#2 Chargers softball opens season with pair of wins

The second-ranked UAH softball team opened the new campaign with an offensive outburst, pushing past Stillman 14-9 before turning around to defeat Miles 12-2. The victory provides the Chargers with a season-opening win for the 17th consecutive year and gives the squad a 2-0 record to start the year.

In the two wins combined, the Chargers collected 36 hits and seven home runs on the day.

In the victory over Stillman, Kathryn Whitlock homered in her first three at-bats en route to driving in six of UAH's runs in the contest that saw all nine starters record at least one hit. In addition to Whitlock's 3-for-4 performance, six other Chargers recorded a pair of hits including Mary Kelley, Stephanie Needham, and Abby MacKay who all recorded a pair of RBI in the contest.

For the day, Whitlock finished with a team-best seven RBI while MacKay and Kelly both drove in four.

Needham and MacKay joined Whitlock in the long-ball display as both belted a homer to give the team five for the contest.

All of the Charger runs came in just two innings as the team scored four runs in its first trip to the plate in 2012, and the Blue and White added 10 more in the third to produce what was a 14-1 margin at the time.

UAH ended up needing those runs as Stillman would tack on a pair of runs in the fourth, four runs in the fifth, and another two in the seventh to produce the 14-9 final.

Whitney Toler (1-0) started the contest and pitched the first four innings, surrendering three runs and six hits while picking up a strikeout in earning the victory. Striking out two, Hannah Hogan tossed 2.1 innings, while Whitney Gilbert shut the door on Stillman with a pair of strikeouts in her two-thirds of an inning of work.

In the second contest of the day, the Chargers started things off in a big way once again as they scored five times in the first frame. Kelley had the big hit in the inning – one of three she would record in the Miles game – as she doubled home a pair of runs. The other two runs came on a pair of bases-loaded walks and a passed ball.

Kelley would finish the day impressively with four of her five hits being two-baggers.

The squad added two more runs in both the second and fourth innings, and a three-run sixth created the run-rule victory for the Chargers.

Scattering six hits, Gilbert (1-0) picked up the victory as she struck out six Miles batters while giving up two runs – only one of which was earned.

Kelli Long and MacKay both joined Kelley in picking up three hits in the game, and MacKay and Cortney McNett both picked up homers.

The Chargers will return to action on Wednesday when they take on Stillman once again, this time in the home opener at the Charger Softball Complex. First pitch for the doubleheader is slated for 1 p.m.