March 29, 2011
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HOOVER, Ala. -- Patrick Palmeiro homered and drove in two runs Tuesday night for the UAB baseball team, which scored four times in the seventh inning on the way to a 5-1 victory over No. 21 Alabama at Regions Park.
David Hayes and Mark McKinley controlled the game on the mound as the Blazers snapped Alabama's seven-game winning streak and held an opponent to two or fewer runs for the fourth consecutive game.
"David is able to cut his fastball in on right-handed hitters with his change up running away from them, and he was very effective with that tonight," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "Mark has been good for us, and he was again. When you throw strikes and defend, you give yourself a chance."
UAB (14-10) earned a split of the season series with Alabama (18-8) and defeated the Crimson Tide for the third time in four meetings over the past two years.
An RBI single by Palmeiro in the first inning accounted for the only scoring until Alabama pushed a run across in the in the top of the seventh.
After holding the Crimson Tide scoreless through the first six frames, Hayes finally ran into some trouble in the seventh. Josh Rosecrans doubled with one out and came around to score on a single from Andrew Miller as Alabama knotted the game at 1-1. McKinley then came out of the bullpen to record a pair flyouts and keep the game tied.
Just as quickly as Alabama drawn even, UAB took its lead back. Palmeiro led off the bottom of the seventh with a towering homer to left center field, and the Blazers went on to score three more times. Run-scoring singles from Harry Clark and Ryan Ussery along with an RBI groundout from Jamal Austin gave UAB its four-run advantage.
"It's been a while since we've had a big inning," Shoop said. "It used to be a game where you had to have big innings, but now you're trying to scratch out runs however you can. Now when you get a big inning, you almost have a stranglehold on the game. It was nice to get one."
McKinley finished off the last two innings, allowing just one more Alabama base runner, to earn his second win of the year. Hayes wound up with a no-decision but pitched a career-high 6.1 innings, scattering six hits.
Alabama starter Trey Pilkington took the loss. He held UAB to just one run through the first six innings but was charged with three of the Blazers' four runs in the seventh. Two of those runs scored after Brett Whitaker came on in relief.
Rosecrans led all players with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate for Alabama, while Palmeiro and Ussery each collected a pair of hits for UAB. Palmeiro's home run was his team-leading third of the season, and the third baseman also continues to pace the Blazers in RBI with 17.
Defensively, UAB played its 10th error-free game of the season. The Blazers have committed just one error in their past five games.
UAB returns to Young Memorial Field this weekend for a three-game Conference USA series against East Carolina. The action gets underway Friday with a 6:30 p.m. CT first pitch.