HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Top-ranked Alabama-Huntsville passed its first test of what will be several contests against nationally-ranked opponents this season on Friday afternoon, defeating visiting No. 13 Indianapolis by a 5-2 score at the Charger Softball Complex. The win keeps the Chargers perfect at 9-0 on the season while the Greyhounds drop to 4-1.
It was the long ball that once again helped UAH to victory in this one.
With the Chargers trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third and with runners at first and third, Stephanie Needham sent the 2-1 pitch way over the right field fence to plate Kelli Long and Mary Kelley giving the Blue and White a 3-1 advantage.
Needham has now homered in five consecutive games.
The Greyhounds tacked on another run in the top of the fifth to pull within one, but another long fly and some small ball helped provide insurance for the home team in its half of the sixth.
Recording her fourth home run of the season, Kathryn Whitlock led the inning off with a blast to left to reclaim the two-run advantage.
Then after being plunked for the fourth time in this young season, Sam Deep stole second and moved to third on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Kellie Johnson, allowing herself to score when Mallory McNeal singled into right to put UAH by the 5-2 final.
Whitney Toler (5-0) earned her fifth consecutive win to open the season as she scattered seven hits in her seven innings of work while giving up just one walk and striking out four.
She received a fantastic play of defensive support in the top of the seventh with the Greyhounds having runners at first and second as catcher Cortney McNett caught an Indianapolis runner hanging too far off of the bag at second, firing a strike to the bag for the second out of the inning.
On the afternoon, UAH outhit Indianapolis by an 8-7 margin thanks in part to Needham’s perfect 3-for-3 day at the dish. The four-hole hitter Abby MacKay was 2-for-3 to give UAH five of its hits from the third and fourth positions in the lineup.
Jennifer DeMotte (4-1) picked up the loss for the Greyhounds, while she also drove in a run offensively. Casey Williamson knocked in the other run for the visitors.