Montana Fouts threw the first perfect game at the Women's College World Series in more than 20 years and Alabama softball (52-7) beat UCLA (41-15) 6-0 in a winners bracket game Friday night in Oklahoma City.
Fouts struck out 14 batters on her 21st birthday. Kaylee Tow added a three-run home run in the sixth inning.
The win gives the Crimson Tide its first win over UCLA in school history. Alabama is one win away from a berth in the national championship series and will play Sunday against an opponent to be determined.
Here are three things we learned as the Crimson Tide advanced further into the WCWS:
Fouts shines on 21st birthday
Fouts continued her domination in Oklahoma City with a complete game, raising her season strikeout total to 344. She’s had 22 starts with 10-plus strikeouts and nine in a row.
This start was similar to Thursday night’s against Arizona, in which the NFCA All-American recorded seven consecutive strikeouts after forcing a groundout for the first out of the game. She threw a ground ball for the ninth out of the game. She got her first nine strikeouts swinging and 10th looking in both WCWS appearances.
She has struck out the side in five innings of 14 innings pitched the WCWS and punched out 30 of 43 batters faced via strikeout.
Fouts shut down a Bruins lineup that ranks in the top 20 nationally in slugging percentage (.561), on-base percentage (.409), home runs (74) and batting average (.320) and averages more than six runs per game.
Small ball, big hit again
The Crimson Tide continued their quick starts in the NCAA Tournament with two runs in the first inning. This was the fourth time in seven NCAA Tournament games that Alabama has gotten on the board in the first inning.
Alexis Mack reached on a leadoff infield single and came around to score on Bailey Hemphil's eighth double of the year. Jenna Johnson singled for her second hit of the WCWS, scoring Hemphill. All three hits in the inning came with two strikes.
Kaylee Tow hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning, scoring Mack and Hemphill. Back-to-back sacrifice bunts and an error allowed Elissa Brown to put the ball in play and score Woodard for the sixth run in the sixth inning.
The Crimson Tide added three stolen bases in the game and reached base as the leadoff in three innings.
Streak continues with first-ever win over UCLA
The victory gives the Crimson Tide is the first- against UCLA in 11 meetings.
Alabama earned its 20th win in a row, 18th against a ranked opponent. The Tide have outscored opponents 122-35 during the streak.
Alabama plays at 2:30 p.m Sunday (ESPN) in the semifinal round. The opponent is yet to be determined.
With a win, the Crimson Tide can advance to the championship series, which is a best-of-three format beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT on Monday (ESPN).
With a loss, Alabama will face the same team again at 8:30 p.m. Sunday (ESPN2). The winner of that game would advance to the championship series.
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Softball: Montana Fouts' perfect game leads Alabama past UCLA