May 1, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- Senior catcher Anna Kimbrell connected on a three-run home run in the bottom of the 13th inning Wednesday to lift the UAB softball team to a 7-4 victory over visiting Jacksonville State at the UAB Softball Field.
With the win, UAB improves to 35-13 on the season, and will finish the home schedule with an 18-3 record. The Gamecocks fall to 26-25 on the year.
The game marks the longest in program history, breaking a record that was set May 10, 2001, when UAB defeated former Conference USA member Saint Louis, 2-1, in 12 innings.
In the circle, senior pitcher Lauren Webster gave up only two hits in the first six innings as Jacksonville State was set down in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames. Junior Lannah Campbell (11-4) entered the game in the top of the 10th and picked up the win, striking out one batter in 2.2 innings.
For Jacksonville State starting pitcher Tiffany Harbin threw 11 innings, giving up eight hits and one earned run. Savanna Hennings (6-2) was credited with the loss as she entered the game to start the 12th frame.
UAB got on the board first, and is now 31-4 on the year when doing so, with a 15-2 mark when scoring in the first inning. Freshman shortstop Caitlin Attfield reached on a walk to lead off the game, and was scored on a double to right center by senior Whitney Fletcher.
"I have five words to describe that game," head coach Marla Townsend said. "Competitive. Pride. Relentless. Family. Excellence. Those are our core values, and those five words defined that game we just played. There is no better preparation to get us into where we are going this weekend at Houston."
The Gamecocks responded in the top of the second as Kelci Johnston hit a solo home run over center field to tie the game at one run apiece.
"We have nothing but complete respect for Jacksonville State," Townsend said. "They are a quality, extremely competitive program, and there is a reason why we always schedule them at this point in the season. I am extremely proud of the way we came out and continued to battle such a quality team. "
When the game entered the top of the 10th, international tiebreaker rules were applied, placing the batter that ended the previous inning on second base.
In the top of the 10th, Jacksonville State advanced its leadoff runner on a sacrifice bunt, but she was out as the following batter, Hayden Crawford flew out to center field, and the Blazers threw out Johnston at home, sophomore Amy Dennis to Webster, who got the ball to Kimbrell for the tag at the plate.
The Gamecocks took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 11th frame, scoring their runner, Casey Craig, on a double by Ella Dennis with one out.
Trailing by a run, UAB responded in the bottom of the inning as Kimbrell hit a single to left to score Dennis, who started the inning on second base, tying the game at 2-2.
In the top of the 12th, the Gamecocks scored their runner on a single to short by Johnston. The following batter, Cadi Oliver, hit a grounder to short, and Attfield tagged the leadoff runner before throwing to junior Megan McGrath at first base to get the second out.
Campbell struck out Cara Longworth to get out of the inning, Blazers trailing, 3-2.
Back to the bottom, senior outfielder Chander Orr was placed on second, and was scored on an infield single by Attfield, who was caught stealing to end the inning with the score tied at 3-3.
Jacksonville State scored its runner in the top of the 13th on an error at short with one out, but the Blazers turned a 5-3-4 double play to end the inning, trailing 4-3.
In the bottom of the 13th, UAB tied the game as Dennis singled up the middle to score Attfield. Dennis took second on the throw, before senior third baseman Kate Armstrong reached on a one-out walk.
Junior designated hitter Kristen McGrath sent a hit to short for a fielder's choice as Jacksonville State threw Armstrong out at second. With Dennis on third, and K. McGrath on first, Kimbrell, hit her ninth home run of the year to give the Blazers a 7-4 win in their finale home game.
Up next, UAB will close out the regular season with a three-game series at Conference USA foe Houston. The series will decide the regular-season conference championship and the No. 1 seed in the conference championship. The Blazers, who seek to win their eighth conference series of the season, need to win one of the three games.