March 10, 2007
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - UAB pulled off an extra-inning come-from-behind victory for the second time this season Saturday afternoon, this time at the expense of the Furman Paladins, who let a ninth inning lead slip away as the Blazers won 5-4 in 10 innings at Young Memorial Field. Senior first baseman Ryne Lovdahl was 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI, including the game-winner on a no-out RBI single to left field.
The Blazers improve to 6-8 with the win, while Furman's struggles continue as the Paladins are now 3-9 and have lost their last five games by a combined nine runs.
Lovdahl hit a home run for the second-straight game on Saturday, while junior Ryan Keedy also went long, hitting his first career home run at UAB. For the day, Keedy was 1-for-1 with four walks.
Senior outfielder Levi Patmon also had a strong day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with one RBI that tied the game in the ninth.
Junior right-hander Brandon Wallace earned his first victory of the season on the mound after pitching one scoreless inning in which he allowed no hits and struck out one batter. UAB's starter, freshman southpaw Shay Crawford gave the team a quality start, throwing 6.0 innings in which he allowed just three earned runs, while matching his career-high with four strikeouts.
Furman's Nick Hollstegge recorded the loss after he threw 1.2 innings and allowed two earned runs.
The Paladins were led offensively by shortstop Spence Gibbs who was 4-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored.
Furman had its fair share of chances in the game, leaving a total of 12 runners left on base, compared to UAB's seven.
The Blazers were the first to score on Saturday, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning after junior outfielder Phil Bell got on base by singling to left center field and then advancing to second on a wild pitch. After Keedy walked to give the Blazers runners at first and second, Lovdahl dug in and took a 1-0 pitch through the left side to score Bell from second.
Furman got on the board and took the lead in the third when a pair of Paladin singles and some aggressive base running helped the team get two runs across to score and take a 2-1 lead.
In the fifth, the Paladins added another run to their lead when three consecutive singles by Gibbs, third baseman Bobby Hubbard and designated hitter Tony Maccani contributed to Gibbs coming around to score and make it 3-1.
The Blazers responded in the sixth however, tying the game at 3-3 on back-to-back homers to left field by Keedy and Lovdahl.
The game remained tied at three heading into the ninth inning when Hubbard got on base on an error that also allowed him to advance to second. A couple batters later, catcher Nicholas Karow came up and lined a run-scoring single to center field to take a 4-3 lead.
After UAB got out of the top half of the ninth with no further damage, the Blazers came up for their final chance to extend the game and saw their first two batters go down. With two out and nobody on, senior catcher Danny Sawyer stepped in and singled through the left side and keep the game alive.
Sophomore Brint Hardy came in to pinch run for Sawyer at first and senior Steven Turner came up to bat for the would be batter, freshman shortstop Jonathan Merritt. Turner took the first pitch he saw for a strike to allow Hardy to steal second and then was hit by the second pitch he saw to put two-one with two-out for Patmon.
Just like on opening day against Central Michigan, Patmon delivered, singling to left-center field to score Hardy and tie the game at 4-4, sending the game in to extra innings.
Wallace sent the Paladins down in order in the top of the 10th which allowed UAB to quickly come back to bat with momentum in their favor. Keedy led-off the UAB 10th by drawing a walk and then stealing second. With Keedy in scoring position, Lovdahl locked in on a full-count pitch and hit it to left field to score Keedy and give the Blazers the 5-4 triumph.
The two teams will play the final game of the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Young Memorial Field.