April 1, 2006
RUSTON, La. - The UAB offense responded after a one-run performance Friday night, pounding out 16 hits and eights runs in game two of a weekend series against Louisiana Tech. However, the Bulldogs managed to score 11, defeating the Blazers, 11-8, at J.C. Love Field on Saturday afternoon.
This loss is the seventh in a row for UAB, and drops its season record to 13-15 on the season. This is the third straight game that head coach Larry Giangrosso's squad has surged to an early lead, only to have the advantage not be enough for a win.
Lyle Northington took the loss for UAB, throwing his shortest outing of the year. The left-hander from Detroit, Ala., lasted only 1.2 innings, allowing seven earned runs. Northington struck out one Bulldog hitter, but was chased in the second.
Ben Styes relieved him, and hurled 2.2 frames while the offense continued to close the gap against Louisiana Tech. Styes struck out one, and was touched up for two runs in his time on the mound. Jacob Legg was next in line for the UAB bullpen, and the crafty lefty kept the Blazers alive. Legg tossed 3.1 innings, allowing only three hits while punching out one. Drew Murray closed it out in the ninth, striking out one batter to end the frame.
The Blazer bats were live on Saturday, as the offense pounded out 16 hits. Eight players managed at least one hit, with six hitters having at least two. Ryne Lovdahl and Zac Ward had the biggest days, as both contributed three hits, while Lovdahl had two RBIs.
The Blazers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second, scoring on four consecutive hits. John Wayne Donahue
ripped a single to left center to open the inning, and Ward followed with a single through the left side. Billy Lichtner
than hammered a line drive into left center to load the bases with no outs. Lovdahl broke the ice, singling to right center to score Donahue and Ward and make it 2-0 UAB. Lichtner would then score on a groundout by Levi Patmon
, to push the margin to 3-0.
The Bulldogs roared back, as they pushed seven runs across in their half of the second inning. Louisiana Tech had seven hits in the frame, including a grand slam by starting pitcher Jerricho Jones.
Two innings later, UAB would chip away at the 7-3 lead, scoring two runs to make it 7-5. Hits by Jorge Gutierrez and Steven Turner started things off, and they were sacrificed into scoring position by Ryan Metcalf. Sawyer plated Gutierrez with an RBI groundout, and Donahue singled home Turner to end the rally.
Louisiana Tech answered again, generating two runs to nullify UAB's attempt to cut into the deficit. The Blazers quickly responded, pushing three runs across in their next at bat to bring the game closer.
Lovdahl doubled to open the sixth, and came around to score when Gutierrez welcomed new Bulldog pitcher Alan Knotts with a line drive over the left field wall, the second home run of the year for the junior from Miami, Fla.
Before the Blazers got a chance to get back into the dugout, Turner hammered a 0-2 fastball deep over the wall in left center for back-to-back homeruns. Turner's first bomb of the season had the score almost even at 9-8.
Louisiana Tech added two insurance runs in the ninth to make it 11-8, and the Blazers failed to complete the comeback, as they were retired in the ninth by closer Steve Alverson to end the game.
The final game of the weekend series is Sunday at 1 p.m. Jim Crew will take the hill for the Blazers. For complete post game coverage check www.uabsports.com. For live stats during the game, go to www.latechsports.com.