Alabama softball’s 44-game NCAA regional winning streak snapped

A lot’s happened since May 18, 2007. The freshmen on this Alabama softball team had yet to start kindergarten and Nick Saban’s first game as the Crimson Tide football coach was still a few months off.

It’s been exactly 5,482 days since that Friday afternoon in Tuscaloosa when Alabama last lost an NCAA softball regional game. That dial rolled back to zeros Saturday when Stanford handed the cold Tide bats a 6-0 loss.

It ended a 44-game regional tournament winning streak for the Crimson Tide (42-12) who must now play again at 7 pm to keep its season alive. This was the first shutout loss for Alabama since falling 2-0 to Florida State in last year’s Women’s College World Series semifinal.

Back in 2007, Alabama recovered from the 4-2 loss to Tennessee Tech to win the regional. It will have to beat the winner of Murray State-Chattanooga and twice Sunday against this Stanford team to advance to next week’s super regional.

Stanford players in the postgame news conference said they were unaware of Alabama’s streak until asked about it. Crimson Tide players and coach Patrick Murphy won’t be available for comment until after its final game of the day, per NCAA regional protocols.

Things went south from the beginning of Saturday’s game and the Tide bats remained quiet as the hosts didn’t advance a baserunner past second base. Ally Shipman’s single on the second at-bat of the first was Alabama’s last hit until Jenna Johnson led off the sixth with a single.

It was academic at that point since Stanford scored three runs in the first against an Alabama lineup that had not scored more than three in the last six games. A typically sharp defense that had the fewest errors in the SEC had a few mental lapses that led to Stanford runs in the first.

An opportunity to answer the three-run top half came with Shipman’s one-out single and Bailey Dowling’s walk but the next two batters flew out to right and left, respectively to end the threat.

Alabama batters were 2-for-23 Saturday, a .0.87 batting average while Stanford was 11-for-32 (.344).

Stanford (38-19) came out firing with Taylor Gindlesperger’s lead-off triple. She scored on a botched rundown on the next swing before a bases-loaded walk made it 2-0 before the first was recorded. A sacrifice fly ended the first-inning scoring for Stanford but the damage was more than enough to survive the next seven innings.

The visitors added two more in the fifth and another in the top of the seventh.

Fouts pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and five earned runs with one strikeout. She left the game after an errant throw on a stolen base appeared to strike her glove that covered the back of her head. She stood straight up and didn’t appear injured, but Alex Salter replaced her at that point.

An Alabama spokesperson didn’t have an update on her status following the game.

Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande or ten Facebook.

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