May 7, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - After climbing on the back of Jim Crew to win game one of a doubleheader against conference foe Memphis, freshman hurler Drew Murray continued the string on solid performances on the mound. Murray's seven strong innings combined with a powerful offensive attack to lead UAB to its second C-USA series win of the season, as the Blazers downed Memphis 9-4 in the series finale at Nat Buring Stadium.
The win improved the Blazers to 18-31 overall and 5-13 in league games and puts them right back in the race for a possible appearance in their third straight conference tournament. UAB also won its second C-USA series in 2006, with both wins coming on the road for head coach Larry Giangrosso's squad. This weekend's win at Memphis adds to an earlier series win against UCF in Orlando, Fla.
Murray, in his second start of the season, pitched a gem for the Blazers. The freshmen from LaGrange, Ga., tossed 7.1 innings, allowing four earned runs while striking out five. Murray was dominant early on, not allowing a hit for the first five innings. It was career day for the righty, who set high marks for innings pitched and strikeouts in his outing.
The offensive made sure Murray had support, as the Green and Gold pounded out 15 hits for the second time in three games. Eight Blazers had at least one hit on the day, with two players stealing the show with the sticks. Jorge Gutierrez and Steven Turner combined for six hits and four RBIs in the game, capping a great weekend at the plate for the two juniors. Gutierrez and Turner both hit .500 during the three-game set, smashing 14 hits over that span.
UAB roughed up Memphis starter Ben Grisham early, scoring six runs in the first four innings to chase him from the ballgame. J.R. Bond
was the first to set the tone, nailing a fastball deep over the left field wall for his first home run of the season in the second.
Three singles started the rally in the third, as Turner, Patmon and Sawyer connected for base hits to bring home a run. Sawyer's rope up the middle scored Turner, as the Blazers loaded the bases against Grisham. Bond then picked up his second RBI of the contest, as he forced a run home when he was hit by a pitch. Grisham then balked, bringing home the final run of the frame as UAB stretched out its lead to 4-0.
The Blazers continued to stay on the offensive, putting together three more hits to score more runs in the fourth. Gutierrez had an RBI single to highlight the scoring, as UAB piled on against Memphis. Turner's two RBI single capped scoring in the fifth, as the Green and Gold continued to assault Tiger pitching while jumping out to 9-0 lead.
Memphis failed to mount a rally against Murray, who used his defense and timely strikeouts to keep one of Conference USA's best offense in check during the middle innings. The Tigers finally cracked the scoreboard in the sixth, and scored three more in the eighth to make it 9-4.
Randy Mills and Grant Addison shut the door for UAB, combining to go the final two frames for Giangrosso.