Whitney Fletcher and the Blazers are set for their first NCAA Super Regional Appearance.
May 23, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— The UAB softball team continues its history-making run this weekend, traveling to the NCAA Super Regional in Gainesville, Fla., to face No. 2-seeded Florida on Saturday and Sunday.
First pitch of Saturday’s game is set for 1 p.m. ET at Pressley Stadium, and will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
Sunday’s game is set for an 11 a.m. CT start, with a third game to follow if necessary. Both games will be televised on ESPN.
Jeanne Zelasko (play-by-play) and Cheri Kempf (analyst) will be on the call in the Gainesville Super Regional.
Free audio will be available for each of UAB’s contests.
Follow @UABSoftball on Twitter for in-game updates.
All Session Adult Tickets—$15
All Session Children & Seniors Tickets—$10
Single Game Adult Tickets—$10
Single Game Children & Seniors—$7
UAB Wins Louisville Regional
Last weekend, UAB (40-17) defeated two nationally-ranked teams three times in the span of three days to win the NCAA Louisville Regional and advance to the Super Regionals for the first time in program history.
UAB faced UCLA in the opener and used a six-run third inning to come out on top, 6-3.
Senior center fielder Whitney Fletcher batted in a pair of runs before junior designated hitter Kristen McGrath hit a bases-clearing single up the middle to score two more. Senor right fielder Chandler Orr hit a two-run home run down the left field line to wrap up the Blazer scoring.
In the circle junior Lannah Campbell picked up the complete game win, striking out seven batters and only allowing two earned runs. Campbell set the Bruins down in order in the fourth and fifth innings before yielding only two hits in the final two frames.
Next, the Blazers used a pair of big innings to top regional host No. 15 seed Louisville, 7-4.
The Cardinals scored first, plating two runs in the top of the opening frame. UAB got on the board in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 2-1 on Orr’s RBI double.
Louisville extended its lead in the top of the fifth; plating two more runs on an infield single and a fielder’s choice.
In the bottom of the frame, UAB broke the game open as the Blazes loaded the bases on a walk and a pair of singles. Sophomore second baseman Heather Pearson was then walked to score a run and cut Louisville’s lead to 4-2.
Fletcher then hit a sacrifice fly to her counterpart in center field to score another run, while senior third baseman Kate Armstrong reached first on an error by Louisville’s second baseman that allowed the game-tying run to score.
UAB recorded its fourth run of the frame and took the lead on a single to center field by McGrath.
The Blazers escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth before Fletcher hit a two-run triple down the right field line to put the Blazers up, 7-4.
In the top of the seventh, Louisville threatened with a pair of runners in scoring position, but a grounder to third base ended the game and advanced the Blazers to the regional final against UCLA.
Campbell also picked up the win over the Cardinals, throwing six innings and striking out five.
The Bruins won the first game, 4-1, with the help of a four-run sixth inning, forcing the decisive game to decide the regional champion.
UAB scored in the bottom of the first, as Pearson was batted in on Armstrong’s double to left center.
In the top of the second, UCLA tied the game with an RBI single.
Neither side would plate a run until the top of the 11th, as B.B. Bennet was scored on a sacrifice fly. In the bottom, UAB countered as Fletcher scored Attfield with a sacrifice fly of her own.
In the top of the 12th, pitcher Leigh Streetman set the Bruins down in order with a popup to short and a pair of strikeouts. In the 13th, Streetman added two more strikeouts, one swinging and the other looking, to get out of a bases loaded jam.
Fletcher scored Pearson on a triple to right center with one out to win the game and advance UAB to its first Super Regional appearance in program history.
The No. 2 seeded Gators are 55-7 on the year and are the SEC regular season and tournament champions.
Florida played host to its NCAA Regional, and only allowed two runs as it topped Hampton in the opener and USF twice en route to the Super Regionals.
Against Hampton, Florida allowed one run in the opening frame before taking a 4-1 lead after the third. The Gators plated two runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth of the 7-1 win.
Florida then downed USF, 11-1, in five innings to advance to the regional final. Pitcher Hannah Rogers went the distance, allowing only one run in the top of the first.
In the Gainesville Regional Championship, Rogers pitched a three-hit shutout and the Gators used a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to defeat USF, 2-0.
Kelsey Stewart leads the team with a .392 batting average, while Lauren Haeger has hit 19 home runs and is slugging .713. In the circle, Hannah Rogers leads the pitching staff with a 31-5 record in 241.1 innings pitched. Rogers has struck out 277 batters.
This weekend marks the first meeting between UAB and Florida.
The Blazers have faced three teams from the SEC this season: Alabama (Feb. 19 and April 10), Mississippi State (March 26 and April 3) and Ole Miss (Feb. 8).
UAB is 2-3 against teams from the SEC this season with wins over Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
The winner of the Gainesville Super Regional will advance to play in the Women’s College World Series, May 30-June 5 in Oklahoma City.
UAB On TV
UAB is 2-0 in televised appearances this season, defeating UCF, 8-2, on March 10 before topping East Carolina, 2-1, at home on March 17. Both contests were televised by Fox Sports Net.
First To 40
With UAB’s 3-2 win over UCLA in the NCAA Louisville Regional Championship, the Blazers became the first UAB team to reach the 40-win milestone in program history.
Previously, UAB has reached 39 wins twice, in 2002 and 2001.
Fourth-Straight NCAA Appearance
UAB received one of the NCAA Tournament’s 34 at-large bids for the fourth consecutive season.
Joining the Blazers from Conference USA were Marshall (Lexington Regional), Houston (Austin Regional) and Tulsa (Lincoln Regional).
Last season, UAB competed in the Knoxville Regional, and suffered a pair of losses in the double-elimination tournament. The Blazers lost to Virginia Tech, 4-1, before losing to regional host and then-No. 5 Tennessee 8-0.
Four Regionals In Four Years
UAB has competed at a different regional site in each of its four years of competition in the NCAA Tournament.
In 2010, the Blazers competed in the Tuscaloosa Regional before traveling to the Athens Regional in 2011. In 2012, UAB competed in the Knoxville Regional and this season is set to compete in the Louisville Regional.
Before this season, UAB has only won two of six contests during the previous three trips. The Blazers topped Alcorn State, 10-1, in 2010 and held off Florida State in the first game of the regional in 2011, 2-0.
With three wins in the Louisville Regional, the Blazers are now 5-7 overall in NCAA Regional games.
Conference USA Regular Season Champions
UAB (40-17) finished the C-USA slate with a record of 19-4 to win its first regular-season title in program history.
En route, the Blazers swept five league opponents—UCF, Memphis, Southern Miss, UTEP and Marshall. UAB also took the series from East Carolina and Tulsa before taking the one win it needed on the road at Houston.
Scoring First, Scoring Often
On the season, UAB is 17-2 in games when it scores in the first inning. The Blazers are 33-6 on the year when they score first, and are 31-0 when leading after the sixth inning.
Fletcher Headlines NFCA All-Region Selections
Whitney Fletcher was tabbed to the NFCA All-Region (Mideast) First Team, while juniors Lannah Campbell and Kristen McGrath and freshman Caitlin Attfield each received second-team Mideast honors.
No Base Is Safe
Caitlin Attfield leads the team in stolen bases with 25 steals in 35 tries, which places her in eighth place in UAB’s single season top-10. Attfield is three steals away from Candice Hithe’s seventh-place mark, (28 stolen 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, one behind Leigh Walker (2005-08), who stole 24 bases in her career.
As a team, the Blazers have successfully stolen base 51 times in 57 games. UAB had 35 steals in all of last season.
Bats On Fire
In the last 10 games, Whitney Fletcher leads the team with a .368 batting average. She has 14 hits, three doubles, two triples, a home run and nine RBI.
Fletcher knocked in the game-winning run as UAB defeated UCLA, 3-2, in the NCAA Louisville Regional Championship.
UAB has hit 42 home runs on the year, including 12 from Kristen McGrath.
McGrath’s mark places her two 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 10 home runs on the season. Most recently, Kimbrell hit a two-RBI home run in UAB’s 7-3 win over Houston, which clinched the C-USA regular-season title.
We Love Free Bases
Anna Kimbrell has reached base 26 times this season by way of being hit by pitch to average 0.46 times per game. The mark is second most in Conference USA, and as of May 20, Kimbrell is fourth 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 28 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 12 times this season, fourth most in the league.
As a team, the Blazers have been hit by pitch 65 times.
Success in the Circle
The UAB pitching staff has posted the second-best ERA in Conference USA with a mark of 1.96. The Blazers have held their opponents to a .213 batting average, second best in the league, and allowed the fewest hits throughout the regular season.
The pitching staff has only walked 119 batters, which stood as a top-mark in Conference USA during the regular season.
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.
With a pair of triples during NCAA Regional action, Whitey Fletcher has surpassed the single-season record for triples with seven on the year.>Martina Landrum originally set the record at five in 2010.
Kristen McGrath is rapidly approaching Mandy Lowman’s (2009-12) school record for career home runs. Lowman hit 32 in four years, while McGrath has racked up 12 so far this season for a total of 31, 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 42 this season for a career total of 101, good for sixth place. She is currently two away from Andrea Rogers (2006-09) fifth place mark of 103. Lowman’s 126 RBI is UAB’s top mark.