April 18, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas - The UAB baseball team suffered a 2-0 setback to No. 14 Rice on Friday night on the road. It marked only the second time this season that UAB had been shut out.
"This is as good of a game that has been thrown against us," head coach Brian Shoop said. "He threw 71 percent strikes. He was 50-50 off-speed/fastball, so there was no pattern. No walks and no hit by pitches."
Rice sophomore right-handed pitcher Kevin McCanna threw a seven-hit complete game shutout en route to his fourth victory of 2014. In his first career complete game, McKanna struck out five and did not walk one.
UAB senior right-handed pitcher Chase Mallard extended his streak to 12 consecutive quality starts, which is the longest active stretch in the country. Mallard went 7.0 innings, allowed two earned runs, scattered eight hits, struck out six, and walked one. The Cullman, Ala. native suffered his first loss of the year on Friday night.
"Chase kept us right in," added Shoop. "We had some chances, but it is hard to generate chances when a guy throws 71 percent strikes and doesn't walk or hit anybody."
UAB (24-14, 10-6) posed its first scoring threat in the top of the third inning. With one out, senior outfielder Ivan De Jesus singled to center field for the first UAB hit of the night. Sophomore infielder Adam Smith placed a bunt down the first base line and recorded an infield single. Junior outfielder Chase Davis grounded out, but advanced the runners to second and third. Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing grounded out to second to end the frame.
Rice (27-13, 14-5) responded with the first run of the game in bottom of the third. Owls junior infielder Ford Stainback led off the frame with a double to left field. Stainback moved over to third after a sacrifice bunt. Mallard struck out Rice freshman outfielder Charlie Warren for the second out, but allowed an RBI single to Owls junior catcher John Clay Reeves.
In the sixth inning, UAB had another scoring opportunity, but could not put a run across. Smith and Prinzing recorded singles to put runners on first and second with one out. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Griffin Gum struck out and junior first baseman Jeff Schalk flew out, ending the chance.
Once again, the Owls responded to the visiting threat by plating a run of its own in the bottom of the frame. With no outs and the bases loaded, Rice sophomore designated hitter Blake Fox hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score the runner from third. On the next play, Owls senior outfielder Michael Aqunio hit a fly ball to center field. Davis lost the ball, but Gum made a running catch from right field to keep any more runs off the board. Mallard then recorded a strikeout for the final out.
UAB had another chance in the top of the eighth, but could not convert. With two outs, Prinzing reached safely after a throwing error by Stainback. Gum then singled to put men on first and second, but Schalk fouled out to third to put an end to the frame.
"We got a couple of chances with our good guys," concluded Shoop. "I tip my cap to McCanna. That was a heck of an outing."
The Conference USA three-game series resumes on Saturday afternoon at Reckling Field. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.
Notes: Senior right-handed pitcher Chase Mallard made his 68th appearance of his collegiate career on Friday night, which ranks seventh in program history ... Mallard recorded his 12th straight quality start, which is the longest active streak in the country ... Sophomore infielder Adam Smith recorded his seventh multiple-hit game, matching a career-high with two hits ... Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing had two hits on the night, as well.
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