May 2, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--The UAB softball team will hit the road for the final time in the regular season this weekend, traveling to Houston for a three-game Conference USA series. Saturday's doubleheader is set for a 1 p.m. CT first pitch, while Sunday's regular-season finale will start at Noon CT.
Houston Edges UAB, 6-5, In Series Finale
The UAB softball team fell, 6-5, to the Houston Cougars in the series finale at the UAB Softball Field on Sunday afternoon. UAB falls to 20-13 overall and 7-2 in Conference USA, while Houston improves to 20-15 and 9-3 in league action.
What's At Stake
With a record of 18-2 in the league, UAB (35-13) sits at the top of the standings with a two game lead over Houston (17-4), and seeks to with the regular season for the first time in program history.
The Blazers need to win one game to secure a No. 1 seed in next week's Conference USA Championship in Tulsa, Okla., May 9-11, at the Collins Family Softball Complex. Houston would need to sweep UAB in order to knock the Blazers out of first place.
Last Time Out
On Tuesday and Wednesday, UAB picked up a three wins as the Blazers hosted their final games at the UAB Softball Field.
Junior designated player Kristen McGrath hit on a three-RBI home run in the bottom of the third inning as UAB defeated Chattanooga, 3-0, on Tuesday. Junior pitcher Lannah Campbell threw in all seven innings of the shutout in her 10th win of the year.
UAB picked up a second win over Chattanooga, 7-0, by forfeit.
The Blazers then came out on top in a record-setting home finale, as UAB outlasted Jacksonville State, 7-4, in 13 innings, courtesy of a two-out, three-RBI home run by senior catcher Anna Kimbrell.
UAB took a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first, as senior center fielder Whitney Fletcher scored freshman shortstop Caitlin Attfield on a double to right center. The Gamecocks countered with a solo home run in the top of the second, and neither side would score another run until the 11th inning.
Jacksonville State scored in the top of the 11th, 12th and 13th innings, and UAB countered with RBI by Kimbrell, Attfield and sophomore Amy Dennis.
With two outs, the score tied at 4-4 and runners on first and third, Kimbrell stepped up to the plate and hit a three-RBI home run to center field to end the game in UAB's favor.
In the circle, senior Lauren Webster threw 10.1 innings and struck out 10 batters, while Campbell entered in relief in with one out in the top of the 11th and was credited with the win.
The Cougars have won four of their last five contests, and last weekend capped their road schedule with a sweep of its series with Conference USA opponent Memphis.
Houston swept the doubleheader with a pair of 6-0 wins, with Holly Anderson leading the way with three RBI each game, while pitcher Diedre Outon struck out nine in the game two shutout.
In the finale, Houston out-hit Memphis, 14-10, as Anderson and Haley Outon led the way with two RBI apiece in the 7-4 win.
Anderson leads the Cougars with a .390 batting average, while H. Outon has hit 15 home runs on the year.
In the circle, pitcher Bailey Watts is 17-5 on the year with a 2.15 ERA in 143.1 innings.
UAB trails in the all-time series with Houston, 24-13. A season ago, the Blazers took one of three games at home against the Cougars.
In the first game, Lauren Webster hit a home run to left field to give UAB a 2-0 advantage before Houston got a run across on a home run of its own. Whitney Fletcher hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth to give UAB a 3-1 lead, and the Blazers outlasted a Cougar comeback try to win game one, 3-2.
Both the second and third games were also decided by one run, as UAB dropped game two, 2-1, before falling, 6-5, in the finale.
Next week, UAB returns to Tulsa, Okla., to compete in the Conference USA Championship, May 9-11, as either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed.
The championship bracket will be announced on Sunday, May 5, following the completion of the regular season.
In the most recent RPI poll, released on April 29, UAB sits at No. 36. The Blazers attained their highest ranking in program history at No. 30 on April 15.
The Blazers are ranked second highest in Conference USA, with Tulsa leading the league at No. 26.
On the season, UAB has picked up four wins over three teams in the RPI top-30, No. 9 Washington (Feb. 7), No. 30 Mississippi State (March 26) and No. 26 Tulsa (April 13-14).
Winning At Home
UAB rounded out the 2013 home schedule with a record of 18-3, the fewest losses at the UAB Softball Stadium in program history.
As the Blazers swept UTEP in their three-game conference series on April 20-21 to stretch their win streak to 11 consecutive home wins, UAB surpassed the previous program longest streak of 10 games, which was set during the 2002 campaign.
UAB is 10-1 on the year in C-USA games at the UAB Softball Field, and won 10-straight following the 7-4 win over East Carolina on March 16.
Scoring First, Scoring Often
On the season, UAB is 15-2 in games where it scores in the first inning. The Blazers are 31-4 on the year when they score first, and are 28-0 when leading after the sixth inning.
No Base Is Safe
Caitlin Attfield leads the team in stolen bases with 22 successes in 32 tries, which places her in eighth place in the single season top-10. Attfield is six steals away from Candice Hithe's seventh-place mark, in which she stole 28 bases in 2011.
Martina Landrum set the record for stolen bases in one season in 2009, when she had 38.
Attfield is now in ninth place in career stolen bases, two behind Leigh Walker (2005-08), who stole 24 bases in her career.
As a team, the Blazers have successfully stolen base 45 times in 48 games, while UAB stole 35 all of last season.
Bats On Fire
In the last 10 games, Caitlin Attfield leads the team with a blistering .571 batting average, with 16 hits, seven runs and three RBI.
Attfield's overall batting average, .378, also leads the team and is the third-highest mark in Conference USA.
UAB has hit 36 home runs on the year, which is tied for second-most in the conference with this weekend's opponent, Houston.
Kristen McGrath leads the team with 11 home runs, and sits in a tie for first place in league in home runs hit during conference play with six. McGrath's mark places her three away from tying the single season record for home runs, which she set at 14 during the 2012 campaign.
Also for the Blazers, Anna Kimbrell has hit nine home runs on the season.
We Love Free Bases
Anna Kimbrellhas reached base 23 times this season by way of being hit by pitch to average 0.48 times per game. The mark is second most in the conference, and as of April 29, Kimbrell is fifth in the nation in HBP per game.
The mark is a new single-season record, surpassing Amanda Allen's 21 from 2008. Through her career, Kimbrell has been hit 25 times, third-most in program history. Andrea Rogers (2006-09) and Allen (2008-09) each have been hit 31 times in their respective careers.
Chandler Orr has been hit by pitch 11 times this season, fourth most in the league.
As a team, the Blazers have been hit 57 times for the second most in conference.
Success in the Circle
The UAB pitching staff has posted the second best ERA in the conference with a mark of 1.96. The Blazers have held their opponents to a conference-best .196 batting average, and have allowed the fewest hits at 230.
The pitching staff has only walked 103 batters--also a top mark in C-USA.
In conference action, UAB's ERA is second lowest at 1.67. The Blazers' pitchers have held the opposing batting average to a league-best .184, while Campbell's own mark of .171 is also top in C-USA.
Streetman's opposing batting average is second best at 1.73, while Lauren Webster owns the third-lowest ERA in league action at 1.68.
Getting The Save
Pitcher Lannah Campbell leads the Blazers with six saves on the season. Most recently, she was credited with the save as she threw the final 2.2 innings of UAB's 7-2 win over UTEP on April 20.
The single-season record for saves is seven, set by Leigh Streetman in 2011.
UAB's pitching staff now holds the top-three spots in career saves, starting with Leigh Streetman's 12. Streetman picked up her first save this year when she pitched 2.1 innings in UAB's 2-0 win over UCF on March 9. Her second save of the season came in the series finale with Southern Miss on March 30, when she threw 3.0 innings and allowed no hits in the 2-0 win.
Webster, who picked up her seventh career save as UAB came back to beat Memphis, 7-5, on March 23, sits in a tie for second place all-time with Campbell, who has also posted seven.
The 2013 season marks the fourth-straight year that the Blazers earned at least 30 wins and the seventh 30-win season in UAB lore. The Blazers earned their 30th win on the road, topping Kennesaw State, 3-0, on April 25.
Kristen McGrath is nearing Mandy Lowman's (2009-12) school record for career home runs. Lowman hit 32 in four years, while McGrath has racked up 11 so far this season for a total of 30, and currently sits in second place in the record books.
McGrath has also entered the UAB top-10 all-time list in career RBI with 36 this season for a career total of 95, good for sixth place. She is currently eight away from Andrea Rogers (2006-09) fifth place mark of 103. Lowman's 126 RBI is UAB's top mark.
Head coach Marla Townsend reached 400 career wins on Friday, March 29, as UAB topped Southern Miss in a 1-0 shutout where pitcher Leigh Streetman threw her second no-hitter of the season.