March 12, 2006
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Zac Ward had five RBIs as the Blazers hit three home runs to defeat Rider 11-7 on Sunday to complete a sweep of the weekend series between the two schools. The Blazers have now won seven straight, while their season record climbed to 12-4 with the win.
Jacob Legg picked up his first win of the season, pitching 1.2 innings in relief of starter Jim Crew. Legg kept UAB ahead, striking out one while allowing one run during his outing. Crew battled for head coach Larry Giangrosso in his start today, going 3.2 innings and striking out four. The sophomore held down the Rider attack to two runs, and was lifted in the fourth by Legg. Mitch Thorn, Grant Addison and Drew Murray all contributed out of the bullpen for the Blazers.
Ward continued his assault on opposing pitchers, having another perfect day at the plate. The junior from Hartselle, Ala., went 2-for-2 on the day, with a home run and five RBIs. He has now reached base safely in 11 out of his last 12 at bats at leads the team in batting average and RBIs. Ryne Lovdahl hit his third home run of the weekend, while Jorge Gutierrez hit his first homer of the year, and line drive missile over the left field wall. Steven Turner also had two hits on the day, and Danny Sawyer extended his hitting streak to a team-high nine games with an RBI double in the right center field gap in the first inning.
Rider scored in their first at bat, taking a short lived lead as the green and gold plated four runs in their half of the inning, reclaiming the lead for the rest of the ballgame. Levi Patmon
walked to begin the inning, and was quickly brought around when Sawyer ripped a line drive into right center for a double, tying the game at 1. After a walk to John Wayne Donahue
, Ward hit a sac fly to give UAB its first lead. Phillip Bell
reached on an error, and Ryan Metcalf
was hit by a pitch to push another run across and make it 3-1. Gutierrez would coax a walk of his own with the bases loaded, scoring Lovdahl to give UAB a 4-1 advantage.
The Broncs would close the margin to 4-2, but that would be short lived as UAB would continue their offensive onslaught. In the bottom of the fourth, the Blazers added to their lead when Gutierrez took a hanging curveball and deposited it over the left field wall for his first home run of the year. Turner would single shortly after, setting the table for the big bats in the order. Two more Blazers reached on a hit by pitch and walk, and Ward was next to be pegged, sending Turner home and making it 6-2. Bell kept the carousel going, taking a curveball of the shoulder to bring another run home.
The green and gold saw Rider chip away again, scoring one run in the top of the fifth to make it 7-3. UAB responded again, as a Ward two-RBI single highlighted the inning. The Blazer would close out the scoring in the bottom of the eighth, as Ward and Lovdahl went back-to-back, blasting home runs to push the lead to its final 11-7 margin.
UAB will host SEC power Mississippi State on Tuesday at Young Memorial Field, as the Blazer will look to win their eight game in a row. Follow the game online with gametracker, which is available on UAB's website, www.uabsports.com.