Feb. 6, 2013
HONOLULU, Hawaii--UAB will kick off the 2013 campaign at the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic, hosted by the University of Hawaii, on Thursday. The Classic features five teams and a total of 14 games that will be played over the three-day span. The Blazers will take on tough competition in their first two games, facing ranked opponents in No. 16 Washington and No. 23 Hawaii. UAB is also slated for matchups against SEC foe Ole Miss and St. Mary's.
Croft's One-Hitter Gives UAB A Win Over Hawai'i
Freshman pitcher Lindsey Croft threw a one-hitter to lead the UAB softball team to a 2-0 victory over Hawai'i on the second day of the Hawai'i Paradise Classic Friday evening. Earlier in the day the Blazers suffered a loss to No. 6 Oklahoma.
Starting Off Right
With just 13 years of competition under its belt, UAB has been able to post an impressive record in season openers. The Green and Gold has an impressive 9-4 record in season openers. The Blazers' only losses in season openers came in 2000 against Auburn, 2001 against Troy, 2009 against LSU and 2011 against Jacksonville State. Between 2002 and 2008 the Blazers were 7-0.
Washington ended the 2012 campaign 39-19 overall and 7-16 in the Pac-12. Currently, the Huskies are ranked No. 16 in the national polls.
This year, the Huskies are led by a trio of seniors, including outfielder Jerrin Fa'asua, and catchers Lindsay Monk and Shawna Wright.
Thursday's game marks the first-ever meeting between the two teams. The Blazers will be looking for their first win over a Pac-12 opponent.
Hawaii is currently ranked No. 23 in the nation in the NFCA Division I preseason poll and No. 25 in the ESPN.Com/USA Softball Top-25 preseason rankings. The Rainbow Wahine have been voted to win the 2013 Big West Softball title after spending 16 seasons competing in the WAC. In 2012, Hawaii used a 21-game win streak to win its fourth WAC title and earn its 10th bid to the NCAA Tournament, where the Rainbow Wahine were eliminated during regional play.
The Blazers currently lead the all-time series, 2-0. In the teams' last meeting, UAB won 2-0 on Feb. 9, 2009 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Scouting Ole Miss
Ole Miss wrapped up its 2012 season at 22-32 overall, and recorded a 7-21 mark in SEC action. The Rebels return five position players and two pitchers, and welcome nine newcomers to the lineup.
UAB owns a 1-0 advantage over Ole Miss, with the squads' lone meeting coming during the 2012 season. The Blazers bested the Rebels 3-0 on Feb. 19, 2011 in Clearwater, Fla.
Scouting St. Mary's
The Gaels closed out the 2012 campaign with a 26-23 overall mark and a Pacific Coast Softball Conference record of 15-4 for first place in the Coastal Division.
St. Mary's welcomes 10 newcomers to the roster, and return seven letterwinners. The Blazers trail the Gaels 2-0 in the all time series. The teams' last meeting was on Feb. 8, 2004 in Honolulu, Hawaii, also for the Paradise Classic. UAB dropped that contest 5-1.
The 2013 squad returns 15 letterwinners and four starting position players, including Conference USA Co-Newcomer of the Year Whitney Fletcher and C-USA All-Freshman Team selection Heather Pearson.
The Blazers return three pitchers from last season's 2012 NCAA Tournament team in senior Lauren Webster and juniors Lannah Campbell and Leigh Streetman. Junior Kristen McGrath returns as the squad's designated player. The Tampa, Fla. native blasted school record 14 homeruns last season, and started in 58 of 59 games in 2012. McGrath recorded a .311 batting average and a team-best 41 RBI.
Senior Kate Armstrong will anchor the Blazer defense, as the Vestavia Hills, Ala., native is expected to see time at both third and first base. Also at first base will be junior Megan McGrath, who recorded 23 appearances in 2012.
The Blazers welcome three newcomers to the roster in Caitlin Attfield, Kelly Britt, and Ashley Johnson. Expected to make an immediate impact, the freshman class features a shortstop in Attfield, a utility player in Britt, and a catcher in Johnson.
Pearson, who played shortstop a season ago, will now move to second base. A season ago, the redshirt sophomore recorded 66 at bats and a .333 on-base percentage. Behind the plate, senior Anna Kimbrell is expected to see the most playing time at catcher after seeing limited action a season ago.
Quest For 400
Head Coach Marla Townsend is only 20 wins away from her career milestone of 400 victories over her 14-year tenure at UAB. Townsend recorded win No. 300 during the 2010 season when the Blazers defeated C-USA foe Memphis 5-2, at home on May 1, 2010.
According to the schedule, this milestone is expected to also occur during league action.
C-USA Preseason Poll
The Blazers have been picked to finish fourth in this season's conference race. Tulsa was picked to win the league in 2013, while Houston was chosen to finish as the runner-up and UCF rounded out the top three.
Best Finish In C-USA History
With a record of 17-7 in league play, and sweeps in three C-USA series', the Blazers finished in a program-best second place in 2012. UAB swept rival Memphis, Marshall, and Southern Miss en route to its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Third-Straight NCAA Appearance
The UAB softball team achieved its third NCAA Championship bid in as many years in 2012. The Blazers received one of the tournament's 34 at-large invitations for the third year in a row.
UAB was one of four C-USA schools to compete in the NCAA tournament. C-USA regular season and tournament champion Tulsa also received a bid, as did Houston and UCF, who finished the league race in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
The Blazers competed in the Knoxville Regional, and suffered a pair of losses in the double-elimination tournament. UAB lost to Virginia Tech 4-1 before losing to regional host and then-No. 5 Tennessee 8-0.
The 2012 season was the third-straight year that the Blazers earned at least 30 wins and the sixth 30-win season in UAB lore. The Blazers earned their 30th win with a 8-0 win in five innings at UTEP on April 21.
In addition, UAB began conference play with a perfect 7-0 record, another first in school history. The Blazers swept back-to-back league series against then Memphis and Marshall, and won the first match in the series against Houston.
Outfielder Whitney Fletcher was named 2012 Conference USA Co-Newcomer of the Year and Heather Pearson was named to the All-Freshman Team. Mandy Lowman was named to the All-Conference USA First Team, while Whitney Fletcher, Catherine Crawford, Lannah Campbell, and Kristen McGrath earned second team honors. Additionally, Lowman and Crawford were named to the conference's all-academic team.
14 Years and Counting
The 2013 season marks the 14th year of competition for UAB softball. The Blazers have an all-time record of 380-377 (.502) and a Conference USA record of 145-144 (.502). UAB has recorded six 30-win seasons and reached eight conference tournaments, including reaching the 2002 championship game.