May 2, 2014
Box Score (PDF)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The UAB baseball team recorded a 6-2 victory in the series opener at Charlotte on Friday night. With the win, the Blazers extended its winning streak to four consecutive games.
“This stretch and run we have got, we have really defended the field well,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “We lead the league in double plays. They were some real exceptional plays tonight. When you are throwing strikes and defending well, you are in the game.”
Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing and junior infielder Nathan Vincent each had two hits and two RBI on Friday. Vincent registered two doubles on the day, becoming the third Blazer to do so in 2014.
“A really good game by Nathan Vincent,” added Shoop. “Two doubles and it was good to get on the board early.”
Despite not having his best stuff, senior right-handed pitcher Chase Mallard was able to extend his nation-best quality start streak to 14 straight starts. The Cullman, Ala. native went 6.0 innings, allowed two earned runs, gave up 11 hits, struck out four, and walked one en route to his eighth victory on the year. Eight wins in a single season ranks eighth in program history.
“Chase has been great, most outings for us this year,” commented Shoop. “He was not great tonight, he was good, but not great. He just grinds and battles. That’s another quality start, he only gave up two without his best stuff.”
Freshman left-handed pitcher Thomas Lowery pitched the final 3.0 innings, recording his fourth save of the year. Lowery did not allow a run, scattered two hits, struck out one, and walked two.
For the 10th time in 2014, UAB (28-16, 14-8) scored in the first inning of play. Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing recorded a single and junior first baseman Jeff Schalk was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners with two outs. Junior infielder Nathan Vincent crushed a double to left center, scoring both Prinzing and Schalk to give the Blazers a 2-0 advantage.
The Green and Gold would add another run in the next inning. With two outs, sophomore infielder Adam Smith reached on a throwing error by Charlotte junior infielder Derek Gallello. After a wild pitch moved Smith over to second, junior outfielder Chase Davis hit a single to center field. Smith came in to extend the visitors’ lead to 3-0.
Charlotte (14-27-1, 6-15) responded with a run of its own in the bottom of the frame. Mallard allowed back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners over to second and third. 49ers senior first baseman Grant Dunnegan hit a single up the middle to score the runner from third. Charlotte junior infielder Mikal Hill then hit a ball to left field, looking for a sacrifice fly. UAB senior outfielder Ivan De Jesus caught the fly ball then fired a laser to home to catch the runner and end the frame.
UAB would not let the host team back in so easily. In the top of the fourth inning, the Blazers would plate two more runs. With two outs, Smith and Davis recorded singles. With runners on second and third, Prinzing hit a single down the left field line to extend the Green and Gold lead to 5-1.
Once again, Charlotte would rebound with a tally of its own. 49ers freshman designated hitter Logan Sherer recorded a one-out double. Mallard looked like he may get out of the jam after a strikeout, but he gave up a two-out single to Charlotte freshman outfielder Zach Jarrett.
After another single, Charlotte was threatening again with runners on first and second. Mallard gave up his third straight single, this time to Hill. Davis came up throwing and caught the lead runner in a pickle in between third and home to end the inning.
The back-and-forth affair would resume in the top of the fifth. Schalk earned a lead-off walk, and then Vincent clubbed his second double of the night. With runners on second and third, sophomore catcher Mitch Williams hit a sacrifice fly to center to put UAB ahead 6-2.
The three-game series resumes on Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT.
Notes: For only the third time this season, UAB donned its gray jerseys … Senior right-handed pitcher Chase Mallard extended his nation-best quality start streak to 14 consecutive starts … Mallard recorded his eighth victory of the year, which ranks eighth in program history … Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing had a two RBI night, his team-best sixth multiple RBI game … Junior infielder Nathan Vincent recorded his seventh and eighth doubles of the season, which leads the squad … Junior first baseman Jeff Schalk matched his career-high with two runs scored … Junior outfielder Chase Davis now has 21 RBI on the year, which is third on the team.
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