March 8, 2014
GREENVILLE, N.C. – The UAB softball team (8-11, 1-1) split its Conference USA opener against East Carolina (12-5, 1-1), 2-1 and 5-4 (8), on Saturday at the ECU Softball Stadium.
The Blazers dropped game one, 2-1 and rebounded with a 5-4 win in their eighth extra-inning game of the season to even the series at one a piece.
Freshmen Danii Fernandez and Mary Warren each had three hits for UAB on the day. Megan McGrath and Kristen McGrath both hit home runs to total three combined RBI. Heather Pearson, Caitlin Attfield and Hayley Davis each had RBI. Pearson also extended her reached-base streak to 18 games on Saturday.
Leigh Streetman tossed a complete game in game one and was tagged with the loss after allowing just two earned runs. She struck out 10, walked just one and allowed eight hits to move to 6-6 on the season. Lannah Campbell picked up the win in game two, throwing an eight-inning complete game and allowed just two earned runs on four hits.
East Carolina 2, UAB 1
UAB took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning off a two-out home run. Kristen McGrath sent a deep shot to straight-away center for her third home run of the season, and 34th of her career, to put the Blazers up 1-0.
The Pirates threatened both in the second and third innings, but Streetman worked around two-out jams in both frames to prevent any runs from scoring. East Carolina put two on in the second after a walk and single, but they were both stranded as Streetman struck out the Pirates’ designated player to end the inning.
ECU again threatened in the third when they hit back-to-back singles with two outs, but Streetman escaped with a groundout from the Pirates’ cleanup hitter to limit just three combined hits in both innings and no runs.
UAB had a chance to break things open in its half of the sixth following a leadoff walk from Attfield. Kristen McGrath walked and Mary Warren followed with a single, but the Blazers left the bases loaded as Amy Dennis flew out to right and Megan McGrath grounded out to short to cap the sixth.
ECU plated its first run of the game in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out rally to tie the game at 1-1. The Pirates’ cleanup hitter doubled to left and Alex Fieldhouse followed with a soft single just over the head of Pearson into shallow right, to tie the game at 1-1.
The Blazers looked to have a chance in the seventh, but again left the bases juiced. Fernandez walked, Attfield singled and Pearson walked to load the bases for Kristen McGrath, but she went down swinging as UAB couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity.
East Carolina led off its half of the seventh with a single to left and went down swinging on two at-bats in a row. Following another single from the Pirates’ leadoff hitter, Johnson singled up the middle. Dennis fired a throw on a line to Johnson at home, but the ball escaped her glove as ECU walked off to capture the 2-1 win.
UAB 5, East Carolina 4 (8)
ECU picked up the game’s first run on no hits and a UAB error in the second inning. Wynne walked to lead off the inning and Fieldhouse advanced to second on an error by Attfield at short. Wynne would come around to score on a wild pitch from Campbell as ECU took a 1-0 lead through two innings.
UAB would answer back in the third with a run on one hit. Kristen McGrath walked and Warren singled, before Dennis reached on an error. Megan McGrath followed with an infield groundout to mark the second UAB out at home, before Davis was hit by a pitch to plate UAB’s first run of the game.
The Pirates answered again in the third following back-to-back singles and a fielder’s choice. With runners on first and second, Oshiro sent a grounder to Attfield, who threw to Fernandez at third on a fielder’s choice attempt. An error allowed ECU to plate its first run of the inning, and the Pirates would later go up 3-1 on a grounder to third that scored Johnson.
UAB answered in the fifth courtesy of production from the McGrath twins. Kristen led off with a double to begin the frame, and following two strikeouts, Megan sent a deep shot to left to tie the game at 3-3, her team-leading fourth of the year.
ECU threatened in the seventh and had the winning run at third, but Campbell drew back-to-back groundouts to end the Pirates’ threat and send the game to extras.
UAB took advantage early in the eighth and picked up two runs on three hits. Davis walked and Johnson singled, and Fernandez moved the runners over on a sacrifice bunt. Attfield drove in the go-ahead run on a single to right as Pearson followed with an RBI of her own to plate UAB’s second run of the frame. ECU turned a double play to end the inning when Kristen McGrath flied to right and Pearson was gunned down at first attempting to get back to the bag.
ECU responded in the eighth with a double to left to plate the Pirates’ fourth run, but Campbell worked out of a huge jam with a runner on third to end the game and give UAB the 5-4 win in eight innings.
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