March 23, 2014
Box Score (PDF)
HONOLULU, Hawaii – The UAB baseball team suffered a 3-2 setback in extra innings at Hawaii on Saturday night. Hawaii won the contest on a sacrifice fly in the 11th inning from sophomore outfielder Juliene Jones.
“It was probably a good game for fans to watch,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “I’m very disappointed. You certainly have to give credit to the Hawaii pitchers for keeping us off balance. I thought offensively we did a very poor job of making adjustments.”
Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Johnny Lieske started his seventh game of the year in the third contest of the four-game series. Lieske went 6.0 innings, gave up one earned run, allowed one hit, struck out a career-best eight, and walked four. The redshirt-junior right handed pitcher did not factor into the decision.
Hawaii (11-12, 0-0) looked to get on the board early on Saturday night. In the second inning, UH’s Jones drew a walk, and then advanced to third after an errant throw from Lieske on a pickoff attempt. With two outs and Jones on third, Rainbow Warriors junior catcher Trevor Podratz hit a ball up the middle. UAB sophomore infielder Adam Smith ran down the ball and made a spinning throw to junior first baseman Jeff Schalk to save the run and end the inning.
“Adam Smith was unbelievable,” added Shoop. “A couple of unbelievable plays. He has been really good for us. He has been one of the reasons we have had a pretty good start. Matt Morse has played well, too. Our infield defense has been a plus.”
For the third straight game, UAB (17-7, 4-2) was the first team to tally runs. Sophomore catcher Mitch Williams led off the third with a single up the middle. Williams moved over to second after a sacrifice bunt from redshirt junior infielder Matt Morse. The very next batter, Smith, reached on an infield single. Hawaii senior shortstop Austin Wobrock made a diving attempt on the play and made an errant throw in an attempt to get Smith. The throw allowed Williams to cross home, giving UAB a 1-0 advantage.
The Blazers would extend their lead in the following inning. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Griffin Gum was hit by a pitch, then stole second base. With two outs and Gum on second, Williams hit a base knock to center field, his second hit of the night. Hawaii junior center fielder Kaeo Aliviado came up throwing, looking to get Gum at home. Gum slid past the tag at home and extended his left arm to touch home. Gum’s run and Williams’ 13th RBI of the year would give UAB a 2-0 edge.
Hawaii threatened in the bottom of the fourth inning. Lieske walked the first two batters in the inning. The Machesney Park, Ill. native rallied and struck out the next three Rainbow Warriors to end the frame unscathed.
In the fifth inning Hawaii cut into the Blazers’ lead. Podratz led off the frame with a double to right center field, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Podratz scored after another wild pitch from Lieske, trimming UAB’s advantage to 2-1.
Lieske was replaced by freshman left-handed pitcher Thomas Lowery in the seventh inning. Lowery walked the first batter he saw, and then a double to Hawaii’s Podratz, which tied the contest.
Hawaii threatened to take the lead in the eighth inning. With runners on first and second and one out, UH’s Jones came up to bat. Jones hit a line drive to UAB’s Smith at shortstop. Smith leapt up, snagged the liner, and then threw out the runner at second to end the inning.
Great defending kept the Blazers in the contest in the ninth. With a runner on first and no outs and senior left-handed pitcher Turner Lee on the hill, Hawaii attempted a sacrifice bunt. Schalk ran in on the bunt and threw the lead runner out. On the next play, UH’s Wobrock hit a ground ball up the middle, Smith snagged it, tagged second, and threw Wobrock out to end the ninth and force extra innings.
The series finale at Hawaii will be played on Sunday afternoon. The game is set to begin at 6:05 p.m. CT in Honolulu.
Notes: For the third straight game, the UAB baseball team was the first to record runs … UAB played its second extra-inning game on Saturday … Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Johnny Lieske had a career-best eight strikeouts against the Rainbow Warriors … Sophomore catcher Mitch Williams collected his fourth multi-hit game of the year on Saturday night … Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing had his first double of the year at Hawaii.
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