March 27, 2007
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- UAB put up a seven-run fifth inning and led by as many as seven runs, however a five-run ninth inning by Samford lifted the Bulldogs to a 12-11 victory over the Blazers at Young Memorial Field Tuesday night. UAB freshman shortstop Jonathan Merritt was 2-for-4 in the game with three RBI. The two teams will play again on Wednesday at Samford's Joe Lee Griffin Field at 6 p.m.
Eight Blazers came around to score in the game with senior outfielder J.R. Bond crossing home plate three times to highlight his 2-for-3 performance.
Samford's Benji Waite earned the win on the mound for his first victory of the season, while UAB sophomore James Oliver (1-1) tallied the loss after allowing five runs, four earned, in 1.1 innings.
Bulldog closer Joseph Edens closed things out in the ninth to earn his seventh save of the season.
The Bulldogs were led by second baseman Parker Gargis who was 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI, while first baseman Garrett Rice came off the bench in the sixth and went 2-for-2 with two RBI on two doubles and with two runs scored.
Samford put up four runs in the first two innings to take an early 4-0 lead as Gargis' solo homer in the first got the high-scoring affair started and then the Bulldogs got three in the second to pull ahead early.
UAB came back with one run in the bottom of the second with Bond doubling to left to start the inning and then coming around to score on a on a fly out by junior designated hitter Billy Lichtner that ended with a throwing error on the Samford right fielder, Bear Burnett.
In the fifth, UAB blew the game open, manufacturing seven runs on five hits and one error, highlighted by a two-run double to left field by Merritt. In addition to Merritt, four other Blazers recorded RBI's in the inning as Bond, Lichtner, Shelley, and Bell each drove in one run to help open up an 11-4 UAB lead.
Seeming to be out of the ball game, Samford scored one in the sixth when Morgan walked to start the inning and then came in to score on an error by junior second baseman Tyler Rollin, who was attempting to finish a five-four-three double play that would've ended the inning.
Down 11-5, the Bulldogs made a little more noise in the eighth when one of Rice's two doubles put runners on second and third with no outs and then Gargis doubled home the two lead runners to make it 11-7.
Still down four, Samford came up in the ninth and again looked to Rice and one of his doubles to get the desperation rally going and he came through with a two-run double to left center. With Rice on base, Tripp Swann pinch hit for third baseman Bill Whitehead to represent the tying run and he turned on a 1-1 pitch, sending it over the right field wall to even the game at 11-11.
Not settling for a tie, Samford then got the go-ahead run across home plate on a Burnett sacrifice fly that scored center fielder Kyle Krebs.
Samford improves to 13-13 with the win, while UAB is now 12-14 and will look to earn the series split with the Bulldogs at 6 p.m. Wednesday night at Samford.