Junior Nicole Whitlock hits two home runs to lead UAB past Jacksonville State
March 15, 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. --- The UAB softball team swept Jacksonville State Wednesday night in a doubleheader in Jacksonville, Ala. at the University Field. The doubleheader marked the first time in school history that the Blazers have swept the Gamecocks. The Blazers won game one, 6-3 and dominated game two winning, 9-2. UAB improves to 15-7 overall and have now won 11 of their last 13 games.
"It's always good to beat a quality opponent and we faced a very good Jacksonville State team tonight," said UAB head coach Marla Townsend. "We have been playing well and it has really helped us build our confidence. We were able to play a lot of different people today and that makes us a better team all around. Nicole (Whitlock) had a tremendous doubleheader and it's great to see her have a breakout performance. We need to carry this momentum into this weekend's series with East Carolina."
In game one, junior Nicole Whitlock broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth inning with a solo home run over the left field fence. It was her first of the season and the third in her UAB career. Despite jumping ahead early JSU would not go away.
The Gamecocks came back to tie the game at one in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs, JSU managed to record two singles through the infield and two consecutive walks to plate the run.
UAB capitalized on a JSU error in the fifth inning. Senior Chelsea McCall reached safely on a throwing error by the Gamecocks shortstop. Sophomore Holly Krzan drilled an RBI double to left center field to score McCall and give the Blazers a 2-1 advantage.
JSU continued to respond with a run in the fifth to tie the game. Megan Jezierski led off the inning with walk and Maigin Alexander singled up the middle to put two on base with one out. Sophomore Lauren Horwath then sacrificed home Jezierski for the second out and ended the rally by the Gamecocks.
The game continued to go back and forth until the seventh inning. The top half of the Blazer lineup came up big again for UAB. McCall started the rally with a single to center field and advanced to second on a heads up play that resulted in an error by the Gamecocks left fielder. Krzan followed with a walk and freshman Andrea Rogers was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Whitlock. With one out, Whitlock cleared the bases with her second home run of the game. The grand slam was her second long ball and her second round tripper of the year. In the inning, UAB plated four runs on two hits to take a 6-2 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, JSU scored one run but could not overcome the grand slam.
Sophomore Jennifer Nelson (6-1) becomes the first Blazer to reach six wins after pitching seven complete innings. Nelson struck out eight JSU batters and pitched her fourth complete game of the season.
The Blazers collected eight hits, while Whitlock went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and five RBI. Krzan and McCall were also productive offensively. Krzan went 2-for-3 with a run and a RBI.
JSU senior Carly Kellam took the loss and fell to 9-2. Horwath and Jackie Jarman were the only Gamecocks to record multiple hits.
UAB scored three runs in the first inning to take control of game two. Whitlock continued to swing a hot stick picking up two RBI on a double down the left field line scoring McCall and Krzan. The final run of the inning came on a single up the middle by Leigh Walker to plate Rogers. The Blazers took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the opening frame.
The Blazers added another run in the second inning on a single by Rogers to score Stanley. The UAB bats accounted for three hits in the inning and gave the Blazers a 4-0 lead.
The UAB offensive came alive again in the fourth inning scoring two runs. McCall led off with her second hit of the game to left field and Krzan singled to right field. Rogers cleared the bases on a two RBI single to center field.
UAB reached the run-rule limit in the sixth inning on a two-run home run by Rogers to score Krzan, who hit a hot shot to the third baseman but reach on an error.
The only run for the Gamecocks came in the bottom of the sixth inning on a bases loaded single by sophomore Alana Hicks to right field to score Jezierski.
McCall had an RBI in the top of the seventh inning to score Amanda Antonovich to add to the Blazers lead. In the final inning, UAB had two hits and one run in the inning. The Blazers held on to win 9-2 and sweep the doubleheader.
Freshman Kayla Harris gets the win and improves to 5-2. Harris pitched seven complete innings allowing two runs on seven hits. She also struck out six and walked three.
In game two, McCall led the way going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI. Rogers was 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBI.
UAB will return to action this weekend at East Carolina. The Blazers are scheduled to play a doubleheader Saturday against the Pirates starting at 1 p.m., with the final game coming Sunday at noon. Complete coverage of UAB softball can be found at www.uabsports.com.