April 13, 2011
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Chase Mallard did some damage control to get UAB out of the sixth inning on Wednesday and Ben Bullard threw the final three scoreless frames as the Blazer baseball team defeated Mississippi State 6-4 in the resumption of their halted game from March 9.
Mallard took over on the mound with a 4-3 lead, two runners on and no outs in the top of the sixth. An error on a sacrifice bunt attempt loaded the bases, but Mallard kept the Bulldogs to one run on a Wes Thigpen sacrifice fly. He then got Adam Frazier to pop up on the infield with both runners moving, and second baseman Keith DePew doubled Jonathan Ogden off at second base to keep the game tied at 4-4.
UAB grabbed the lead back with a two-out hit-and-run in the seventh inning. Nick Crawford took off from second base, drawing the Mississippi State third baseman to the bag, and Jamal Austin slashed a hit through the opening on the left side to give the Blazers a 5-4 advantage with what proved to be the winning run.
With the victory, UAB improved to 20-13 on the season, while Mississippi State dropped to 21-12. The Blazers snapped a 16-game losing streak to the Bulldogs.
"Chase was unbelievable," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "We messed up a bunt defense and put ourselves in a tough position, and for Chase to get us out of that was big. Then we put the game in Jamal's hands. We feel like he's our best hitter, and he came through."
UAB later tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly from Andrew Manning, giving Bullard more than enough runs to work with.
Bullard entered in the seventh, allowing two base runners in his first inning of work and then retiring the Bulldogs in order in both the eighth and ninth frames. The Blazer right-hander improved his record to 4-0 on the year.
"Not only did Ben pitch well, but he was very efficient," Shoop said. "We were only going to use him for two innings, but his pitch count was so low that we decided to send him back out for the ninth, and he finished it off."
A total of six Blazer pitchers combined to hold Mississippi State to just three hits in the game that spanned more than a month from start to finish after being halted by rain in the sixth inning back on March 9.
Luis Pollorena suffered the loss for Mississippi State. He faced just two batters but was charged with UAB's go-ahead run in the seventh.
UAB will continue its home stand this weekend with a three-game Conference USA series against Memphis. First pitch in Friday's series opener is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT at Young Memorial Field.