April 30, 2011
NEW ORLEANS -- Blake Huddleston allowed just two runs in six innings Saturday afternoon, but the UAB offense couldn't generate enough support in a 2-1 loss to Tulane in Conference USA baseball action at Turchin Stadium.
The Green Wave (26-17, 6-8 C-USA) grabbed the lead in the fifth inning and kept the Blazers (24-19, 8-9 C-USA) from any scoring opportunities the rest of the way as they won for the second straight day to secure a series victory.
UAB will look salvage a game on Sunday when the teams conclude this weekend's series with a 1 p.m. CT first pitch.
Huddleston held Tulane without a hit through the first four innings Saturday before giving up both of Tulane's runs in the fifth on an RBI double by Nick Schneeberger and a run-scoring single by Garrett Cannizaro. The UAB right-hander, who was making just his fourth start, threw 43 of his 60 pitches for strikes and needed nine pitches or fewer in four of his six innings.
"It was a great start by Blake, and that has to be good enough to win," Shoop said. "Holding the opponent to two runs has to be good enough, but today it wasn't."
UAB's hitters forced Tulane starter Drew Zizinia to throw 101 pitches in 5.1 innings, but the right-hander was still able to limit the Blazers to just one run.
After opening the scoring on a Zizinia wild pitch in the third inning, UAB gave itself chances to add to the lead in both the fourth and fifth frames. The Blazers put two runners on with one out in the fourth and loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Zizinia was able to pitch out of both situations without allowing another run.
"We need to be able to score in that situation," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "You can't get the big hit every time, but when you're not getting many opportunities, you really have to get runs when you have the chance."
UAB's Chase Mallard pitched the seventh and eighth in relief of Huddleston, facing the minimum and allowing just one hit in his two innings to keep UAB within a run.
Andrew Manning went 2-for-3 at the plate and also drew a walk to reach base three times in the game, but he was the Blazers' only baserunner over the final four innings.
Zizinia left the game after a one-out walk to Manning in the sixth, and David Napoli came out of the Tulane bullpen to retire eight consecutive batters to get the ball to Tulane closer Nick Pepitone in the ninth. Pepitone gave up a leadoff single to Manning but then got a double play and a ground-ball out to earn the save for the second straight day.