March 24, 2013
"Our performance this weekend makes us a better team, and the girls can see that if there's an out left in the ballgame, then there's still a chance," head coach Marla Townsend said. "We're leaving here a much stronger team, and I'm proud that we were able to perform this way on the road."
On the weekend, Fletcher led the Blazers with a .700 batting average, hit two home runs with seven RBI and posted a 1.600 slugging percentage.
The Blazers improve to 18-7 on the season and 8-1 in Conference USA action, while Memphis falls to 14-20 and 3-6 in league play.
"I was very pleased with the base running and the way the girls came out today in this not-so-ideal weather," Townsend continued. "It was cold and windy, and we took advantage of their mistakes and put the ball into play very well."
Unlike the first two games of the series, UAB scored first, recording two runs in the top of the opening frame by way of freshman shortstop Caitlin Attfield and Fletcher crossing a plate on a single by Armstrong, and assisted by a pair of Memphis errors.
The Blazers went on to score five more runs in the top of the second inning, starting when junior first baseman Megan McGrath singled to left and advanced to second on a fielding error, bringing sophomore left fielder Hayley Davis up to bat. Davis worked up to a full count before taking first base on an illegal pitch that was called on Memphis pitcher, Ellen Roberts, which advanced M. McGrath to third base.
Attfield then bunted and reached on a fielding error by third base, and Davis moved up to second. Sophomore second baseman Heather Pearson then reached on a fielding error that scored M. McGrath and Davis to put UAB up, 4-0.
Fletcher came up to bat and Pearson stole second, before Fletcher walked. Armstrong then singled to center field and advanced to second on the throw, while Fletcher moved up to third and Attfield scored.
During the play, Pearson got caught in a pickle between third and home, as Memphis' pitcher and catcher tried to tag her out, but she tapped on home plate before Roberts or Lindhal got her with the ball and UAB pushed the lead to 6-0.
"We brought Whitney to third, and I just told Heather to stay in it," Townsend said. "The more throws that you have the defense do gives us more ability to take advantage of their mistakes, like the fact that the ball was not in the glove that tagged her. That's what happens when you stay in it."
The Blazers scored their seventh run of the game as junior designated hitter Kristen McGrath hit a single to right field to score Fletcher.
In the top of the fourth inning, Armstrong hit a solo home run over the left field fence for her third of the year to put UAB up, 8-0.
Memphis got one run across in the bottom of the fourth frame as pinch hitter Lindsie Knowles was scored on a two-out single to center field by Lindhal.
Freshmen Kelly Britt and Ashley Johnson got chances to bat in the top of the fifth inning before Attfield came up to bat and singled to shallow left with two outs. She stole second base, her 17th successful steal of the year, on the first pitch of Pearson's at bat. Attfield took third on a wild pitch before Pearson singled to left field, scoring Attfield for UAB's ninth run of the game.
Fletcher stepped up to the plate and had a 1-0 count before she hit it out of the park for her third home run of the season, and UAB extended its lead to 11-1.
Senior pitcher Lauren Webster had two strikeouts in the bottom of the fifth inning, and a pop up for Pearson ended the game.
With nine strikeouts on the day, Webster picked up her seventh win of the year, and allowed only three hits and one run.
Up next, UAB returns home to host Mississippi State in a midweek clash on Tuesday, with first pitch at 6 p.m. CT. The Blazers resume Conference USA action on March 29-30, at home, hosting Southern Miss. First pitch on Friday is set for 6 p.m. CT, while Saturday's doubleheader will start at 1 p.m. CT.