March 3, 2006
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Heath Tapscott, Mitch Thorn and Drew Murray combined to throw nine innings of shutout ball on Friday night, but it wasn't enough as UAB was outlasted by Mercer 3-0 in 10 innings at Young Memorial Field.
The loss pushes the Blazers to 5-4 on the season, while Mercer's record moves to 10-5 with the win. Tapscott started the game for head coach Larry Giangrosso's squad and delivered his third stellar outing in a row., tossing six innings and allowing only two hits. The sophomore from Hartselle, Ala., also had four strikeouts on the night and induced 11 ground ball outs in the 18 batters he faced.
The Blazers could muster little offensively, as a trio of Mercer arms held the Blazers to five hits on the night. Levi Patmon continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 during the contest. Danny Sawyer and Jorge Gutierrez also added hits for the green and gold. Junior Zac Ward extended his hitting streak to a team high nine games, as he singled in the 10th to keep the streak alive.
The game remained a pitcher's duel throughout, as Tapscott and Mercer starter Brantley New went toe-to-toe the entire night. Both continued to retire hitters at a quick pace, with Tapscott using his infield defense to record outs during his six innings on the hill. New scattered three UAB hits, and summoned the strikeout whenever he needed to get out of a jam, punching out seven Blazers hitters.
Thorn took over for Tapscott, pitching two scoreless innings out of the UAB bullpen. Thorn struck out a Bear hitter and provided solid relief to keep the game knotted at 0. Murray emerged in the ninth, inducing two groundouts and getting a timely strikeout to retire a Mercer threat, keeping the score tied.
Runs would finally cross home in the top of the 10th, as Mercer used fundamental baseball combined with UAB miscues to put the first runs of the night on the board. After two hitters reached by error, a hit batsmen loaded the bases with no outs. A fielder's choice would plate the first run of the evening, giving Mercer the 1-0 lead. After a sacrifice fly and another fielder's choice, the Bears had stretched the lead to 3-0.
UAB would attempt to mount a comeback, as Ward lead off the bottom of the 10th with a single to right field. All hopes were quickly dashed by Mercer closer Andrew Urena, as he got Steven Turner to ground into a double play. The ballgame would end one batter later, as Urena induced a ground from Gutierrez to seal the victory for the visitors from Mercer.
Game two of the three game series is set to begin at 2 p.m. tomorrow. Senior Lyle Northington will take the mound tomorrow for UAB against Mercer's Hunter Abercrombie, as UAB looks to tie the weekend series at one.