Feb. 23, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- James Naile pitched eight solid innings to lead the Blazers to a 4-2 win over Xavier. UAB will go for the weekend sweep of the Musketeers Sunday afternoon at Young Memorial Field.
James Naile improved to 2-0 on Saturday afternoon after pitching eight innings while allowing two runs on six Xavier hits to earn the win. He had six strikeouts.
Naile got off to a rocky start giving up a leadoff double to Xavier’s Mark Elwell in the top of the first inning. Elwell would eventually come around to score on a single up the middle by catcher Derek Hesenbeck.
But the Blazers wouldn’t let that lead stand for long and came back with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Ivan De Jesus singled in Chase Davis, who led off the inning with a double down the right field line, to tie the game at one. After a bunt single by John Frost and a walk by Jeff Schalk, Tyler Mims hit a fly ball to right center which allowed De Jesus to tag up and score. The next batter flied out to right field to end the inning.
Both pitchers settled down over the next couple innings to keep it a one-run game heading to the fourth.
In the top of the fourth inning, Xavier’s Vinny Nittoli reached base on a one out single to center field. Patrick Paligraf followed that up with a double to right center that scored Nittoli and tied the game at two.
With the game still tied, 2-2, and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Tyler Mims had an infield single to put runners on first and second for the Blazers. Jacob German followed that up with a single to left field that scored Schalk, who was running on contact. With runners on the corners, German started for second and when the catcher threw to second, Mims broke for home. The Xavier shortstop cut off the throw and tried to get Mims out at home but the throw was errant allowing the Blazers to tack on another run. The next batter flied out to center to end the inning with UAB leading 4-2.
Naile seemed to get stronger as the game went on retiring the Xavier batters in order in his final four innings pitched.
“I think we had just a really special defensive game and had several people make great plays. And when you make plays defensively and don’t walk people it’s going to be hard for them to score and you’ll be in the game. And we did just enough offensively to get the win,” said Head Coach Brian Shoop
Cameron Rose finished out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to get the save and secure the Blazers win.
Xavier’s Jon Richard got the loss going six innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits.
Frost was the only Blazer to record multiple hits, going 3-for-4 on the afternoon. In this series, Frost has gone 5-for-7 with a walk, strikeout, and two runs scored.
“Frost swung the bat really well. He had a good first game to start the season and then he struggled. He had a great practice on Thursday and has now swung the bat well two days in a row. So he’s capable and we need him. He’s such a key component to our offense and we have a much better chance when he’s swinging well,” added Shoop.
The Blazers will try to complete the weekend sweep of the Musketeers on Sunday afternoon at Young Memorial Field. The first pitch is schedule for 12 p.m. CT.