate.
She struck out 16 batters Thursday night to lead the Crimson Tide to a 5-1 victory over Arizona in its opening game at the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Fouts and Alabama will face the second-seeded UCLA Bruins on Friday night in a winners bracket game at 9:30 p.m. ET.
The matchup will feature two of the best pitchers in the country as Fouts, a 2021 National Fastpitches Coaches Association First-Team All American, takes on UCLA pitcher Rachel Garcia, the 2018 and '19 national player of the year and a 2021 NFCA First-Team All American.
Fouts is 26-3 with 330 strikeouts and a 1.48 ERA in 34 appearances. Garcia is 18-1 with 173 strikeouts and a 0.89 ERA in 27 appearances.
But before stepping into the pitching circle, Fouts was able to celebrate her 21st birthday.
Here are some social media reactions and well wishes for her birthday:
Fouts enjoyed a modest birthday party with her teammates.
A Birmingham television station sent birthday wishes.
Current and former Alabama players also wished her well.
She has won over fans of other WCWS teams.
Jen Schroeder, a former UCLA great, sent along her birthday wishes too, but with a caveat.
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: WCWS: Alabama softball's Montana Fouts celebrates birthday, faces ULCA