UAB Softball win C-USA Tourney opener

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. –Junior Issa Brown hit a two run pinch-hit home run in the sixth inning to lift No. 2 seed UAB to a 3-0 victory against seventh-seeded Memphis in the first round of the 2012 Conference USA Softball Championship on Thursday night at the UAB Softball Field.

The win advances UAB (37-19) to Friday's semifinal round against No. 3 seed Marshall, with the game scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

"Issa has good bat control and she makes really solid contact," UAB head coach Marla Townsend said. "We know she's going to get a ball into the outfield. I know that with her bat control to get us something deep."

UAB starter Lannah Campbell (15-6) tossed her ninth complete game and sixth shutout of the season to hold the Tigers (20-37) scoreless with just three hits.

"Lannah did a great job. She created 12 assists and fielded six ground balls herself," Townsend said. "She did a great job making them put the ball in play and chase balls that aren't necessarily strikes. She mixes it up so well."

Memphis pitcher Ellen Roberts retired 11 Blazer batters in a row, before Kristen McGrath ripped a double to right field in the bottom of the fifth inning. In the next at bat, Lauren Webster advanced pinch runner Tiffany Smith to third on a sacrifice bunt.

With the runner in scoring position, pinch hitter Issa Brown ripped an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall to give UAB a 2-0 lead. It was Brown's second pinch hit home run of the season.

"I was focused on have a quality at bat," Brown said. "That's what coach instills in us at practice. I was called on at the last moment. I came in from the bullpen to see Kristen get her hit and then they told me I was hitting."

Laura Curtis broke up Campbell's 12 consecutive outs with a double to left in the top of the sixth inning, but the Blazers returned the next batter to end the inning.

"It's huge to be at home to get the win," Townsend said. "We're looking forward to tomorrow."