This story has been updated from a previous version.
Alabama softball’s berth in the super regional round of the NCAA Division I softball tournament is due in large part to a dominant pitching performance in the regionals.
But it wasn’t Crimson Tide ace Montana Fouts who led Alabama past the opening round. Instead, it was junior Jaala Torrence, who started the 2023 season as the Tide’s No. 3 pitcher before transitioning to a reserve role. And Torrence stepped up when Alabama needed her most.
She pitched three complete games in the regional round — once against Long Island University and twice against Middle Tennessee State — going 3-0 and pitching 18 2/3 shutout innings. That included a five-hit shutout against the Blue Raiders in a win-or-go-home elimination game on Sunday.
“She’s continued to improve,” coach Patrick Murphy said of Torrence after that game. “She continues to put in work. She wasn’t Debbie the Downer when she didn’t get her shots. She just continued to work, and obviously, that really paid off. But to be able to do it without (Fouts), it says a lot about her and the team.”
MORE: Montana Fouts injury update: Latest news on Alabama pitcher’s status
With Fouts’ status still uncertain for the super regionals, it’s likely Alabama will once again rely on Torrence. With that, The Sporting News has everything you need to know about Torrence, including her career stats and more to know:
Jaala Torrence Alabama stats
Torrence’s stats at Alabama have been impressive: She has a career 18-4 pitching record and 2.21 ERA. That includes a 9-2 mark and 2.08 ERA in 24 appearances (80 2/3 innings pitched) this year. She also recorded her first no-hitter on March 4 in a 10-0 victory against Robert Morris.
But nowhere was Torrence’s presence greater this season than in the regionals: Despite not starting a game in over two months and with Fouts out with a hyperextended knee, Torrence pitched 18 2/3 shutout innings, allowing only 10 hits across three games.
Here is a year-by-year rundown of Torrence’s pitching stats:
|Season||GS (CG)||W-L||ERA||IP||H||R (ER)|
|2021||2 (1)||2-0||0.94||22.1||13||5 (3)|
|2022||10 (3)||7-2||2.86||58.2||47||26 (24)|
|2020||8 (3)||9-2||2.08||80.2||44||26 (24)|
|Career||20 (7)||18-4||2.21||161.2||104||57 (51)|
Where is Jaala Torrence from?
Torrence played out of Dothan (Ala.) High School, 209 miles southeast of Tuscaloosa near the Alabama-Georgia border, before playing for the Crimson Tide.
According to her Alabama softball bio, Torrence ranked 23rd in the Extra Inning Elite 100 for the 2020 class and was a three-time all-state selection for the Wolves. She also had the most wins (29) and strikeouts (332) in a season at Dothan during her senior season.
MORE: Updated NCAA softball super regional scores, schedule
Montana Fouts injury update
Torrence got three starts in the regional round of the softball tournament, but Murphy said after the game Fouts was available to play vs. Middle Tennessee in the regional elimination game. That said, Torrence’s dominance in the circle allowed the team to rest Fouts.
“You don’t want this to be Montana’s last opportunity,” Murphy said after the game. “Thankfully, both (Ally Shipman and Jaala Torrence) pulled through and she can keep rehabbing and doing what she needs to do for next weekend.”
According to multiple reports, Fouts was cleared by Dr. Lyle Cain, Alabama’s team orthopedic surgeon, on Sunday. Murphy on Thursday said Fouts will be available to pitch this week during the super regionals.
“She was very excited. She FaceTimed me this morning and has gone over to see Dr. Cain again and the (physical therapist), and they both are working overtime,” Murphy said (via Rivals.com). “I don’t want to possibly say miracles, but they’ve been doing great. So that was the most excited I have heard her or seen her.
“So hopefully she’s coming back from Birmingham with our athletic trainer and probably will throw today in the bullpen. She threw yesterday and as the days have gone along, it’s gotten better and better.”
The question now is whether Alabama will start Fouts immediately against 12-seed Northwestern in the Tuscaloosa Super Regional, which begins Friday. If she doesn’t, then Torrence will be ready.
“I didn’t feel any pressure (to replace Fouts),” Torrence said after helping eliminate MTSU. “She’s been an asset for me; she talks to me throughout the whole game. (She) asks me how I feel, how the pitches are going. I feel like our team, we appreciate her so much, and whether she’s on the field or in the dugout, she makes a difference.”
After Torrence’s play in the regional round, Alabama should feel confident she can make a difference as well.