Feb. 26, 2010
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The UAB baseball team fell victim to a four-run ninth inning Friday as Ball State broke open a 5-5 tie on the way to a 9-5 victory in the first game of this weekend's series at Young Memorial Field.
UAB freshman designated hitter John Frost went 2-for-4 with three RBI to lead the Blazers offensively in just his second collegiate game.
The contest was back-and-forth with neither team able to gain a lead larger than one run until the ninth inning.
After back-to-back hits followed by an intentional walk of Ball State catcher Zach Dygert loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, the Cardinals broke through for two runs on a double from first baseman Ian Nielsen. Ball State later added two more runs on a passed ball and a Kirby Campbell sacrifice fly as the Cardinals grabbed a four-run lead that they finished off in the bottom of the ninth.
Seth Hobbs earned the win for Ball State after throwing one and a third scoreless innings of relief. He allowed two UAB base runners in the ninth on walks, but Morgan Coombs came out of the bullpen to induce a game-ending double play. Blake Huddleston took the loss for UAB.
"Today was another close game, and we're going to be in close games all year," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "We just have to figure out a way to win these types of games."
UAB and Ball State resume their four-game weekend series Saturday with a doubleheader at Noon CT. The teams will close the series with a single game Sunday at 1 p.m.
In Friday's game, Ball State scored single runs in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings before its four-run ninth.
UAB managed two runs in the first on an RBI double from Frost and added single runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings.
The Blazers' seventh-inning run, which came on a sacrifice fly from Frost, put UAB ahead 5-4 heading into the eighth. But a solo home run from Ball State left fielder Kory Benbow tied the game back up before the ninth.
UAB shortstop Jonathan Merritt matched Frost with two hits to lead UAB, while catcher Digger Towe walked four times in his five plate appearances. Nielsen and second baseman Kolbrin Vitek paced Ball State with three hits each.
UAB starting pitcher Shay Crawford went five innings and allowed four runs while notching eight of the Blazers' 13 strikeouts. Mitch Kloskowski came out of the bullpen to throw three strong innings in his first appearance in nearly a year because of injury. Kloskowski surrendered just one run on one hit and fanned four batters, including the first three he faced.