Huntsville, Ala. (uahchargers.com) The 13th-ranked University of Alabama in Huntsville softball team split its Friday doubleheader with the nation's top-ranked team, defeating Valdosta State 3-0 in the day's first game before falling 5-3 in the nightcap at Charger Park. UAH's record moves to 26-9 (15-6 Gulf South Conference), while VSU goes to 37-3 (20-2).
The two teams will wrap up the series with the rubber match on Saturday at Charger Park with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.
In the victory, it was a strong performance in the circle fromKimberly Jack along with a big three-run third inning and some fine defensive play that led the Chargers to the triumph.
Jack – who moved to 10-3 on the year with the decision – scattered just four hits while striking out five and walking just one, and she received some assistance especially from Brianna Sullivan who made a particularly nice play with a run-saving, running catch in left on a ball hit well by VSU leadoff batter Jaime Phillips to end the top of the fifth.
That play preserved UAH's 3-0 lead that it claimed in the third when Sullivan drove in the game's first run on a base hit through the left side that plated Victoria Crumpton before Kaitlyn Bannister hit her team-best ninth homer of the season with a two- run shot down the left field line.
The home run was just the sixth of the year allowed by VSU starting pitcher Caitlyn Calhoun who lost for only the second time this season, moving to 21-2.
Both Bannister and Sullivan had a pair of hits in the game, helping the Chargers outhit Valdosta State by a 5-4 margin.
In the second game, a pair of unearned runs proved to be the difference as Valdosta State jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the contest with a couple of runs in the fourth and three more in the sixth.
The Chargers did make the game interesting, however, as Emily Glover had a pair of hits including a three-run homer in the sixth that pulled the Chargers to within two while giving the sophomore her fourth long fly of the season.
Tyler Harrison picked up the loss in the circle for UAH, lasting five innings while allowing four hits and five runs, of which only three were earned. Glover pitched the last two frames, surrendering one hit and a walk while striking out one.