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Fouts throws perfect game, leads Alabama past UCLA in WCWS

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Alabama's Montana Fouts pitches in the first inning of the team's NCAA Women's College World Series softball game against UCLA, Friday, June 4, 2021, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Montana Fouts threw a perfect game with 14 strikeouts on her 21st birthday, and Alabama defeated UCLA 6-0 on Friday night to advance to the semifinals of the Women's College World Series.

There had been four individual perfect games and one combined in World Series history before Fouts' gem. The most recent was by Courtney Blades of Southern Mississippi in 2000.

As the game progressed, Fouts tried not to focus on the situation.

“I honestly wasn’t really thinking about it,” she said. “I don’t think you can think like that as a pitcher, as a player or even in the stands really, because I feel like I’m a superstitious person. But I don’t know — I was just locked in each pitch because I know that one swing away, they have momentum.”

The Alabama section of the crowd, and even a fair number of UCLA fans, stood as Fouts took the circle in the bottom of the seventh. She opened the inning by striking out U.S. Olympians Bubba Nickles and Rachel Garcia swinging. The Bruins' final batter, Aaliyah Jordan, flied out deep to left field.

Fouts threw 65 of her 95 pitches for strikes against a team that entered the game with a .319 batting average.

“She’s a great pitcher,” UCLA shortstop Briana Perez said. “We went in with a game plan, we let her get ahead in a lot of counts and didn’t make an adjustment throughout the game, and so here we are.”

Third-seeded Alabama (52-7) ran its win streak to 20 games. The Crimson Tide need one more win to reach the best-of-three championship series.