1B John Frost plated the game-winner in the bottom of the 12th to defeat Alabama
March 27, 2012
HOOVER, Ala. -- John Frost's single to the right-center field gap scored the only run of the night Tuesday, plating Ivan De Jesus from second base as the UAB baseball team outlasted Alabama, 1-0, in 12 innings at Regions Park.
"I was trying to breathe, relax and square a ball up," Frost said. "I wanted to slow myself down and put a good swing on it. It's a great feeling to see everyone come out there and maul you at second base. But, no credit to me, the pitchers won that game for us. It was a great team win."
Frost's base knock was one of only six hits on the night for the Blazers (17-9), which survived despite going without a hit for the first six and one-third innings against Alabama starter Trey Pilkington. UAB freshman right fielder Jeff Schalk broke up that no-hit bid and finished with a game-high three hits, tying a personal best.
It marked the fourth time this season that the Blazers won in walk-off fashion and the second occassion it happened in extra innings. UAB defeated Ball State in 12 innings, by the same 1-0 score at Young Memorial Field on Feb. 25, 2012.
UAB's pitching staff was up to the challenge against the Crimson Tide, as each team matched zero for zero on the scoreboard through the first 11 innings. Five Blazer pitchers combined on the extra-inning shutout with Jacob German (3-0) throwing a scoreless top half of the 12th to earn the win.
German teamed with fellow relievers Chase Mallard, Dylan Munger and Ryan Nance to hold Alabama (9-16) to just three hits over the final seven innings in relief of Tanner Bryant. The Blazers' junior starter scattered seven hits in his four innings but kept the Crimson Tide from touching home.
The UAB staff totaled nine strikeouts without issuing walk in 12.0 total innings on the mound. Of the nine strikeouts, Mallard recorded four, which featured striking out the side in the sixth.
"Both sides pitching were fantastic. It was a well played, well pitched game," head coach Brian Shoop said. "You don't see too many nothing-nothing games into the 12th inning. I thought it was great atmosphere, a great crowd and it was a really good night for college baseball."
Each team had ample opportunities to cash in a run, as both squads stranded 11 base runners a piece. Alabama's chances came in the early portion of the contest as the 12-inning affair was the longest in the history of the series dating back to 1979.
Alabama would strand a pair of runners in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings against Bryant and Mallard. In the first three innings alone, the Tide had three base runners gunned down on the bases, including a pick off, attempting to stretch a single to a double and a caught stealing.
The Tide bullpen held its ground in the later part of the ball game versus the Blazer bats. Schalk roped singles in both the ninth and 11th innings. In each of those frames he moved into scoring position on sacrifice bunts from Michael Busby, which both followed intentional walks to Patrick Palmeiro. The relief pitching of Alabama silenced UAB, as the Green and Gold could not push across the game winner in either stanza.
The Blazers finally were able to break the levies and send home the winning run with a two-out rally in the 12th against Tide reliever Nathan Kennedy (0-1), who suffered the loss. De Jesus drew a walk and then stole second base before coming home on Frost's game winner.
UAB now hits the road for seven of its next eight games, starting this weekend with a three-game Conference USA series at East Carolina. The Blazers and Pirates get things started Friday with a 6 p.m. ET first pitch in Greenville, N.C.