Blazers Drop C-USA Opener To UCF, 8-0

John Frost finished 2-for-4 with a triple

March 22, 2013

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB baseball team was unable to muster up anything offensively against UCF ace Ben Lively on Friday night, as the Knights clipped the Blazers, 8-0, at Young Memorial Field.

The two clubs will square off for game two of the three-game series on Saturday, with first pitch moved up to 12 p.m. CT due to possible inclement weather in the Birmingham area. David Crane will call the game action, as fans can tune into WJOX-AM 690 on their radio dials to hear the action.

UAB (9-12, 0-1 C-USA) totaled seven hits in the loss, with five coming from the top three hitters. Ryan Prinzing continued to swing a hot stick in the leadoff slot, going 2-for-4, while John Frost laced two hits, including a triple.

Lively (5-1) produced a standout outing for UCF (15-9, 1-0), going eight shutout innings, yielding seven hits and recording nine strikeouts.  The right-hander only walked one batter and forced the Blazers to strand eight base runners.

"(Ben Lively) is really good and he's got a chance to pitch in the big leagues. His fastball command was unbelievable. We almost had to be perfect against him,” head coach Brian Shoop said.

UCF jumped on the Blazers in the top of the first, but southpaw Sam Kelley (1-1) was able to dodge serious damage. Leadoff hitter JoMarcos Woods drew a walk and advanced all the way to third on a squib hit by James Vasquez to put Knights on the corners with no outs.  Erik Hempe brought home the first run of the game on a sac fly to right.

Kelley escaped further damage by getting two more fly outs, with UCF leading 1-0 after a half inning of play.

The Knights threatened again in the top of the fourth against Kelley as they loaded the bases with one out, ending the day for the lefty as UAB went to the bullpen calling on righty Cory Eller.

Eller, who fell behind 2-1 in the count to Woods, recorded the pitcher's favorite play, and inning-ending 1-2-3 double play to get out of the jam.

UCF continued to put pressure on the Blazers, as it put runners on first and second with no outs in the fifth. But, Eller induced his second double play in as many innings appearing to escape another Knights’ threat. However,  Parker Webster just missed a homer, clubbing a two-run double off the wall in left field to break the game open in the fifth.

Chase Davis kept the Blazers within three runs in the top of the sixth, with an over-the-shoulder catch in straight-away centerfield with two outs and the bases loaded off the bat of Chris Taladay.

UAB threatened to score in the bottom of the sixth, as Frost broke up a string of 10-straight batters retired with a triple to center, but was stranded.

In the seventh, the Blazers appeared to have something going with two outs as they put runners on second and third after Tanner Bryant doubled with Harry Clark on first. Lively was able gear up and escape UAB's threat with a strikeout to keep a three-run lead intact.

Leading 3-0, Hempe connected for a bases-clearing triple to highlight a four-run top of the eighth inning for the Knights.  UCF tacked on a run in the ninth to round out the scoring.