DENTON, Tx. — The CUSA Softball Tournament starts Wednesday afternoon on the campus of North Texas. UAB clinched the west division regular season champions and will be the number 2 overall seed behind the number 1 FAU team. This seeding earned UAB a first day bye and they will not play until Thursday at 4:30 pm. A slight change in format has happened this year as the first day will all be single elimination. While Thursday to the final will be played in a double elimination format.
Three Potential Opponents
The first two games on UAB’s side of the bracket will feature the three teams of: UTEP, FIU, and Southern Miss. UAB had great success against UTEP. On the weekend of April 23, the two teams faced off for out right first place in the west. UAB swept the weekend, 10-3, 9-6, 4-2, earning them the top spot in the west. If UAB gets to face UTEP again, look for the bats to be dominate as UTEP has an overall ERA of 5.24. If UTEP wins both games on Wednesday, UAB will either face Fifield or Pearson. Both pitchers have an ERA well over four. UAB put 13 runs up on Fifield facing her twice and seven on Peason the one time they faced her. UTEP has the third best batting average in the league at .309. However, they do have a powerful lineup that has produced 50 home runs (sevond in the league). UAB pitching will have to be on their game again to keep the ball in the park and let the defense go to work.
The second potential opponent would be FIU. UAB faced them in a series on the weekend of April 16. UAB won the series 2-1 (3-1 F/8, 9-1 F/5, 3-11). This was a very up-and-down weekend. It was either a pitcher’s duel, or everyone was getting a hit. UAB’s pitching staff looked dominate on the first day during the double-header, but FIU roughed up UAB on Sunday. FIU’s pitching staff is much better than UTEP’s with a 3.07 ERA. Depending on how the first day goes, UAB might be looking at facing Jenkins. She has an ERA of 3.81 and has done more work than most of the three starters. FIU could save her for relief and start their best pitcher, Kuglemann. She has an ERA of 1.81 and has struck out 54 in 84.0 innings pitched. UAB was up-and-down against her only putting up 5 hits and a run in the two times they faced her. FIU has the best batting average in all of CUSA at .325. They also hold the best on-base-percentage at .391. With UAB being third in conference in fielding percentage, look for the UAB defense to shine against a very good offense.
The final opponent is the No. 3 Southern Miss team. UAB faced them on the weekend of March 19th and took the series 2-1 (3-6, 7-1, 3-2). This was the first CUSA series and UAB was still finding their line up. None of the three line ups UAB used were similar to the one that will probably be turned in on Thursday. The line up used later in the season showed more success and has been pretty much the same for a few weeks now. Southern Miss has a team ERA of 3.65. UAB saw one starting pitcher all weekend, Block. UAB was able to put up 17 hits against her. Look for the late season UAB line up to do a lot more damage if they face her. Southern Miss is the least powerful of the three potential match ups. UAB and Southern Miss play very close styles more of a small ball approach.
¤ HOW TO WATCH ¤
All 3 games can be streamed via the CUSA Digital Network (with subscription):