April 26, 2011
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The UAB baseball team led just once Tuesday night against No. 22 Troy, but it was the only time that mattered.
Andrew Manning's two-run homer in the eighth inning drew the Blazers even, and John Frost's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth gave UAB a 4-3 victory, its second straight win in walk-off fashion at Young Memorial Field.
UAB (24-17) finished off a sweep of the two-game season series with Troy (30-11) and defeated a ranked opponent for the third game in a row. The Blazers are scheduled to wrap up their homestand Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. CT against Alabama State.
"That was a great win," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "Troy is really good. They are smoking everyone in the Sun Belt, and that's a good league. It's a really good win for our guys, and I'm happy for them."
It wasn't always pretty offensively for UAB. Troy starter Shane McCain took the mound against the Blazers for the second time in a week and frustrated the UAB hitters for much of the night, holding them to just two total hits through the first seven innings. The only UAB run during that stretch came courtesy of a hit batter that later scored on a single from Jamal Austin.
Meanwhile Troy grabbed the lead with a three-run fourth inning. The Trojans plated the opening run on a David Hayes wild pitch and then managed two more on a home run from Drew Prichard. The fourth inning was one of four times Troy put the leadoff runner on against Hayes but the only time the UAB left-hander allowed any of them to score.
Hayes turned the ball over to Mark McKinley with two outs in the sixth, and McKinley proceeded to fire 3.1 innings of one-hit ball while UAB's offense started to come around.
After just two hits against McCain through seven innings, the Blazers managed three of them in the eighth. After Coy Arrowood looped a single into right field to start the inning, Manning came to the plate and sent the first pitch he saw over the left field wall and onto the roof of UAB's hitting cages to tie the game at 3-3.
"Andrew really got a hold of that one," Shoop said. "He's struggled this year, but he's hung in there all year. He's a great teammate and a great encourager for everyone, and it was really good to see him come up with that big hit."
Still in the eighth, pinch runner Matt Morse nearly stole home to put UAB ahead but was tagged out at the last instant, leaving the Blazers to win it in the ninth.
Austin singled with one out in the final inning and moved to second when Patrick Palmeiro was hit by a Tyson Workman pitch. That brought Frost, UAB's RBI leader, to the plate. The Blazer first baseman rifled a single up that middle that scored the speedy Austin from second base and gave UAB its fourth win in its past five games and its second straight in its final at-bat.
Two days ago, Keith DePew drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning as the Blazers finished off a doubleheader sweep of No. 19 Rice.
McKinley, who allowed only one base runner in his relief performance Tuesday, earned his third win of the season for the Blazers, while Workman suffered the loss for Troy.