March 1, 2014
Box Score (PDF)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB baseball team defeated Arkansas State, 3-1, on Saturday afternoon to clinch its third consecutive three-game series. UAB had not accomplished this feat since the 2012 season.
“Johnny, by far his best outing of the year,” head coach Brian Shoop stated. “That is what we saw most of the fall and winter. I thought he was, by far, his best today.”
Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Johnny Lieske registered his second victory of the season against Arkansas State (5-6) on Saturday. Lieske threw 5.2 scoreless innings, struck out four, and walked one.
Junior Chase Davis was 4-for-4 with an RBI, matching his career-high in hits. Senior outfielder Ivan De Jesus and junior first baseman Jeff Schalk each had two hits, as well. It marked De Jesus’ sixth game with multiple hits, while Schalk picked up a team-best two RBI on the day.
“Ivan De Jesus and Jeff Schalk have been here a long time,” commented Shoop. “We need them. It is very important. They have a big role on this team.”
For the third time in 2014, UAB (10-1) jumped out to an early lead by tacking on runs in the first inning of play. With two outs and the bases loaded, Schalk hit a single to left center field to plate two runs, giving UAB a 2-0 lead.
Lieske and the Blazers’ defense preserved the early advantage. The Machesney Park, Ill. native did not allow a base runner until the third inning. That threat quickly ended as Arkansas State grounded into a double play to end the inning.
In the fourth inning, the visitors posed another scoring opportunity. With men on second and third with one out, Arkansas State sophomore first baseman Matt Burgess lined a ball up the middle. UAB redshirt junior infielder Matt Morse made a diving play for the out and the next batter would fly out to center field to end the inning.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Thomas Lowery checked in for Lieske in the middle of the sixth inning. Despite allowing his first run of his collegiate career, Lowery held the lead for the Blazers. The Pelham, Ala. native went 3.0 innings and struck out three.
The UAB bats gave Lowery some support in the bottom of the eighth inning, plating an insurance run. With sophomore catcher Mitch Williams on second and two outs, Davis hit an RBI single to right field to give UAB a 3-1 lead.
Lowery forced the first two Red Wolves to ground out, before allowing a double and single, respectively, in the ninth inning. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Adam Lau came on for the final out of the game and forced redshirt senior designated hitter Zach Maggio to ground out to seal the contest. It marked Lau’s first save of the 2014 campaign.
The UAB baseball team and Arkansas State will complete their three-game set on Sunday afternoon at Regions Field. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.
Notes: The 2014 UAB baseball team won 10 of its first 11 games; the fastest UAB squad to reach 10 victories under head coach Brian Shoop … UAB clinched its third-consecutive three-game series against Arkansas State. It marked the first time the squad had done so since 2012 … Junior outfielder Chase Davis matched a career-best with four hits … Senior outfielder Ivan De Jesus has recorded multiple hits in six games, which leads the team.
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