Softball Drops Heart Breaker to UAB

Marshall softball concluded its 2011 campaign with a heart breaking 6-5 loss to UAB as the Thundering Herd will carry a 19-31-1 record into the Conference USA Championship next week.

A game that featured 20 combined hits and three lead changes saw UAB come out on top 6-5 after a suicide squeeze put the Blazers on top in the final frame. Marshall dropped to 5-17-1 in conference contests with the loss.

UAB (38-16, 17-6 C-USA) etched two runs in the opening frame with back-to-back hits from Caley Walden and Catherine Douglass, whose double down the right field line brought around Walden. Douglass then scored on a single down the right line from Kate Armstrong.

In the second Marshall opted to bring in Rachel Rillo for Andi Williamson in the circle. Armstrong haunted the Herd pitching staff again as she made it a 3-0 Blazers advantage in the third on a solo home run to left center.

Unwilling to be shutout, Marshall used a four hit, five run outing in the fourth to take command of the board at 5-3. Marshall hit around in the stanza with knocks from Alysia Hively, Jazmine Valle, Samantha Spurlock and Alianna Telles.

Spurlock finished the game with at a team-best 2-for-3 performance at the plate, also tallying one run scored and one RBI.

UAB burned through its bullpen as Alisha Smith was momentarily replaced by Lauren Webster only to call up Leigh Streetman to work its way out of the frame.

The plot thickened in the bottom of the fourth when Kayla Orr roped a single to right center that plated two and tied it up at 5-apiece.

In its second change in the circle Marshall used Natalee Pulver to close out the remainder of the contest after she came in during the bottom of the fifth. She garnered the loss for the Herd, dropping her to 9-15 while Streetman picked up her third win of the series with 3.2 frames worked and three strikeouts to improve to 15-7.

The game-deciding run came in the bottom of the seventh after pinch hitter Kristen McGrath laid down a suicide squeeze that allowed pinch runner Tiffany Smith score, unearned, to clinch the 6-5 UAB victory.  

Conference USA Championship
Hosted by East Carolina, the tournament will start on Thursday, May 12 at 11 a.m. and conclude on Saturday with a championship game slated for 1 p.m. It will be televised on CBS College Sports Network with GameTracker being provided for all contests.

No. 7 Marshall will face second-ranked Tulsa, with game times being announced later Sunday afternoon. Tournament information and tickets to the event can be found here.

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