March 24, 2012
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB baseball team scored three runs in the bottom of the first and that was all starter Ben Bullard would need as the righty went the distance firing a complete game to lead the Blazers past Marshall, 5-1, on Saturday afternoon at Young Memorial Field.
UAB improved to 15-9 and evened up its Conference USA record at 1-1. The loss puts Marshall at 10-12, 1-1 in league play.
Bullard (2-2) went all 9.0 innings for the Blazers, marking the first complete game effort by a UAB pitcher since Ryan Woolley recorded the feat last season vs. Rice (4/23/11).
The Decatur, Ala. native scattered five hits, allowed the lone Marshall run in the fourth, while walking one and fanning seven. Bullard retired the side in order in six of the nine frames he worked. At one point from the fifth through the ninth, he sent down 14 consecutive Thundering Herd batters.
The right-hander also set a career-high with 9.0 innings pitched, besting his 8.2 inning effort a week ago against Michigan when he struck out 15 batters.
The Blazer lineup got its licks in early, as the Green and Gold touched home three times in the bottom half of the first against Herd hurler Mike Mason (3-2).
The first eight batters of the inning all reached base, four of which were base hits. Michael Busby knocked in the first run with a single to center. Following a single by Jeff Schalk and a walk to Patrick Palmeiro, Tanner Bryant drew a free pass with the bases loaded to account for the second UAB run.
The third run came across on a balk by Mason with the sacks packed to give the Blazers an early 3-0 cushion.
Bullard sent the Herd down in order through the first three frames as only Alfredo Brito would reach on the only walk allowed by the UAB starter on the afternoon. Brito was quickly erased on a double play ball.
Nathan Gomez finally broke up Bullard's no-hit bid with two outs in the top of the fourth with a double to right. The next batter, Brito, knocked him in for the only run Marshall could muster against Bullard.
The Blazers tacked on some insurance runs in the sixth. Bryant successfully sacrificed two UAB base runners into scoring position, and the Blazers manufactured two more runs in the frame. First, Jacob German knocked in a run with a ground out and Keith DePew followed with a single to center to up the UAB lead to 5-1 and round out the scoring for the day.
As a team, UAB reached double digit hits for the 12th time in 2012 with 10 against the Marshall staff. John Frost and Palmeiro each recorded two hits apiece in the win to lead the charge.
The series rubber match will be played on Sunday at Young Memorial with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. CT. UAB will send right-hander Michael Busby (1-1) to the mound, while the Herd will counter with southpaw Wayland Moore (0-0).