Big Inning Propels Softball To Regional Final Game

Kristen McGrath went 3-for-3 with a run and an RBI on Saturday.

May 18, 2013

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LOUISVILLE, Ky.--The UAB softball team came back from a 4-1 deficit with four runs in the fifth inning and two in the sixth to defeat NCAA Regional host and Louisville, 7-4, on Saturday at Ulmer Stadium.

With the win, UAB (39-16) advances to its first regional final in program history and will play UCLA on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. with the opponent to be determined. The Bruins stayed alive with a pair of wins Saturday, eliminating both IPFW (8-0) and host Louisville (19-2), the No. 15 seed in the tournament.

The Blazers need just one win over the Bruins to advance to next week's Super Regionals while UCLA would have to win twice over UAB in order to move on. The Blazers defeated the Bruins Friday, 6-3, in opening round play.

UAB, who topped its second ranked opponent in two days, also has a chance to become the first team in program history to win 40 games with success on Sunday.

"First number I see on the stat sheet is 39. Early on, we made it a goal to get to 40 (wins)," head coach Marla Townsend said. "Then we had rainouts, obviously it took away game opportunities. But taking care of business came down to us being able to relax a little bit and let the other excellent teams battle it out. We will ice, relax and get back out here tomorrow and hope to be the best team on the field."

Senior center fielder Whitney Fletcher broke the UAB single-season triples record as she batted in a pair of insurance runs with her sixth triple of the year in the bottom of the sixth. In the circle, Lannah Campbell (14-5) picked up her second win in as many days as she entered in the second inning in relief of starter Lauren Webster and struck out five batters.

For Louisville, Rachel LeCoq (22-8) took the loss as she allowed 10 hits and six of UAB's runs.

Like the Blazers' regional opener with UCLA, the Cardinals scored first, as Alicja Wolny hit a two-RBI home run in the top of the opening frame.

UAB plated its first run of the day in the bottom of the fourth as senior right fielder Chandler Orr doubled to center field to score Kelly Britt from second and cut the Cardinals' lead to 2-1.

Louisville scored a pair of runs in the top of the fifth to stretch its lead to 4-1 before the Blazers mounted a comeback in the bottom of the frame.

Sophomore Hayley Davis, in to pinch hit, led things off as she drew a walk on four pitches, and was advanced to second as sophomore left fielder Amy Dennis singled up the middle. Freshman shortstop Caitlin Attfield loaded the bases with a single to her counterpart, and sophomore second baseman Heather Pearson was hit by pitch, advancing Davis to home and cutting Louisville's lead to 4-2.

Fletcher then hit a sacrifice fly for the first out of the frame, which scored Dennis from third to make the score 4-3. Senior third baseman Kate Armstrong reached on an error by the second baseman, which scored Attfield from second to tie the game at four runs apiece.

UAB took its first lead of the day, 5-4, as junior designated hitter Kristen McGrath recorded her third hit of the game to center field to score Pearson.

The Blazers would not relinquish their lead as UAB got out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the sixth. Louisville led off the frame with a single to right center, followed by an infield single. The runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch before Campbell intentionally walked Wolny to load the bases with two outs.

A flyout to Fletcher in center field ended the threat, and the Blazers scored two more runs off the Decatur, Ala., native's two-out, two-RBI triple in the bottom.

Louisville attempted a comeback in the top of the seventh, getting runners on first and third with two outs, but Dennis, who moved to play at third during the sixth, fielded a grounder to Armstrong at first base to end the game.