March 4, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The combination of Tanner Bryant and Chase Mallard held the Utah offense to just one unearned run as the UAB baseball team captured Sunday’s contest 7-1 at Young Memorial Field.
The win improved the Blazers to 8-3 on the season as they took two of three in the series with the Utes.
“It’s weird that we had three games and three very different wind patterns, which really affects the game,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “There was no way you were going to hit a ball over an outfielder’s head today, so we felt that runs were going to be at a premium. We didn’t want to walk people and give them opportunities.”
Things got off to a rough start for the Blazers as a pair of infield errors in the top of the first allowed Utah to cross home, which would turn out to be the only time it would tally a run all afternoon.
UAB responded in the bottom half of the frame by scoring three runs by the use of only one hit. Utah (2-9) righty Ben Mordini (0-3) struggled with his control, walking leadoff man Ryan Prinzing and plunking Coy Arrowood. After he fell behind Jeff Schalk 2-0, the Utes went to the bullpen and called on Josh Chapman.
Tyler Mims and Ivan De Jesus greeted Chapman by each knocking in a runner during the three-run first.
After escaping a bases loaded no out threat in the second and sending down the Utes in order in the third, Bryant found himself in trouble on the UAB mound. With runners on first and second with one out in the fourth, 9-hole hitter Tyson Gonzalez hit a tapper back to the mound that Bryant snared and fired home for the second out.
Following the play at the plate, UAB went to the bullpen and called on Chase Mallard. The righty would strike out leadoff hitter James Brooks with two runners on, to keep the Utes off the scoreboard.
“Once we got a lead with went with our best strike thrower and that is Chase Mallard. It was going to be hard for Utah to produce lots of runs with these elements,” Shoop said.
Mallard (1-0) was nearly flawless in his relief stint out of the pen. He would retire the first 11 batters he faced, giving up only two singles in the eighth to earn his first victory of the season. Mallard finished with four strikeouts and no walks in his appearance.
After scoring three in the first, UAB expanded its lead by tacking on single runs in the fourth, fifth and eight stanzas.
Offensively, the Blazers roped 11 hits in the contest, which featured two-hit games from De Jesus, Keith DePew and Todd Wilkinson.
Wilkinson posted his first multi-hit game of his career, finished 2-for-3 with a double, one RBI and a run scored. In fact, Wilkinson roped the only extra-base hit for either team in the contest.
De Jesus also added two RBI and two stolen bases to the box score.
The Blazers are back on the diamond this Tuesday with a trip to Troy, Ala. First pitch against the Troy Trojans is slated for 6 p.m. CT.