HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Scoring three runs in the sixth to take the lead in an exciting opening contest of the NCAA South 2 Regional for the team, the University of Alabama in Huntsville softball team defeated West Alabama 3-2 in front of more than 400 fans at Charger Park on Friday evening. The win improves the Chargers to 40-15 on the season, while UWA falls to 30-19.
UAH – who has now won at least 40 games in 17 of its 18 seasons of existence – will play sixth-seeded Barry in the winner's bracket contest at noon on Saturday, and the game will be carried on 97.7 The Zone in the Tennessee Valley.
Trailing 1-0 after Tamara Vickers doubled and later scored for the Tigers in the top of the sixth, UAH would immediately answer in its half of the frame.
Brianna Sullivan – who went 2-for-3 at the plate on the night – started the inning with a single down the left field line to snap what had been a streak of eight consecutive sat down by UWA starting pitcher Sarah Ray (17-8). Tying the contest up, Mary Kelley singled into center field, and the Tiger outfielder proceeded to misplay the ball, allowing it to roll all the way to fence to let Sullivan score.
With Kelley advancing two bags to third on the miscue, UAH was able to pull in front when Cortney McNett recorded her 65th RBI of the season on a sacrifice fly to deep center.
Two batters later with two outs in the inning, Abby MacKay kept the Chargers alive in the sixth with a single into center, and Hannah Woodruff proceeded to pull through in the clutch with a pinch-hit single that would plate MacKay who had moved into scoring position with a steal of second.
The run would prove quite important as UWA was able to scratch out a run in the top of the seventh, but Kimberly Jack (15-7) induced a pair of groundouts after the run scored to end the contest. The Gulf South Conference Freshman and Pitcher of the Year tossed the final two innings in relief of Whitney Gilbert who was strong, scattering four hits over five innings while allowing just the one run.
Easily the contest could have been tilted in West Alabama's favor much earlier in the contest as the Tigers put runners at first and second with none out in both the third and fourth innings, but the Charger defense would pull through and turn inning-ending double plays in both frames to not allow any scoring.
Both teams recorded seven hits in the contest with MacKay joining Sullivan with two for the Chargers.
UWA will play North Alabama in the first elimination game of the tournament on Saturday at approximately 2:30 p.m.
Courtesy: UAH Media Relations