Patrick Palmeiro played a big role in UAB's strong defensive effort Friday.
Feb. 25, 2011
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The UAB baseball team scored the only runs starting pitcher Dillon Napoleon needed in the first two innings Friday as the Blazers opened this weekend's series with a 4-2 win over Xavier at Young Memorial Field.
Napoleon earned the first win of his UAB career, working seven innings and allowing two runs on five hits before handing the ball over to Ryan Nance, who worked a scoreless final two innings for the save.
"We pitched and defended really well," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "Dillon was good again, and Ryan was good again. We made some really special plays in the field, and you're going to be in games when you can pitch and defend."
UAB (2-3) and Xavier (2-2) will continue this weekend's three-game series Saturday with a 2 p.m. CT first pitch.
The Blazers wasted no time finding the scoreboard on Friday, pushing two runs across in the first inning on a two-out RBI single from designated hitter Michael Busby. They then added two more in the second, plating the first when Harry Clark came home to score following a single from Nance and a Xavier error and scoring the second on a single by Jamal Austin to grab a 4-0 lead.
UAB collected four of its eight hits in those first two innings and didn't score over the final seven frames, but it didn't have to.
Napoleon surrendered only one hit through the first four innings before Xavier got to him for single runs in the fifth and sixth. The UAB right-hander struck out six batters and now owns 11 strikeouts and just one walk in 13.0 innings this spring.
Nance then came in from left field to take the mound in the eighth inning and held the Musketeers without a hit in both the eighth and ninth. Through three appearances and 5.1 innings this season, Nance has allowed only two hits and has yet to give up a run.
Other than the two innings in which they scored, the Musketeers managed to get just one runner to second base. Part of that was due to the Blazer defense, which committed only one error. Patrick Palmeiro made a pair of nice plays at third base in the second and third innings, and Nick Crawford went deep in the hole at shortstop and forced a runner at second in the seventh inning to keep Xavier out of scoring position.
"I'm pleased with the win, but I'm not pleased with our offensive production again," Shoop said. "We have to get better at the plate."
Xavier's John McCambridge and Patrick Paligraf drove in the two Musketeer runs as five Xavier players accounted for the team's five hits.
Busby led UAB offensively with three singles in three trips to the plate, while Jamal Austin notched a pair of hits.