March 8, 2014
Box Score (PDF)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB baseball team used a five-run fifth inning to earn a 6-4 victory against Middle Tennessee on Saturday afternoon at Regions Field. With the win, UAB evens the three-game series against Conference USA foe Middle Tennessee.
“It was a very important game,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “Every day is important because every game counts the same. They are all big. They are all important.”
UAB (12-3, 1-1) plated five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull ahead and held on for the rest of the contest. Middle Tennessee (5-8, 1-1) walked in the first two runs, before surrendering a three RBI double to redshirt junior catcher Tyler Mims.
“The league is so close,” added Shoop. “There are going to be so many close and competitive games. It’s just going to be the norm because everyone is good.”
Freshman left-handed pitcher Thomas Lowery earned the win for UAB, pitching 4.0 innings of relief, allowing two earning runs, and striking out a career-best five. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Adam Lau came on for the final out and earned his second save of 2014.
Middle Tennessee pulled ahead early, tacking on one run in the top of the first inning. Blue Raiders senior outfielder Trent Miller hit an RBI double to score one run and give the visitors an early advantage.
UAB closed the gap in the bottom of the second. With the bases loaded, redshirt junior infielder Matt Morse drew a walk to score classmate Jeff Schalk and tie the game.
Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Johnny Lieske started the game for the Blazers, but only went 1.1 innings after giving up two hits and an earned run. Lowery filled in spectacularly, holding the Blue Raiders off the scoreboard for three straight innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, UAB struck again and took the lead for good. Schalk and sophomore infielder Evan Peterson each drew bases-loaded walks to score two runners and give the host team a 3-1 lead. Mims then came up to bat and cleared the bases with a double down the left field line, giving UAB a 6-1 advantage.
The visiting Blue Raiders tallied two runs off Lowery in the sixth inning and senior left-handed pitcher Turner Lee was called in relief. Lee got the team out of the jam, forcing two MT fly outs to end the frame.
In the top of the ninth inning, MT junior infielder Austin Bryant doubled down the right field line to plate the Blue Raiders’ fourth run of the day. After Lee hit a Blue Raiders player with a pitch, Lau was brought in for the final out. The Madison Ala. native walked the first batter to load the bases, but struck out Miller to preserve the win.
The three-game Conference USA series will be decided on Sunday afternoon at Regions Field. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.
Notes: Freshman left-handed pitcher Thomas Lowery earned his first collegiate victory after striking out a career-high five batters … Redshirt junior catcher Tyler Mims set a new career-best with three RBI against Middle Tennessee … Redshirt sophomore outfielder Griffin Gum had his fourth multi-hit game of the year on Saturday … Senior outfielder Ivan De Jesus extended his hitting streak to six games, one shy of his longest streak of 2014.
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