Alabama softball ace Montana Fouts celebrates 21st birthday before Crimson Tide takes on UCLA

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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.

Pitcher Montana Fouts threw a gem against Arizona in Alabama's Women's College World Series opener on Thursday.
Pitcher Montana Fouts threw a gem against Arizona in Alabama's Women's College World Series opener on Thursday.

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.

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Here are some social media reactions and well wishes for her birthday:

Fouts enjoyed a modest birthday party with her teammates.

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A Birmingham television station sent birthday wishes.

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Current and former Alabama players also wished her well.

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She has won over fans of other WCWS teams.

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Jen Schroeder, a former UCLA great, sent along her birthday wishes too, but with a caveat.

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This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: WCWS: Alabama softball's Montana Fouts celebrates birthday, faces ULCA