March 16, 2012
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CONWAY, S.C. ---- Dillon Napoleon pitched seven shutout innings and the Blazer offense set season highs in runs and hits to cruise past Connecticut, 15-4, on Friday afternoon at Watson Stadium as part of the C.C. Classic hosted by Coastal Carolina.
UAB pounded out 18 hits in the victory, three each by Jacob German and Ryan Ussery, as the Blazers improved to 13-5 on the year.
The loss dropped the Huskies to 6-9.
Next up for the Blazers is a contest against Michigan at BB&T Park in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Saturday. Game time is slated 11 a.m. ET.
“We lost a game earlier in the year to Utah 11-0 and that loss wasn’t as bad as the score showed,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “Today we won 15-4 and it wasn’t as good as the final score looks. We had a lot of balls find holes and it was just one of those days.”
In the top of the second, the Blazers started the merry-go-round on offense as the Green and Gold scored seven times off six hits in the inning. It marked the most runs in a single inning since May 16, 2010, when UAB scored seven times in a frame against Tulane.
UAB loaded the bases with no outs as Jacob German knocked in a run in front of Tanner Bryant sending in two more on back-to-back singles. John Frost, Patrick Palmeiro, Tyler Mims and Ivan De Jesus all knocked in a run each as 12 batters hit in the inning, making it a short day for UConn starter Brian Ward (3-1).
“That was a really good arm we beat today,” Shoop said of Brian Ward. “He was 9-1 over the last two years (before today) and we had some really good quality at bats against him.”
The Blazers extended the lead in the fifth, 8-0, when Bryant launched a solo blast to left field for his first homer of his career.
In the sixth the Green and Gold tacked on three more runs as German knocked in his second run of the day and Ussery collected two RBI himself with a double to left.
After UAB plated two more in the top of the seventh, the Huskies finally got on the scoreboard, putting up four-sport in the last of the eighth.
The day’s scoring rounded out in the top of the ninth, thanks to a RBI single by German and sac fly by Wes Kent.
Napleon (3-1) notched his fourth quality start in five outings, blanking UConn through the first seven frames. The senior gutted out his performance, giving up five hits and four walks, while striking out three. Napoleon buckled down when he needed to as he forced the Huskies to strand five base runners and only allowed one UConn player to reach past second base.
“I didn’t think Nappy (Dillon Napoleon) was as sharp as I’ve seen him, but he competes every time out and he just finds a way,” Shoop said. “What a lesson for some of young guys to watch him pitch without his best stuff and give up no runs over seven innings.”
Six players recorded multi-hit games led by German’s 3-for-5 day with three RBI and Ussery’s three hits and two RBI.
Bryant finished 2-for-4 with a homer, three runs scored and three RBI, while Coy Arrowood, Keith DePew and Ryan Prinzing each chipped in a pair of hits.