May 10, 2013
HOUSTON ---- Trailing by one run in the top of the ninth, the UAB baseball team pushed across a pair of runs to defeat Houston, 8-7, on Friday night at Cougar Field.
Down to its final three outs, UAB’s Ryan Prinzing led off the ninth getting hit by a pitch. UH’s Chase Wellbrock (0-1) recorded an out before Harry Clark socked a single into the right-center field gap allowing pinch runner Adam Lau to advance to third.
With runners on first and third, Jeff Schalk hit a RBI grounder to second to knot up the score at 7-all. The next batter, Tanner Bryant hit a ball to shortstop, but an error at first allowed another pinch runner, Griffin Gum, to race home with what proved to be the game-winning run.
“Prinzing put together a great at bat being down 0-2 in the count and getting on base to lead off the ninth for us really set the stage,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “And Harry with two strikes battled to get a big hit for us and we put two more balls in play to take the lead.”
The victory propelled the Blazers to 19-31 overall and 5-14 in Conference USA play, while Houston dropped to 31-19 and 9-10 in the league.
James Naile picked up the win out of the bullpen, improving to 5-5 on the season. The righty went five innings, giving up three runs off seven hits with two strikeouts. Chase Mallared recorded the final two outs, including a game-ending strikeout, to earn his third save of the year.
Tyler Hamby went a career-best 3-for-4 at the plate, scored a run and knocked in another and Ryan Prinzing recorded two RBI in the win.
Houston put the pressure on UAB starter Turner Lee in the bottom of the first, loading the bases with two outs. But the southpaw induced a ground ball to second, to retire the side on a bang-bang play for the final out of the freame.
The Cougars loaded the bases again in the second and were able to cash in on their scoring opportunity. Kyle Survance roped a RBI single and Frankie Ratfcliff hit a sac fly to give UH an early 2-0 advantage after two innings of play.
The Blazers responded, by filling up the bases with no outs in the top half of the third. Prinzing brought home the first run for the Blazers with a single to left, followed by a sac fly from John Frost and RBI ground out from Clark. The scoring spree gave UAB a 3-2 lead.
UAB’s offense kept its foot on the gas in the fourth, posting its second straight inning scoring three runs. The Blazers loaded the bases yet again with no outs and used a RBI single from Hamby and consecutive run scoring fielder’s choices hit by Ivan De Jesus and Prinzing to inflate the Blazer cushion to four runs, 6-2.
However the game was far from over, as Houston responded with two runs in the fifth and three more runs in the sixth. The game-winning run came across on a Kyle Survance RBI ground out in the fifth frame.
“Our outs were produce in the middle innings when were able to score,” Shoop said. “I thought when we stranded a runner on third with nobody out in the sixth it would be costly, but we were able to come out with the victory tonight.”
Neither team could scratch the scoreboard, until the top of the ninth, when the Blazers pushed across the game tying and winning runs.
Matt Hernandez pitched extremely effectively out of the Cougar bullpen, yielding only one run off one hit with three strikeouts and two walks in 4.1 innings of relief work of starter Daniel Poncedeleon.
Game two of the series set for Saturday has been moved up to 2 p.m. CT, due to inclement weather forecasted in the Houston area.