Softball Tops USM, 3-2, In 10

Fletcher hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

May 9, 2013

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TULSA, Okla.--Junior pitcher Lannah Campbell struck out a season-high 12 batters as the No. 1 seeded UAB softball team outlasted No. 8 seeded Southern Miss, 3-2, in 10 innings on Thursday. The game was the third in the opening round of the Conference USA Softball Championship at the Collins Family Softball Complex.

The Blazers loaded the bases with one out in the top of the 10th before senior Kate Armstrong fielded a game-ending RBI bunt single to give UAB the win.

The win advances UAB (37-15) to Friday's semifinal game, where the Blazers will face either No. 4 Marshall or No. 5 East Carolina at 4:30 p.m. CT. Last season, UAB dropped a 3-2 decision to Marshall in 10 innings. The Blazers dropped an 8-0 decision to East Carolina in 2006.

No. 2 Houston will meet No. 3 Tulsa at 2 p.m. CT on Friday for the first semifinal game.

"Southern Miss has been strong lately," head coach Marla Townsend said. "I'm proud of them because they've been through ups and downs and came out on top, and I was really worried that's what was going to happen."

The Golden Eagles (14-41) got on the board first, as a Blazer miscue allowed Taylor Beck to reach first and advance to second. She was scored on a sacrifice fly by Michelle Stringer in the top of the second. Southern Miss scored their second run of the game in the top of the third as Mackenzie McKeever reached on a fielder's choice, and was scored on an RBI triple by Danielle LaPointe.

"I think our defense really let us down early, and allowed them to score a couple of runs," Townsend said. "But they were putting the ball in play. We came out big with Chandler Orr's home run, and then obviously with Whitney Fletcher's home run to tie it up."

Campbell entered the game in the top of the fourth and struck out each batter she faced in the frame en route to her 12th win of the year. Junior Leigh Streetman got the start and the no-decision after allowing three hits and the Southern Miss runs.

Senior right fielder Chandler Orr got the Blazers on the board with a two-out home run to left center in the bottom of the fifth inning. The home run marks her fourth of the year.

In the bottom of the sixth, senior center fielder Whitney Fletcher hit a solo home run of her own, also to left center and also her fourth of the year, to tie the game at 2-2.

The Blazers stranded a runner in the bottom of the seventh, sending the game into extras for the third time this season. Campbell got out of a jam in the top of the eighth, as Southern Miss got runners on second and third before she fielded an inning-ending grounder to first.

UAB went down in order in the bottom of the eighth, and sophomore second baseman Heather Pearson turned a double play to get the Blazers out of the top of the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth, junior designated player Kristen McGrath singled to short, but was stranded.

A grounder to freshman shortstop Caitlin Attfield, a Campbell strikeout and a grounder to sophomore Amy Dennis at third ended the top of the 10th.

In the bottom, Orr reached on a bloop single to center field before a bunt single by Attfield advanced her to second. With one out on the board, Fletcher reached on a fielder's choice, the Southern Miss defense attempting to get Attfield out at second, but she slid to the bag safely.

With the bases loaded, Armstrong fielded a bunt in front of the circle, and Orr sped home to score the game-winning run.

"We were definitely struggling to manufacture runs," Townsend said. "So when we had the opportunity with a runner on third, I really thought the bunt would get us across the plate. In games like this you just have to throw everything out, you just have to figure out what the easiest way to score is, and that was it."

UAB's last win in extras came on May 1, as the Blazers won their home finale, 7-4, in 13 innings over Jacksonville State.