March 23, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn.--Senior center fielder Whitney Fletcher hit a two-out triple in the top of the seventh inning, and ran home on a Memphis error to tie game two at four runs apiece before the Blazers came back to win, 6-4, on Saturday at the Tiger Softball Complex.
"I am happy for the girls, but most of all I am so proud of their resilience," head coach Marla Townsend said. "We had a couple challenges with that second game. Obviously things weren't going the way we wanted, we weren't getting calls, but we tried. When we finally got to the halfway point of the game, I told the girls to just win the second half, and we did."
In game one, UAB recorded seven runs on seven hits, including a home run by senior catcher Anna Kimbrell to defeat Memphis, 7-5.
After two games, UAB is 17-7 on the year with a record of 7-1 in Conference USA action, while Memphis is 14-19 with a 3-5 mark in league play.
The Blazers will go for their second series sweep of conference play on Sunday, with a 1 p.m. CT first pitch. Follow @UABSoftball on Twitter for in-game updates.
UAB 7, Memphis 5
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the first inning with RBI scored by Ijiah Hargrove and Laura Curtis before UAB recorded the final out of the first. In the top of the second, Kimbrell was hit by pitch for the ninth time this season, and advanced to second base when M. McGrath walked. Sophomore second baseman Heather Pearson hit a single to left to score Kimbrell for the first run of the game.
In the top of the third, Fletcher started things off with a walk, and was advanced to second base when senior third baseman Kate Armstrong singled to the left side. Kimbrell stepped up to the plate following junior designated player Kristen McGrath and hit her seventh home run of the year over center field, to put UAB up, 4-1.
UAB plated another run in the top of the third when M. McGrath was hit by pitch to advance to first base, and was replaced by freshman pinch runner Kelly Britt. Britt made her way to third base courtesy of a senior Chandler Orr double. Pearson stepped up to the plate and worked up a 3-0 count before advancing on an illegal pitch, which brought Britt home for the fifth run of the game.
Both sides went scoreless in the fourth inning, and the Blazers plated two more runs in the top of the fifth. Attfield and Orr reached base, and were brought home by a double to right by Fletcher.
In the bottom of the frame, Memphis' second baseman Morgan Mosby scored on a Blazer miscue, and Tiger third baseman Cierra Mangum batted in two more runs with a double to center field.
In the circle, pitcher Lannah Campbell picked up her third win of the season and struck out four batters in five innings. Senior pitcher Lauren Webster entered the game in the sixth inning and retired the Tigers in order in the final two innings to earn her first save of the year.
UAB 6, Memphis 4
The Blazers went scoreless for the first five innings before Fletcher stepped up to the plate, and worked to a 2-1 count before hitting her first home run of the year over the center field fence.
"In the sixth inning, Whitney got a high ball and went deep over center field, and I knew that we were going to get some solid bat on the ball if we didn't chase pitches," Townsend said. "I even felt like we were being too disciplined at times, taking some pitches that we should have been taking advantage of."
Trailing 4-1 in the top of the seventh, sophomore Amy Dennis entered the game to pinch hit for Attfield with two outs, and drew a walk. Pearson then singled down the left field line to put two on for Fletcher.
After working up a 3-2 count, Fletcher hit a hard triple to right field to score two runs. With a quick stop at third base, Fletcher ran home on a fielding error by the right fielder to tie the game at four runs apiece.
"In that seventh inning, we had Heather Pearson battle to get on, and Amy Dennis drew a major walk," Townsend said. "Whitney going deep to right field, hitting something solid and then taking advantage of a bobble they had to get from third to home, that right there was the results. The things you don't see are the resilience of this team in the dugout. They were loud, they knew they had confidence in their teammates."
In the top of the eighth inning, Orr hit a solo shot to left on the first pitch of her at bat to put the Blazers up a run. M. McGrath came up to bat next, and worked up a 3-0 count before hitting one out of the park to left as well to give UAB a 6-4 lead.
Memphis plated its four runs in the first two innings, as Hargrove and Kelly Braman crossed the plate, the first on a Blazer miscue and the second on a double to left field. In the second inning, Lelani Bernardino was batted in by a Tiger triple, and Hargrove scored on a single up the middle by Mosby.
"I'm so proud of all of them for being resilient, for not beating themselves up because things did not go our way," Townsend added. "There were some situations we've never been in before, and we didn't necessarily handle all of them the best, but when it came down to it, we did."
Junior pitcher Leigh Streetman pitched the first two innings before Campbell entered the game and only gave up one hit in six innings, including five perfect frames where no Tiger reached base. Campbell was credited with the win, her fourth of the year, and she struck out five batters.