March 6, 2011
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The UAB baseball team jumped out to a 5-0 lead Sunday and held on for a 6-5 win over Cleveland State at Sammy Dunn Field in Vestavia Hills, Ala., as the Blazers completed a sweep of this weekend's rain-shortened, three-game series.
After winning both games of a Friday doubleheader and having Saturday's game cancelled by heavy rain, UAB (8-3) played Sunday's contest against Cleveland State (2-7) at Vestavia Hills High School because of its artificial turf playing surface.
UAB has now won seven games in a row, its longest streak since posting seven straight victories early in the 2006 season. The Blazers' 8-3 start to the season is also the program's best since 2006.
Sunday's game wasn't the most fundamentally sound contest of the season for UAB. The Blazers managed to win despite six walks, two hit batters and a season-high three errors. Cleveland State pitchers, however, walked 10 batters in the game.
"The outcome was fine, but the process was bad," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "I didn't think we did anything particularly well, and I feel like we won in spite of the way we performed. You can't get away with that very many times."
UAB scored single runs in each of the first three innings and then added two in the fourth on a single by Patrick Palmeiro to open up a five-run lead. Palmeiro leads the team with 14 RBI through 11 games.
UAB pitchers Blake Huddleston and David Hayes combined to keep Cleveland State off the scoreboard until the fifth when a UAB error opened the door for the Vikings to plate one run on an infield hit by Zach Thompson and another on a bases-loaded hit batter.
Cleveland State added another run in the sixth and UAB scored one an inning later to take a 6-3 lead into the eighth.
UAB reliever Ben Bullard, who had gotten out of a jam with three straight strikeouts in the seventh inning, faced another tough spot with runners at second and third and no outs in the top of the eighth. A pair of sacrifice flies from Anthony Sambula and Thompson cut UAB's lead to one run at 6-5.
Ryan Nance then came on to relieve Bullard with two runners on and two outs, inducing a fly ball to end the eighth inning and retiring the Vikings in order in the ninth to close it out. Nance picked up his second save of the season and has still yet to allow a run in 8.2 innings of work.
Huddleston took the win on a staff day on the mound for UAB. Cleveland State starter Travis Miller suffered the loss after surrendering all six Blazer runs in 6.1 innings.
UAB is now off until Wednesday when the Blazers will welcome Mississippi State to Young Memorial Field in midweek action. First pitch with the Bulldogs is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT.