March 12, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB softball team (11-12, 1-2) swept the Ball State Cardinals, 7-6 and 6-1, at the UAB Softball Field on Wednesday to improve to 11-12 overall, and 3-0 to begin the Blazers’ six-game homestand.
Sophomore Caitlin Attfield had a career day at the plate, finishing 6-for-8 with three RBI, two runs and two stolen bases. Senior Kristen McGrath went 4-for-7 with three RBI including a three-run home run, her sixth of the season, and also added a double. Junior Heather Pearson and freshman Mary Warren both had two RBI on the day.
Senior Leigh Streetman tossed 11.1 innings of work in the circle for UAB and struck out 13 Cardinals, allowing just three earned runs and nine hits to pick up both wins for the Blazers.
After allowing six runs in the first four innings of game one, UAB responded with a comeback to plate four in the final two innings and take game one, 7-6.
Attfield totaled a career-high four hits and finished the game 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs. Pearson finished with an RBI going 1-for-2 with a run scored, while junior Hayley Davis also had an RBI and finished 1-for-3. Kristen McGrath homered in her third-straight game (at the time) to finish 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead UAB offensively.
Senior Lannah Campbell started for the Blazers in the circle and went 2.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits. Senior Leigh Streetman entered in relief and tossed the final 4.1 innings and allowed just two hits and two earned runs. She struck out five and walked two to pick up the win for UAB in game one of the two-game set.
“It took a few innings to get going, but once we did our timing was good at the plate,” head coach Marla Townsend said. “Obviously getting Caitlin (Attfield) and (Heather) Pearson on in that sixth inning to give Kristen (McGrath) the chance to tie it up with the long ball and coming through with the huge hit, it was nice to get those runs. Then again, Caitlin getting on and Pearson scored her after a stolen base. The first game was big time.”
Streetman came back in game two to shutdown the Cardinals in a complete-game performance to get her ninth win of the season. She allowed seven Ball State hits, just one earned run, walked just one and struck out eight to shutdown the nation’s No. 3 hitting team.
Attfield picked up where she left off and finished 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI, while Mary Warren also had two RBI in a 2-for-3 game at the plate. Pearson, freshman JoJo Fallen, Hayley Davis and Megan McGrath also added RBI for the Blazers.
“We scored in the first inning and we just kept battling,” Townsend said. “We had nine hits both games, which is pretty good off a quality program like Ball State. Lannah (Campbell) started off slow and they had her number, so we came in with Leigh (Streetman) and she finished strong and did a good job of mixing it up. They had the third leading batting average in the NCAA (.354), so for her to shut them down, especially after them seeing her five times through, I think it was a step in the right direction.”
UAB 7, Ball State 6
In game one of the doubleheader, Ball State scored in the first four innings, but UAB responded to score four in the last two to take game one, 7-6.
Jennifer Gilbert got things started for the Cardinals in the first on an RBI double to plate Ball State’s first run. Following a two-run second inning from the Cardinals, UAB responded with two of its own courtesy of a fielder’s choice RBI from Danii Fernandez, and a bunt single from Attfield to make the score 3-2 after two.
Both Ball State and UAB scored a run in the third. The Cardinals’ came via a bases loaded walk, while the Blazers’ run was tabbed on a throwing error from the BSU third baseman to make the score 4-3 headed to the fourth.
Gilbert struck again in the fourth when she launched a two-run shot to dead center to plate two Cardinals runs and make the score 6-3. That would cap the scoring for the next two innings, but UAB struck in the sixth to begin the game-winning comeback.
Following a leadoff putout from Fernandez, Attfield singled to right to begin the Blazers’ half of the sixth. Pearson then walked to set the table for Kristen McGrath, who was looking to hit a home run her third-straight game. She did just that, launching a three-run shot to left field, to tie the game at 6-6 entering the seventh and final frame.
Ball State went down quietly in its half of the seventh to set the table for a walk off win for the Blazers. With two outs and nobody on, Attfield got on first via an infield single. She then stole second to put the game-winning run in scoring position for Pearson, who singled to right field to drive in Attfield and give UAB the 7-6 win.
UAB 6, Ball State 1
UAB got things started in game two with a run in the first via an RBI single from Mary Warren that scored Pearson. The Blazers and Cardinals remained scoreless until the fourth when UAB broke the game open and plated three.
With runners on second and third and one out, JoJo Fallen entered to pinch hit and sent a fly ball to center that was dropped to allow a UAB run to cross and make the score 2-0. Attfield added the inning’s final two runs on an RBI single to right field to score Fallen and Lauren Beshel to give UAB a 4-0 advantage through four.
UAB added single runs each in the fifth and sixth innings, one on an RBI double from Warren and the sixth-inning run on an RBI single from Pearson to score Fernandez.
Ball State would avoid the shutout in the seventh after Selena Reyna hit a solo shot to left field to give the Cardinals their lone run of the game.
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