April 1, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. ---- UAB starter Michael Busby held the No. 30 East Carolina lineup in check into the 8th inning, but the Pirates rallied to tie the game in the ninth and eventually won, 6-5, on a walk-off sac fly from Ben Fultz in the 13th on Sunday.
The loss dropped the Blazers to 17-12 overall and 2-4 in Conference USA action, while the Pirates improved to 19-8, 4-2 in league play.
“Obviously it is a disappointing loss and everyone is hurting,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “It is such a fine line between winning and losing. We could have easily won two (this weekend). We had a five-run lead with our Friday night guy on the mound and a three-run lead with our closer on the mound today.”
UAB led 5-2 going into the ninth, before ECU rallied for three runs in the frame. A Ryan Nance (2-1) wild pitch with the bases loaded and two outs, brought home the first run, before pinch hitter Chase McDonald fisted a two-strike pitch into right-center field to even the score, 5-5.
Neither squad put up much of a threat in extras as each team managed only one hit until the last of the 13th.
ECU’s Drew Reynolds was plunked to start the inning and moved all away around to third on a fake-bunt slash executed by Corey Thompson through the ride side of the Blazer infield.
Following an intentional walk to Zach Wright to load the bases, Fultz lifted a fly ball to deep center field, bringing home Reynolds with the game-winning run.
It marked the first time in 2012 that UAB lost an extra-inning affair, as the Green and Gold had been 3-0 prior to Sunday. The contest was also the longest game for the Blazers since April 13 of last season, when Memphis clipped UAB, 6-4, also in 13 innings.
Lost in the come-from-behind victory from ECU, was the starting pitching performance from Busby. The right-hander fired 7.2 innings for the second straight start, tying a personal best. He scattered six hits and allowed only three through the first six innings.
Busby gave up two runs (both earned) with a pair of walks and strikeouts in the no decision.
Ryan Ussery led a 13-hit attack by UAB, tying a career-high with three hits and scored twice. Ryan Prinzing, John Frost and Patrick Palmeiro all added two hits apiece in the loss.
Frost scored twice and extended his hit streak to seven games, while Palmeiro drove in two.
On the mound for ECU, Reynolds (2-0) performed admirably, striking out six and giving up only one hit in 4.0 innings of relief to earn the win.
UAB did knock around ECU hurler Jharel Cotton, who entered Sunday with a perfect 5-0 record in six starts. The right-hander managed to only pitch into the third as the Green and Gold ended his day early in his shortest outing as a Pirate, giving up three earned runs on six hits in two-plus innings.
UAB is off until Tuesday when the Troy Trojans come to Young Memorial Field with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT. The midweek game will serve as a tune up before the Blazers travel to Orlando, Fla. to take on the UCF Knights for a three-game series.