April 14, 2006
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The first game of a weekend set at Young Memorial Field failed to yield UAB's first conference win, despite late innings efforts from the Blazer bats. UAB connected on back-to-back home runs in the ninth, but it was too little, too late, as the head coach Larry Giangrosso's squad dropped a 22-8 slugfest against Conference USA foe Marshall.
The loss drops the Blazers to 13-22 on the season, with a 0-7 mark in C-USA play. The Thundering Herd moves to 14-16 with the win, and picks up its second conference win, moving to 2-8 in league games.
Six different pitchers took the hill for the Blazers in tonight's contest, with senior Jacob Legg taking the loss. Legg lasted only one inning against Marshall, allowing three earned runs and four hits during his outing. He was relieved by Heath Tapscott, who hurled 2.1 innings of his own. Kyle Roberson, Randy Mills, Brandon Flaherty and Chandler Miller finished things out for UAB.
UAB swung the sticks in a big way, pounding out double digit hits for the first time in four games. The Green and Gold had 12 hits on the evening, and four hitters contributed two apiece on the night. Jorge Gutierrez, J.R. Bond, Zac Ward and Ryan Metcalf helped paced an offense that put up eight runs on Marshall pitching. Levi Patmon added his first home run of the season, a deep shot to right center in the ninth inning. Ward added his fifth home run of the season right behind Patmon's blast, clearing the right field wall.
Marshall wasted no time getting a lead, plating seven runs in the first two innings off of the Blazer staff. Down 7-0 early, UAB attempted to mount a comeback, scoring two runs in the second and third innings to close the gap to 7-4.
After a Ryne Lovdahl walked to open the second frame, Gutierrez ripped a line drive into the left center field gap to put runners on second and third. Steven Turner than hit a fly ball to left field that was misplayed by the Marshall defender, scoring Lovdahl and Gutierrez to put UAB's first runs on the board.
In the third inning, the Blazers used clutch hitting to score two more runs against the Marshall starter. Lovdahl would do the producing this time around, smashing a single to left to score Patmon, who had reached on catchers' interference. Metcalf then delivered a clutch single up the middle to score Ward, making it 7-4 Thundering Herd.
That would be the closest UAB could get to Marshall, who scored 15 runs during the next six frames to put the game away. The Blazers tried to peck away at the lead in the sixth and ninth, but it wasn't enough to complete the comeback.
Game two of the series is set for tomorrow, with right hander Mitch Thorn taking the mound for UAB in his first career start in a Blazer uniform. He will be opposed by Chris Koutsavlis. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday. Follow every pitch online with gametracker, available at UAB's athletics website, www.uabsports.com.