March 18, 2003
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. - Jacksonville State reliever Bobby Wynns retired UAB's two, three and four hitters in order in the top of the ninth to preserve a 6-4 Gamecock victory over the 27th-ranked Blazers in baseball action Tuesday evening at Rudy Abbott Field.
Jacksonville State (11-9, 6-3 Atlantic Sun) struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Third baseman Bobby Hicks doubled to right center, scoring center fielder Kerri Fair to put the Gamecocks up. Later in the inning, shortstop Evan Conley reached first on an error by UAB first baseman Daniel Hill, allowing Hicks to score. JSU led 2-0.
The Gamecocks took a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Fair grounded out to second base, allowing second baseman Brett Pettus to score. Hicks later hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring right fielder Shundell Russaw. JSU's final run of the inning came on a double to left center by first baseman Brian Haskins that scored left fielder Matt Ruckdeschel.
UAB cut the lead to 5-2 in the top of the seventh inning when left fielder Mitch Jones scored on a wild pitch by Josh Forrest.
Jacksonville State answered with a run in the bottom of the seventh on a single to right field by designated hitter Danny Civello that allowed Ruckdeschel to score his second run of the game.
The Blazers again cut into the JSU lead with two runs in the top of the eighth inning. With the bases loaded, catcher Eugene Rodriguez got an infield single that allowed Hill to score. Drew Connell, who was pinch hitting for shortstop Josh Miljavac, then reached on an error by Conley, allowing right fielder Matt Womble to score.
Gamecock starter John Chamblee (1-0) picked up the win after working five shut-out innings and surrendering only two hits. He walked two and struck out one. Wynns pitched two scoreless innings, allowed two hits and recorded two strikeouts.
Blazer starter Chris Thorup (1-1) took the loss in his second start of the year after working four innings and allowing four runs, two of which were earned, on four hits. He walked two and struck out three. Jeff Brown came on in relief of Thorup and pitched an inning. He allowed one run on two hits, gave up a walk and had a strikeout. Cody Cillo pitched the final two innings and allowed one run, which was unearned, on three hits. He walked none and struck out three.
Overall, the Blazers tallied five errors to Jacksonville State's three. Half of both teams' total runs were unearned.
"We gave away too many at bats early," said UAB head coach Larry Giangrosso. "We didn't play our game tonight and I am very disappointed in the way we played. I am proud of our guys for the run they made, but when you don't play well early, you set a tone and we just couldn't overcome it. The game was won and lost really in the first few innings because we didn't get enough good, quality at bats. I thought Cody (Cillo) came in and did a pretty good job, but other than that, we just didn't play well."
UAB (17-4, 2-1 Conference USA) travels to Tampa, Fla. for a three-game Conference USA series against South Florida, beginning Friday at 7 p.m. (ET).