April 6, 2012
ORLANDO ---- The UAB baseball team pounded out 16 hits as seven players in the Blazer lineup produced multi-hit games to upset No. 14 UCF, 11-4, on Friday night at Jay Bergman Field.
UAB (19-12, 3-4 C-USA) trailed 2-0 entering the top of the fourth, before the Green and Gold lineup erupted for nine runs off seven hits and benefited from five UCF (24-7, 5-2 C-USA) miscues in the frame.
“Some nights things don’t go your way and sometimes they do,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “This is a very good Central Florida team. Obviously they bunched their miscues together, which happens at times to every team. When you bunch your mistakes you open a door. I have to give some credit to our guys. They had a door that was open and we were able to take advantage of it with some big hits.”
A total of 13 UAB batters stepped in the box during the fourth as eight of the nine players scored a run in the breakout inning. Ivan De Jesus, John Frost, Tyler Mims and Patrick Palmeiro all had RBI singles in the fourth. The nine runs in an inning were the most by a Blazer team since March 30, 2010 when UAB scored 10 runs in the bottom of third against Alabama State.
The run support was more than enough for Blazer hurler Dillon Napoleon (4-1), as Friday night was just the second time all season that UCF surrendered double-digit runs. After giving up two runs in the first, the right-hander sent down nine of the next 10 batters he faced into the fifth, which featured striking out the side in the last of the fourth.
In the fifth, UCF threatened by loading the bases with two outs, but Napoleon bared down and struck out the nation’s leading run producer, D.J. Hicks, and induced a ground out by cleanup hitter Chris Taladay to leave three base runners stranded.
“Nappy, after a tough first inning, was really good for us,” Shoop said. “He was his typical competitive self. Wins are hard in this league and they are especially hard on the road.”
Napoleon finished the night working 6.2 innings, scattering 10 hits, allowing four earned runs. He tied his season-high with six strikeouts.
Palmeiro led the 16-hit fiery attack by tying his career-high with three base knocks, including his team-best 11th double.
De Jesus was one of six other players to rope two hits against the Knights, adding a triple and knocking in two.
“Coach (Ron) Polk always talks about hitting being contagious and we got on a bit of a roll tonight,” Shoop said. “We wanted to keep adding on and keep expanding the lead because they are such a dangerous team.”
UCF’s Brian Adkins (2-1) was the tough-luck loser. The lefty allowed nine runs in 3.2 innings, with none of them being earned. He gave up 11 hits, struck out four and did not walk a batter.
Game two of the series will begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Ben Bullard will toe the rubber for the Blazers as UCF will counter with southpaw Chris Matulis.