April 22, 2006
ORLANDO, Fla. - The UAB baseball team put an end to its losing streak as Steven Turner homered and drove in five runs as the Blazers posted a 9-7 Conference USA victory over UCF Saturday at Jay Bergman Field in Orlando, Fla.
The win was the first league victory of the season for the Blazers and evened the weekend series at one game apiece. The victory also halted the Blazers' 18-game losing streak.
Runs were aplenty in the contest, as UAB pounded out nine runs on eight hits as Turner enjoyed a career day and Phillip Bell added a home run for the Blazers.
The Blazers wasted no time, exploding in their second at bat and scoring four runs to take their first lead of the weekend series.
Ryne Lovdahl opened the frame, taking a 1-2 curveball and lining it into right center for a leadoff single. Donny Muth, in his second start of the season, followed up with a single of his own, putting the first two hitters on base with no outs.
Zac Ward worked a walk to load the bases, and Turner delivered in a big way to give the Blazers their first runs of the contest. Turner took a 2-1 fastball and smashed it high off the center field wall, over 400 feet away, to clear the bases for a triple and 3-0 UAB lead. Turner then crossed home on at-bat later, as a wild pitch brought him in to push the advantage to four.
Starter Jim Crew battled out of trouble in the bottom half of the second, allowing one run but stranding two UCF runners. Crew helped himself, as the sophomore made the first of several diving catches that the UAB defense would make on the night, snatching a would be bunt attempt by the Golden Knights out of the air for an out.
The Blazer bats continued to add runs, as the Green and Gold used a keen eye and some fundamental hitting to add some cushion to the lead. Metcalf battled to earn a free pass in the top of fifth, and advanced to second and third on UCF wild pitches. Jorge Gutierrez
sent him plate ward, as his RBI groundout pushed the margin to 5-1.
Great defense and timely pitching kept UAB ahead, as Crew and company continued to battle out of jams to keep the advantage. In the bottom of the fourth, UCF scored one run to inch closer to 5-2, but Crew again managed to squeeze out of trouble. With runners on second and third base and two out, UCF slugger Ryan Bono sent a rocket down the first base line, but Ward dove to his right to make a spectacular play, ending the threat with the score remaining 5-2 Blazers.
With the pitching staff and defensive continuing to shine, the bats did not rest, continuing to attack the Golden Knights with every turn at bat. Two more runs came across in the top of the fifth, as moon shot over the left field wall made it 7-2 UAB. Bell's blast was his first of the year, and scored Danny Sawyer to extend the Blazer lead to five runs.
Turner's heroics continued, as the junior from Birmingham, Ala., decided to put the Blazers on his back in the top of the sixth, hit a towering two-run blast deep into the night to make it 9-2 UAB. Turner's fourth and fifth RBIs on the night were career highs, as head coach Larry Giangrosso's squad refused to stand pat with the sticks.
Crew continued to deal and make the most of his outing, laboring through each frame, but finding a way to succeed. The sophomore threw over 130 pitches on the night, and completed 6.2 innings before giving way to the bullpen. Mitch Thorn retired the side in the seventh, but was chased in the eighth for freshman Drew Murray. The Golden Knights rallied, scoring five runs to make it 9-7.
Grant Addison was then summoned, and the junior from Winfield, Ala., closed the door, throwing the final one and a third to pick up his second save on the season and give the Blazers the win.
UAB will attempt to pick up its first series win on Sunday, as Kyle Roberson takes the mound to face UCF in the finale of the series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. ET, and can be followed live on gametracker, available through UCF's athletic website.
For complete postgame coverage, check out UAB's athletics website, www.uabsports.com.