The softball team (11-10, 1-0) won its conference opener against the University of South Alabama in walk-off fashion on Friday at Allan Saxe Field. 

In the bottom of the seventh, after junior infielder Whitney Walton was intentionally walked, senior outfielder Laura Curry stepped up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs.

A Curry single went through the legs of South Alabama’s junior outfielder M.C. Nichols, bringing the final score to 10-9 in UTA’s favor.

“I was just looking for my pitch, and once I found it, I just went with it and just drove the ball up the middle,” Curry said. “Right before that, the call didn’t go our way so the game knows, it was just a matter of time for us to come back.”

UTA was first to score on the night after senior outfielder Bri Burchianti slapped a ground ball to left field that scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning.

UTA led 3-2 in the top of the fourth, but two errors that would have ended the inning proved costly as South Alabama scored seven runs and took a commanding 9-3 lead.

The Mavericks chipped away at the lead the rest of the game. UTA scored a run in the bottom of the fourth thanks to an error, scored three runs in the sixth and ultimately walked off in the bottom of the seventh.

Head coach Peejay Brun said her team did a good job slowing the game down after South Alabama scored seven runs in the fourth.

“When you have so much excitement and adrenaline kicking in, you know, your heart starts beating really fast, and it’s really easy to lose control,” Brun said. “The whole time we were just trying to focus on controlling our breathing and keeping things simple.”

Freshman relief pitcher Allie Gardiner helped shut down the Jaguars' bats in the later innings. After the fourth, Gardiner held South Alabama to only three hits and no runs.

The win snaps a four-game losing streak and is the Mavericks' second walk-off win in as many home games. The first walk-off victory came when UTA defeated the University of North Texas in extra innings on Feb. 27. 

The Mavericks will continue their three-game weekend series against South Alabama at 1 p.m. Saturday at Allan Saxe Field.

@MartinParedesJr

sports-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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