March 1, 2005
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- UAB's Cole Helms ripped a bases-loaded, game-winning single into left field in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Blazers to a 6-5 victory over Florida A&M on a frigid Tuesday night at Young Memorial Field. UAB (5-3) took a 5-3 lead into the top of the ninth, but the Rattlers (0-16) scored twice in that inning to force extra frames.
Dan Stucky started the game-winning rally in the bottom of the 11th when he was hit by a pitch leading off. Zac Ward followed with a sharp single to left field, and both runners advanced to second and third when Florida A&M pitcher Terrence Dorsey balked. After an intentional walk to Nathan McCorkle loaded the bases, Helms came through with a sinking line drive into left field which dropped in front of FAMU's David James for a walk-off RBI single.
Eric Roberts was outstanding in relief for the Blazers, pitching 3.0 innings and allowing just two hits while striking out five to pick up his first victory of the season. UAB used five pitchers in the game who combined to strike out 15 Florida A&M batters. Helms led the Blazers offensively, going 3-for-6 with two runs batted in.
Leading 2-1 after one inning of play, a two-out single through the left side of the infield courtesy of Stucky in the bottom of the second, scored Donny Muth who had walked and stolen second base.
Trailing by two runs, the Rattlers loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh. Brian Braxton led off with a single, then UAB's Jeff Brown retired the next two batters, but an error by Ward at third base kept the inning alive. After Kevin Clethen singled, James beat out a ground ball which deflected off the top of Brown's glove on the mound and allowed two runs to score, tying the game at three.
The Blazers would score twice in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to consecutive doubles by Seth Rollin
and Phillip Bell
. Bell had entered the game as a pinch-hitter and knocked in the go-ahead run in his first career at-bat.
The Rattlers put the tying run in scoring position in the top of the ninth inning. Michael Sweatt came through with a leadoff single, then moved to third when pinch hitter David Hampton doubled to left off UAB reliever Brandon Flaherty. With two on and no outs, the Blazers brought in Roberts who allowed an RBI single to Kevin Clethen, cutting UAB's lead to one run. Florida A&M went on to tie the game when a wilid throw from UAB catcher Muth trying to cut down a runner at second base got away from shortstop Ryan Metcalf and allowed pinch runner Edmond Bushnell to come around and tie the score at 5-5.
The Blazers and Rattlers will square off again on Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Young Memorial Field.