May 4, 2014
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The UAB baseball team recorded a 3-1 victory at Charlotte on Sunday afternoon. With the win, UAB recorded its second straight sweep and has eclipsed the 30-win plateau for the 13th time in program history.
“Baseball is a thing where you are always onto the next game and try to stay humble,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “It is pretty neat because the experts had us 11th and 13th in our league and we are not. We are very competitive, near the top. It doesn’t mean we will win next week because there is so much parity.”
The 2014 Blazers became the third team during Shoop’s tenure at UAB to record at least 30 victories. In addition, UAB has now won 16 conference contests, its most in its stay in Conference USA.
“The way Lieske pitched today, he can give us a chance against anybody,” added Shoop. “That was the best he has been this year. He has got electric stuff. When he is gotten in trouble, he is been the author of his own trouble. We keep telling him he may have the best stuff on our team. I thought he was really, really good today and we certainly had a chance to win a baseball game.”
Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Johnny Lieske got off on the right foot on Sunday afternoon. Lieske retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, only allowing one base runner via a hit by pitch. The Machesney Park, Ill. native allowed one earned run, scattered five hits, struck out seven, and walked one in a career-high 7.2 innings.
“Great by Johnny,” stated Shoop. “We have three legitimate starters on the weekend. That doesn’t mean we are going to win, but we have a chance. The thing I am the most proud of this weekend is that is 27.0 innings without an error. That’s fantastic. That gives you a great chance to win and I am very proud of them.”
Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing and junior infielder Nathan Vincent each had two hits on the day for the second time in the three-game series. It marked the third straight game Prinzing had multiple hits. Redshirt junior catcher Tyler Mims knocked in two runs, his fifth game with multiple runs batted in.
For the fifth straight game, UAB (30-16, 16-8) was the first team on the board. In the top of the second inning, junior first baseman Jeff Schalk drew a lead-off walk. Vincent followed up with a single, extending his hitting streak to eight consecutive contests. Senior outfielder Ivan De Jesus used a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over to second and third. Mims then grounded out, but plated Schalk to give UAB a 1-0 edge.
It was a near duplicate of the second inning for UAB in the fourth. Schalk led off with a walk and then Vincent recorded his team-leading ninth double of 2014. After a De Jesus lineout, Mims came up with men on second and third. Mims hit a fly ball to left center field. Charlotte freshman outfielder Zach Jarrett made a diving attempt, but could not gather the ball and it dropped for a double. Schalk scored and Vincent advanced to third. On the next play, redshirt junior infielder Matt Morse grounded out, but Vincent scored to push the lead to 3-0.
After getting the first two out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Lieske hit some trouble. Charlotte (14-29-1, 6-17) earned its first walk of the day and recorded back-to-back singles, allowing its first run to cross. Senior left-handed pitcher Turner Lee came in and successfully got the final out of the frame, forcing a groundout.
Lee got the first two out in the bottom of the ninth before handing the ball off to sophomore right-handed pitcher Cory Eller. Eller registered a strikeout and his third save of the year.
The UAB baseball team will be back in action on Tuesday night when it hosts crosstown-foe Samford at Regions Field. It marks the squad’s final game of 2014 at the downtown Birmingham ballpark. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Notes: The UAB baseball team won its 30 game of 2014, becoming the 13th team in program history to do so … UAB set the program record with 16 Conference USA victories on Sunday afternoon … Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Johnny Lieske went a career-long 7.2 innings … Junior infielder Nathan Vincent extended his hitting streak to eight straight games, which matches the longest by a Blazer this season … Vincent also recorded his ninth double of the year, which leads the club … Redshirt junior catcher Tyler Mims had his fifth multiple RBI game of 2014, which ranks third on the team … Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing had his 14th multiple hit game of the year, which ranks third on the squad.
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