March 24, 2007
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Two big innings allowed UAB to run away with an 11-3 victory against the UNC Asheville Bulldogs at Young Memorial Field on Saturday. The Blazer win evens the series at 1-1, with the final game to be played Sunday at 1 p.m., and improves UAB's record to 12-12 on the year. Freshman left-hander Shay Crawford gave the Blazers a quality outing on the mound, however it was the bats that proved to be the difference, with senior outfielders J.R. Bond and Levi Patmon combining for five hits and three RBI.
Patmon was 2-for-3 with an RBI having played a little less than four innings, while Bond was 3-for-5 with two RBI.
Junior first baseman Ryan Keedy was 1-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored to improve on his team-long hitting streak of five games. Junior outfielder Phil Bell had three hits in the game and scored two runs, while senior third baseman Ryne Lovdahl had a game-high three RBI.
Crawford (2-1) earned the win on the mound for the Blazers after he lasted 6.1 innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out two, while issuing just one walk.
The Blazers backed-up Crawford by playing spectacular defense. Both Bell and sophomore outfielder Brint Hardy flashed some leather by making diving catches in the outfield, while freshman shortstop Jonathan Merritt made several difficult plays in the infield.
UNC Asheville (7-18) didn't get the outing it was looking for from right-hander Graham Baughn, who earned the loss after allowing seven runs on nine hits in 6.0 innings.
UNCA center fielder Rob Vernon was 3-for-5 on the day to lead all Bulldog hitters.
UAB jumped in front right away in the first inning after Patmon led off the inning with a single through the left side and then Bell beat out a bunt single to first base which allowed Lovdahl and Bond to single home Patmon and Bell, respectively.
Leading 2-0 in the bottom of the third, a bunt single by Bell made him the team's first base runner of the inning and then came around to score in the team's next at bat when Keedy ripped a triple to center field. The Blazers went on to post four runs in the third on three hits and two errors to jump out to a 6-0 lead.
Junior second baseman Tyler Rollin, who was 2-for-3 on the day, knocked a single through the left side and then stole second to get something going for the Blazers in the fourth. With Rollin in scoring position, Patmon came to the plate and drove Rollin home on an infield single to make it 7-0.
The Bulldogs scored their first run of the game in the sixth when third baseman Steve Burnich hit a one out double and then back-to-back singles by shortstop Matt Henson and first baseman Rob Locklear brought home the team's first run to make it 7-1.
Slowly chipping away at the UAB lead, UNC Asheville got another run in the seventh when designated hitter Cameron Duckworth singled to left center to drive home right fielder Brett Robinson.
With the Blazer lead cut to 7-2, the Bulldogs then pulled within four in the eighth when Vernon got himself in scoring position with a double to left center, moving Locklear up to third after he had been hit by a pitch. With two runners on and one out, second baseman Kyle Smith fouled out to Hardy in right field, however it was deep enough to allow Locklear to tag up at third and come home to make it 7-3.
UNC Asheville's run at a come back would fall short, however as the Blazers scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth, capped-off by two-run single to right field by Lovdahl to close out the 11-3 triumph.
The two teams will play the final game of the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Young Memorial Field.