The 22nd-ranked University of Alabama in Huntsville softball team dispatched of visiting West Alabama on Sunday, picking up a 9-1 win in the first game and a 5-2 decision in the nightcap. With the wins, Head Coach Les Stuedeman earned her 800th career victory – all of which have come at UAH.
The Chargers now sit at 39-12 (21-7 Gulf South Conference), and West Alabama drops to 31-21 (15-13 GSC).
Stuedeman last reached a milestone on April 9, 2010, when she earned win No. 700, and the victory on Sunday marked the second time that she has reached a new plateau against West Alabama as she earned her 600th win on March 29, 2008 against the Tigers.
Entering the season as the second winningest active coach in Division II, Stuedeman becomes just the 19th coach in Division II history to win 800 games. She is the second coach this season to reach the milestone as Grand Valley State's Doug Woods captured his 800th on April 13.
The Chargers had to hang on to produce the big victory, forcing the Tigers to leave the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning of the nightcap.
With just one out, Whitney Toler (17-6) received some support from her defense as third baseman Deanna White snagged a hard liner off the bat of UWA leadoff batter Tamara Vickers for the second out of the frame, and Toler proceeded to then slam the door on the comeback effort as she struck out Stephanie Shoup to end the game.
Toler picked up the complete-game victory and worked around nine hits, giving up just the two runs – only one of which was earned. She struck out seven in the contest and did not issue a free pass.
After falling behind on the unearned run in the top half of the first, the Chargers responded immediately as Kathryn Whitlock hit a sacrifice fly to score Kelli Long, and Cortney McNett put the home team on top with a two-out single.
With the score still 2-1 in the bottom of the third of the second contest, Whitlock picked up her second RBI of the game as her ground out plated Mary Kelley to pad the lead at 3-1.
The Tigers added a run in their half of the fourth to cut the UAH advantage to 3-2, but the Chargers picked up some key insurance in the sixth as Meagan Billingsley singled in Jordyn Fones and then came into score when the UWA infield committed a miscue on what would have been the third out of the inning.
Kristin Skinner (13-8) went the distance in the contest to pick up the loss as her team was unable to capitalize on outhitting UAH 9-7 in the affair.
The hosts held the advantage in the hit column in the day's first game, picking up eight compared to UWA's 1, and that helped the squad build up a 4-1 lead after the first three innings.
Stephanie Needham was big for the Chargers in the game, and she started the scoring off with an RBI double in the bottom of the first that plated Long, and Needham came around to score when McNett singled later in the frame. Abby MacKay and Billingsley drove in the two runs in the fourth to produce the 4-1 advantage.
The Chargers biggest inning of the contest came in the fourth when Kelley and Needham recorded back-to-back jacks. Kelley's was a two-run shot that scored Long, and Needham's solo blast was the 17th of the season for the senior.
UAH added another pair of runs as Needham drove in two more in the fifth to end the game early. Needham went 3-for-3 for the game and drove in four runs while scoring twice.
Whitney Gilbert (17-5) threw all five innings, giving up just four hits and the one run while striking out a pair, and Jessica Brock (17-7) started the game for the visitors and was saddled with the loss.
The Chargers will return to action this weekend at the Gulf South Conference Tournament.