May 15, 2011
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The UAB baseball team suffered an 18-6 loss to UCF in eight innings Sunday as the Blazers wrapped up the Conference USA portion of their schedule.
Nick Crawford and Keith DePew each had three hits for UAB (27-25, 9-15 C-USA), but UCF (33-19, 10-11 C-USA) pounded out 20 hits as a team, including four each for Beau Taylor and D.J. Hicks, to complete a three-game sweep of this weekend's series at Young Memorial Field.
The Knights scored three runs in the first inning against UAB starter Michael Busby and never trailed. UCF starter Chase Bradford allowed six runs in 5.2 innings but had plenty of run support to earn the win.
"UCF was the better team and they deserved to win," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "We just had a hard time keeping them from scoring today."
A five-run fourth inning put UCF ahead 10-4, but UAB was not out of the game. The Blazers picked up two runs in the sixth on back-to-back RBI singles from Crawford and Coy Arrowood. They looked like they might do more damage when Jamal Austin ripped a line drive down the first base line that could have scored two more, but it was called foul. Austin later struck out, and the Blazers still found themselves trailing 10-6.
UCF went on to put the game out of reach in the eighth with its third big inning of the day. Ten of the Knights' first 11 batters reached in the eighth on the way to eight runs. Derek Luciano and Erik Hempe both had multiple RBI in the inning as UCF opened up a 12-run lead to end the game an inning early.
Luciano, Taylor and Darnell Sweeney drove in three runs apiece for UCF. Crawford drove in two of the UAB runs in the final home game of his career.
UCF relievers Matt Collins and Johnny Sedlock combined to hold UAB scoreless over the final three innings in relief of Bradford. UAB used a total of seven pitchers in the game.
Despite Sunday's loss, UAB locked up a spot in the Conference USA tournament as a result of Tulane's victory over Marshall. The Blazers will be the No. 8 seed at the event in Pearl, Miss., in two weeks.
The other league teams have one conference series remaining, but UAB is out of conference to close the regular season next weekend. The Blazers will head West to Utah for a three-game series against the Utes starting on Thursday.