Huntsville, Ala. - The University of Alabama in Huntsville softball team will close out the regular season this weekend as it hosts Union on Saturday before welcoming rival No. 10 North Alabama on Sunday with both doubleheaders slated for a 1 p.m. start. The Chargers enter the weekend on top of the Gulf South Conference standings with an overall mark of 33-13 and a GSC record of 21-6.
On Sunday, the team will also recognize its seven seniors – Meagan Billingsley, Whitney Gilbert, Kellie Johnson, Abby MacKay, Cortney McNett, Kathryn Whitlock and Hannah Woodruff – as the group will be playing their final regular season contests at Charger Park.
All four games are of great significance in both seeding for next week's GSC Softball Championship tournament and the NCAA South Regional after that.
Similarly, both twinbills feature tough competition starting with Union who has the second-toughest pitching staff in the GSC behind Shorter as the group owns a collective 2.05 ERA on the season. Brooke Thomas – the probable starter for the first game – owns a 2.51 mark with 86 strikeouts, while the second game's most likely starter Kelly Robey has a 1.64 ERA, 11 wins, and 145 strikeouts.
Thomas had an uncharacteristic day when the Chargers beat her 5-2 earlier in the season in Jackson as she issued five walks and lasted just two innings, but she also did not receive much help from the defense behind her as all four runs she gave up were unearned. UAH – led by Whitlock's pair – was able to collect nine hits against Robey, but the team was only able to score twice on an unearned tally and a run that scored on a wild pitch.
Offense, however, has been tough to come by for the Bulldogs as the team's batting average is just .262 leading to a scoring average of just under three runs per contest.
North Alabama, however, is the owner of the league's second-best team batting average at .345 – just one point off of Valdosta State's .345. The Lions have used that offense to run to the top of the ever-important NCAA regional rankings, and the team sits just three games out of first place in the conference with three more losses than UAH while matching the Blue and White's 21 conference wins.
That strong offense was unable to produce much in the way of runs in a 13-2 loss to the Chargers in Florence at the end of March despite recording eight hits, but the Lions used an eight-run second inning to record a 12-9 victory in the nightcap of that doubleheader.
Reigning GSC Player of the Week Brianna Sullivan was strong at the top of the UAH lineup in that first game as she picked up three hits and scored four times, and McNett – who currently paces the team with a .400 average at the plate – drove in five runs.
That pair of Chargers has helped UAH be the most prolific run-scoring team in the GSC with 329 runs scored on the season, and the team also ranks first in the conference in RBI with 313.
Courtesy UAH Media Relations