BIRMINGHAM, AL -
UAB softball coach Marla Townsend is fresh off career wins numbers 450 and 451.
Now that the milestone is out of the way, the team's focus is on the Conference USA tournament in Boca Raton, Fla., starting Thursday.
The Blazers earned the No. 2 seed and will play the No. 7 seed Marshall in the first round, a team that has eliminated them the last two years.
"Whenever somebody beats you in a spot that's so big, it's big to pull out a win there," senior pitcher Lannah Campbell said. "I think going into this game we're going to take it with all seriousness."
Coming into the season, UAB was expected to be in this spot.
But those high expectations quickly disappeared when the Blazers managed only three wins through their first eleven ballgames.
UAB turned it around, and finished regular season strong, as the Conference USA runner-up.
"It's a marathon," Townsend said. "This is towards the end of the marathon where you want to sprint and you want to be your strongest. I feel like that's how we're playing."
"I feel like we're on the incline, going up," senior pitcher Leigh Streetman (Hueytown, Ala.) said. "We're not going to go back down. We started out kind of rough and now we're on the incline."
A CUSA tournament championship would be the first for the UAB program.
But this team's goal goes beyond conference, they also have an eye on the bigger picture.
"We have the second toughest non-conference strength of schedule that's helped us out a lot," Townsend said. "The NCAA tournament, we're sitting at number 31 in RPI, I feel like if we take care of business at conference tournament, then we should get that call Sunday night."