May 3, 2013
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- The UAB baseball team overcame a 4-0 deficit scoring seven times in the sixth inning, highlighted by a grand slam from Ryan Prinzing to upset the 18th-ranked Rice Owls, 10-9 on rainy Friday afternoon at Young Memorial Field.
The start time of game two has been pushed back to 4 p.m. CT between the Blazers and Owls due to inclement weather forecasted in the area. The contest will air on the radio on WJOX-AM 690 with David Crane on the call.
The victory propelled the Blazers to 18-29 overall and 4-12 in league play. UAB has now captured four of the last five meetings with Rice (29-15, 9-7) at Young Memorial field, with the Owls being ranked in all five affairs.
It also marked the first win for the Green and Gold over a ranked opponent since defeating then No. 16 UCF at the Conference USA Tournament last season on May 24, 2012.
“It was very tough conditions to play in today,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “The wind blowing straight out and caused for a chance of errors and home runs and we were just able to get one more run.”
UAB found itself in a 4-0 hole and without a hit against Rice starter Austin Kubitza (6-3) through the first three innings. Prinzing and Bryant each recorded single in the fourth as the Blazers pushed across one run thanks to a Rice error.
With the Owls threatening in the top of the fifth, Cory Eller (2-3) came on in relief of Blazer starter Turner Lee and recorded the final two outs of the inning with runners on second and third to keep the UAB deficit at three, 4-1.
The Blazers kept chipping away, adding two more in the fifth on a Jeff Schalk RBI triple and a sac fly by Ivan De Jesus.
The sixth inning was when things really turned in UAB’s favor. The Blazers scored seven runs by using just two hits, including the grand slam from Prinzing. It marked the first bases clearing big fly since May 22, 2010, when, now student assistant coach Luke Stewart hit one against the Owls in Houston.
Prior to grand slam, Tyler Mims roped a RBI double to let and De Jesus and John Frost each drove in a run by walk of a bases loaded walk and hit by pitch as the Blazers batted around. The big inning chased Kubitza from the game, as the right-hander went 5.2 innings surrendering eight runs, five earned, off five hits with six strikeouts to suffer the loss. In the frame, UAB walked three times and was hit by a pitch twice.
However the game was far from over, as Rice made a big dent into the UAB lead in the top of the eighth. The Owls loaded the bases via three walks allowing Christian Stringer to double in two runs with a ball hit down the right field line. Ratterree then hit his second home run of the day, a three-run blast, to pull Rice within one, 10-9.
After giving up the home run, Chase Mallard got the final two outs of the eighth inning and handed the ball over to James Naile, who threw a clean ninth frame to pick up his first save of the season.
“James (Naile) came in and was a great weapon for us out of the bullpen against righties and lefties,” Shoop said. “It was a great win for us today against a very talented Rice squad.”
Prinzing finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBI, all coming on his bases loaded blast in the sixth. Schalk also recorded a two-hit day, walked twice and scored twice in the victory.
Eller, who earned the victory for the Blazers, went three innings, yielding two runs on just one hit.
The Owls doubled up the Blazers in the hit category (14 to 7) and featured six players with multi-hit performances, led by Ratterree’s two homers and four RBI.