HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A two-out run in the second inning would be the difference in the ballgame as the 14th-ranked University of Alabama in Huntsville softball team knocked off Barry by a 1-0 score in the winner's bracket of the NCAA South 2 Regional, advancing to Championship Sunday at Charger Park where UAH will need just one win to advance to the NCAA Super Regional. The Chargers improve to 41-15 on the year, while the Bucs drop to 33-19.
With two gone in the second, the lower portion of the UAH lineup went to work to produce the lone run of the game.
The six-hole batter Nicole Bobrowski drew a free pass and scooted on to second when Mallory McNeal displayed tremendous hustle in beating out a grounder to first base – one of two hits she would have in the game. With the runner in scoring position, Meagan Billingsley served a 1-2 pitch into left field, and Bobrowski scampered all the way home to produce the only run of the game.
Pitching was – quite obviously – the story of the game as UAH's Whitney Gilbert (14-7) and Kimberly Jack (8) held Barry to only two hits, while Alexis Yohe (19-8) surrendered just four hits to the Chargers.
The sixth-seeded Barry's best chance to inflict damage upon the Chargers came in the sixth when the Bucs led the inning off with a single and a walk to put runners at first and second with none out in the frame, and Head Coach Les Stuedeman then decided to bring in the de facto closer Jack to replace Gilbert.
The senior Gilbert was quite strong, giving up just two hits while striking out five and working around four walks.
To remove her team from the jam, Jack forced the first batter she faced to ground into a fielder's choice that allowed the Chargers to force the lead runner out at third. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, Jack then induced an easy groundball to first to end the inning.
The Chargers also had a strong chance to tack onto the lead in the bottom frame of the sixth, loading the bases but all three were stranded there by Yohe to keep the score at 1-0 in favor of the second-seeded hosts of this portion of the region bracket.
Jack then retired the Bucs in order in the seventh to close out the game.
UAH will await whichever team advances out of the loser's bracket, and play on Sunday is slated to begin at 1 p.m.
Courtesy: UAH Media Relations