Blazers play well in Magic City Classic

By on March 5, 2013
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UAB started off play at in the Magic City Classic with a boom.

UAB played well despite the cold weather that caused cancellatiosn of several games. Kyle Thompson/Staff Photographer

UAB played well despite the cold weather that caused cancellatiosn of several games. Kyle Thompson/Staff Photographer

Senior catcher Anna Kimbrell hit her fifth home run of the season as UAB softball won its Magic City Classic opener, 4-1, over Nicholls State on Friday at the UAB Softball Field.

“We were a little rusty, haven’t played in 10 days, so obviously it took us a while to get going,” head coach Marla Townsend said. “There were some things we’ve been working on that we didn’t necessarily execute. I’m proud of them for battling through and coming up with some hits. We got the runs early, and Anna Kimbrell came back later in the game to get that home run to cap it off.”

The Blazers improve to 7-4 on the season, and Nicholls falls to 7-8 overall.

Senior pitcher Lauren Webster had 12 strikeouts on the day, with at least one in each of the first six innings, including three straight in the second. With the win, Webster improves to 3-1 on the season.

“I think Lauren pitched a great game,” Townsend said. “There are a lot of things that she’s been working on that she executed today. I’m glad we’re back out here. It’s a matter of just fixing a few little things we need to clean up.”

UAB got its first run across in the bottom of the first inning, as sophomore Amy Dennis was scored on junior Kristen McGrath’s grounder to short.

Senior Chandler Orr recorded the Blazers’ second run of the day when she was scored on an error by the Nicholls second basemen in the second inning.

Nicholls scored its lone run of the game in the fourth inning as Ashton Bennett ran home after a UAB defensive miscue at first base.

In the fourth inning, Kate Armstrong reached on an error by the Colonels’ third baseman and was brought home on a bunt single by Caitlin Attfield to put the Blazers up 3-1.

UAB’s final run of the game came in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Kimbrell hit a solo home run over the left field fence. Kimbrell now has hit a team-high five homers this season.

The Blazers then challenged in-state rival South Alabama. The UAB softball team lost to South Alabama, 8-2, in its second game of the Magic City Classic, hosted at the UAB Softball Field.

The Blazers fall to 7-5 on the year, while the Jaguars improve to 16-2.

UAB’s game against Samford, originally scheduled to follow the meeting with South Alabama, has been cancelled and will be rescheduled on a later date.

Senior catcher Anna Kimbrell recorded her team-leading sixth home run in the top of the fifth, blasting one over the right field fence to extend the game.

Freshman shortstop Caitlin Attfield recorded her seventh steal of the season during the sixth inning, and remains perfect on the year in attempts.

In the top of the seventh inning, Kimbrell and senior right fielder Chandler Orr reached base on consecutive hit-by-pitches as the Blazers attempted a comeback. Senior Hailey Glynn entered to inch run for Kimbrell, and was scored by freshman Kelly Britt, who singled to short for UAB’s second run of the game.

South Alabama jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, as the Blazers were plagued by a number of defensive miscues. The Jaguars would drive three more runs across the plate in the bottom of the third inning, and held the 8-0 advantage until the fifth frame.

In the circle, Jaguar pitcher Farish Beard threw a complete game and improves to 7-0, while junior Lannah Campbell threw 5.1 innings and is now 0-1 on the season.

The Blazers’ second game of the day, against Nicholls was cancelled.

The UAB softball team defeated Murray State, 2-0, in its final game of the Magic City Classic, co-hosted by UAB and Samford at the UAB Softball Field.

With the win, UAB improves to 8-5 on the year, while Murray State falls to 5-8. 

In the circle, senior pitcher Lauren Webster (4-1) threw a complete game for the fourth time this season, and recorded her third shutout. Webster also retired 14 batters for the second time this year. In two appearances this weekend, the senior struck out 26 batters in 14 innings and allowed only five hits.

“I was impressed with a number of performers today,” head coach Marla Townsend said. “Obviously, Lauren Webster going seven innings and getting 14 strikeouts is great. I thought she really mixed it up and did a great job.”

For Murray State, pitcher Shelby Kosmecki (3-5) gave up seven hits, and struck out three batters.

In the first four innings, and in five of six on the day, UAB’s leadoff hitter reached base. The Blazers were error free for the first time since defeating IUPUI on Feb. 17.

The Blazers scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning, as sophomore Heather Pearson reached base after being hit by pitch. Pearson was pushed to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Caitlin Attfield, and then advanced to third as sophomore Amy Dennis grounded out to the Racer pitcher. Pearson was sent home when senior Whitney Fletcher singled out to shortstop, and UAB went up, 1-0.

UAB scored its second run of the day in the bottom of the sixth frame as junior Kristen McGrath walked, and freshman Kelly Britt came in to pinch run. Britt was advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Anna Kimbrell, and speedily took third on the same play. Britt crossed home plate as junior Megan McGrath bunted in front of the pitcher.

“We had key executions on the sacrifice bunt by Anna Kimbrell who is slugging an outstanding percentage, and Kelly Britt’s base running was huge,” Townsend continued. “She makes the most out of every opportunity that comes to her. I’m just pleased with the overall team performance, and I like to see that we didn’t have any errors today.”

Attfield and Fletcher both successfully stole bases during the game. The freshman from Niagara Falls, N.Y., went three-for-three in stolen base attempts on the weekend and is a perfect eight-for-eight on the season.

Up next, UAB travels to Kennesaw, Ga., to take on Kennesaw State in a doubleheader on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET. Follow @UABSoftball on Twitter for in-game updates.

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