April 6, 2007
HOUSTON, Texas - The UAB Blazers stand alone atop the Conference USA standings after their 10-5 victory at Houston Friday night. The Blazers totaled 15 hits in the game as freshman shortstop Jonathan Merritt led the way by going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. UAB is now 16-16 (4-0 C-USA) with the win, while Houston falls to 15-13 (3-1 C-USA) Game two of the series will be played at 12 p.m. on Saturday at Cougar Field.
Senior outfielders J.R. Bond and Levi Patmon each went 3-for-4 with two RBI in the game. In addition to his three hits, Bond also scored four runs and legged out two doubles.
Sophomore right-hander Mitch Kloskowski (4-2) earned his fourth win of the season after he went six innings, striking out five and walking just two. Junior righty Brandon Wallace earned his second save of the season after he finished off the final three innings.
UAB head coach Brian Shoop was pleased with how his team played in its first Conference USA road game.
"It's a good win," Shoop said. "We're proud of these guys, it's a very good win for our team. We had a good offensive game from the whole club. It was great for Jonathan to do so well offensively, J.R. did well and Levi did too. It was a good team offensive performance and Mitch and Brandon did enough tonight as well so we're proud of them."
Also recording multiple hits in the game was senior catcher Danny Sawyer who was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Houston starter Aaron Brown (4-2) got the loss after he lasted just four innings in which he gave up six earned runs.
The Cougars had three players record multiple hits as Felix Fanaselle, Jimmy Cesario and Josh Stirneman were each 2-for-4.
The Blazers didn't waste any time getting on the board in the first inning as junior outfielder Phil Bell reached first on a bunt single to first base and then junior first baseman Ryan Keedy singled to put two runners on for Bond who singled to right to score both runners and give UAB an early 2-0 lead.
Houston quickly came back to tie the game in the second when, with one out, Stirneman singled and then advanced to third on a double down the left field line by right fielder Bryan Tully. With two runners in scoring position, catcher Luis Flores grounded out to short to score Stirneman and then a low outside pitch by Kloskowski was out of Sawyer's reach, allowing Tully to trot home on a wild pitch to score the game at 2-2.
UAB regained the lead, 3-2, in the fourth when Merritt singled to lead off the inning and then came in to score on a Patmon RBI single to the shortstop.
The Blazers kept the runs coming in the fifth as Lovdahl walked to begin the inning and then Bond ripped a double to left field to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. UAB's next batter, Sawyer, also doubled to left field to score Lovdahl and then Bond came home on a passed ball to make it 5-1.
Still piling on runs in the fifth, Sawyer came in to score on a Merritt single who then scored on a single by Patmon to finish off the big inning and make it 7-2.
Kloskowski backed up his bats in the bottom of the fifth when, with one out and a runner at first, he hit the ground to avoid being hit by a sharp line drive off the bat of Ryan Larmand, but still made the catch and then threw to first to complete a 1-3 line-out double play.
The Blazer bats repaid Kloskowski's glove work by giving him two more runs in the sixth to make it 9-2.
In the sixth, Lovdahl was hit by a pitch and then scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by the pinch hitting sophomore Allen Aubin. Bond scored the team's second run of the inning after he reached on a double and then came home on a run-scoring single by Merritt.
The Cougars tried to make their way back into the ball game by scoring one run in the sixth and then in the seventh, a walk and three singles led to two Houston runs to cut the UAB advantage to 9-5.
Bond scored the Blazers' 10th run of the game in the eighth on an error by UH center fielder Zak Presley to make it 10-5.
The Blazers and the Cougars will play game two of the three game series at 12 p.m. on Saturday at Cougar Field. That game times is a change from the previously scheduled time of 7 p.m.