Feb. 27, 2011
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- You wouldn't have known John Frost started the season in an 0-for-13 slump by watching him swing the bat on Sunday.
The Blazer first baseman nearly homered twice but settled for a pair of hits, including the ninth-inning game-winner as the UAB baseball team completed a three-game sweep of Xavier with a 7-6 win at Young Memorial Field.
After a leadoff single from Jamal Austin, an infield hit by Patrick Palmeiro and a walk by Ryan Ussery, Frost came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth. He sent a deep fly ball over the head of Xavier right fielder Danny Rinck that one-hopped the wall and scored Austin from third.
That hit completed a late-inning comeback for UAB (4-3), which trailed Xavier (2-4) by a score of 5-2 through six frames. The victory finished off the Blazers' first sweep since taking three games from Western Illinois in March of last season.
"On Friday we pitched really well. Yesterday we pitched and hit. Today we kind of got lucky," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "I'm happy we hung in there and got the win, but we try to be more process-oriented than outcome-oriented, and the process was not very good today. But it's hard to sweep a series, and Xavier is a good team."
The seventh inning is when UAB grabbed the momentum in Sunday's game, with a little help from the Musketeers. Xavier reliever Markus Kuykendoll walked two batters and hit a third to load the bases with no outs. A Nick Crawford RBI groundout plated one run, and a chopper by Austin over the outstretched arm of Xavier first baseman Ben Thomas scored two more to even the score at 5-5.
The teams then traded runs in the eighth inning, but Ben Bullard retired Xavier in order in the ninth -- his fourth full inning of relief -- to give UAB a chance to win in its final at-bat.
Bullard earned his first win of the season, allowing one run on four hits in 4.1 innings out of the bullpen. Xavier reliever Seth Willoughby pitched the ninth inning and suffered the loss for the Musketeers.
Xavier built its lead by scoring three early runs against UAB starter Michael Busby and then adding two more in the fifth inning. The lead could have been more, but UAB turned double plays with the bases loaded to get out of both the second and third frames.
The Blazers, meanwhile, plated their two early runs in the third on an RBI groundout from Busby and a run-scoring single by Palmeiro.
Palmeiro finished 3-for-5 on the day, including a key eighth-inning triple that helped UAB answer Xavier's run earlier in the eighth. Austin also collected three hits, while Frost reached base three times and busted out of his slump in the second inning with a double off the center field wall.
Xavier's Brian Bruening led the Musketeers with three hits on the day, while John McCambridge, Phil Bauer and Ryan Bellamy added two each.
The Blazers will continue their nine-game home stand on Tuesday with a midweek contest against in-state foe Jacksonville State. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. CT at Young Memorial Field.