Cullman Ala. - The second-ranked University of Alabama in Huntsville softball team fell to Valdosta State in a tightly-contest game, dropping a 4-3 decision in the winner's bracket final, but the Chargers then fought off elimination by rolling past North Alabama 13-2. The Chargers move to 42-8 on the season.
UAH will play Delta State on Saturday at 11 a.m. with a chance to play Valdosta State in the championship contest after the Lady Statesmen walked off against VSU on Friday afternoon.
UAH 13, North Alabama 2
The Chargers responded from the loss to Valdosta State in dominating form as the team pounded out 16 hits including three home runs against UNA.
The first of the three home runs came in the top of the first inning when GSC Freshman of the Year Tyler Harrison hit her fourth homer of the season – second of the tournament – to put the Chargers in front 2-0, and the team provided Whitney Toler (11-2) with a 4-0 lead after Haley Thompson and Kaitlyn Bannister recorded run-producing hits in the second and third innings, respectively.
After UNA tallied in the bottom of the third to make it 4-1, the Chargers would surge ahead to a 7-1 advantage with a three-run fourth frame as Mallory McNeal scored on aMacie Couey double, Brianna Sullivan came home on a passed ball, and Couey crossed the plate on a Victoria Frith RBI groundout.
Sullivan was especially impressive on the day, going a combined 7-for-7 in the two games, scoring three times and driving in a pair while stealing five bases.
The advantage was more than enough to provide Toler with her 11th win of the season as she exited the game after surrendering a solo home run with one out in the fifth that made it 7-2. The senior scattered five hits and struck out two in the contest before being lifted for Kimberly Jack who worked around a pair of hits in the final 2.1 innings.
UAH was not done scoring, however, as the team put the contest way out of reach with a six-run seventh that saw Bannister hit a two-run homer, Sullivan drive in a run, and Couey belt a three-run jack to produce the 13-2 final.
In addition to Sullivan's four-hit performance in the game, Harrison and Bannister both collected three hits in the contest while Couey and Frith both had a pair.
Valdosta State 4, UAH 3
Both teams recorded nine hits in this closely-contest game between the top two teams in the GSC, and it was Valdosta State that enjoyed the lead first as Fran Johnson homered in the second inning to put the No. 2 seed up 2-0.
UAH would respond with a run in the third when Harrison grounded out to score Frith, but after a scoreless fourth, VSU would go right back up by two when the team scored a run in the fifth.
That was answered by a Charger run in the bottom frame when Bannister singled through the right side to drive in Couey, and UAH tied the contest in the sixth when Sullivan knocked in Mallory McNeal on a base hit to right.
With one out in the top of the seventh, however, Shelby Altman would unknot the affair with a solo shot down the leftfield line, and the VSU shortstop would make a terrific play when with one out and a runner at third in the bottom of the seventh, she made a leaping snag of a hard-hit Frith liner and then threw to third to double off the runner there, ending the game and insuring her team a position in the championship contest.
UAH stole eight bases in the game, moving the team's season total to 204.
Courtesy: UAH Media