Memphis Holds Off UAB to Advance in C-USA Championship
May 8, 2008
For Immediate Release
No. 9 Memphis (25-29) 014 200 1 - 8 14 2 No. 8 UAB (24-35) 113 001 0 - 6 8 1 WP: Bossom (11-15) LP: Harris (10-14) HR: (MEM) Kassner (6), Rowan (6)
HOUSTON, Texas - For the second-straight year, the University of Memphis softball team earned a victory to open the Conference USA Championship. The ninth seeded Tigers held off No. 8 UAB, 8-6, on Thursday at the Cougar Softball Stadium.
Sophomore Leigh Rowan led the U of M with a 3-for-4 performance, including a three-run homer in the third inning. It is her second three hit performance of the year. Freshman Kailey Kassner also had two RBI in the game, including a solo home run in the second inning.
The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Tigers (25-29), which tied a program record. Memphis compiled 14 hits in the game with eight of nine starters recording a hit and eight different players scoring a run. It is the eighth time this season Memphis has reached the 10 hit mark. The season high is 18 against Alabama A&M.
"We haven't had a great year," said Memphis head coach Windy Thees. "It's been a real struggle for us. We've had some key injuries along with a lot of people just pressing. But they came into this tournament knowing that this is a brand new game. We just have to take it one game at a time. If we show up and play our A game, we can compete with everybody in this conference."
Freshman RHP Kimber Bossom improves to 11-15 on the year and matched her career high with eight strikeouts. She allowed four earned runs on six hits with three walks.
"Kimber probably threw the best she's thrown in her career at Memphis," Thees said. "I know she's had a no-hitter and some shutouts, but as far as what she did in the heat and battling and coming through when we needed the big strikeouts, she really performed amazingly."
UAB took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, scoring an unearned run on a single and two Memphis errors. The Tigers evened the score in the top of the second on a solo home run to center field by Kassner. But the Blazers regained its one-run lead in the bottom of the inning after Cameron Skates led off with the first of three UAB doubles.
An RBI single by Tori Gross and Rowan's three-run shot down the left line gave Memphis its first lead in the top of the third. Rowan's dinger was the 47th of the year for Memphis, tying a program record by equaling the team's mark last season. The Tigers hit the homers in seven fewer games from last year.
The Blazers came right back to knot the game at five with three runs in the bottom of the third. Holly Krzan and Andrea Rogers hit back-to-back doubles down the left line to begin the inning, and Kayla Harris had an RBI single.
The Tigers scored two runs in the fourth inning to take a lead it never again relinquished. Senior Lindsay Kelso and Kassner had RBI singles in the inning.
UAB stranded the bases loaded in the sixth inning after scoring a run to draw within one of the Tigers. But Bossom pitched out of the jam and pitched a perfect seventh to preserve the victory.
Kayla Harris (10-14) suffered the loss for UAB after pitching the final four innings. Harris allowed three runs on eight hits after replacing starter Jennifer Nelson who pitched three innings with five runs allowed.
Memphis is now 15-1 when scoring six runs or more this season. The only loss came in a 12-11 defeat to East Carolina last month.
"We hit as good as we have all year all the way through the lineup," Thees said. "I was very proud of how they stuck with that."
The U of M advances to play No. 1 Houston later in the day at approximately 5:30 p.m. in the single elimination tournament. The Cougars are ranked No. 9/11 nationally and earned the conference regular season title with a 21-2 league mark and 48-8 overall.
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