May 16, 2014
BOCA RATON, Fla. – The No. 30 UAB baseball team suffered two losses in a doubleheader on Friday at Florida Atlantic. UAB lost the first contest 3-1, before losing 10-9 in extra innings in the latter game at the FAU Baseball Stadium.
UAB (34-19, 19-10) could not push runs across in the first game, leaving 12 men on base and the bases loaded on three occasions. In the second matchup, UAB tallied nine runs, but Florida Atlantic (28-24, 14-15) recorded 10 runs on 21 hits and secured the series with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Game One: Senior right-handed pitcher Chase Mallard extended his nation-best quality start streak to 16 consecutive starts, but gave up three earned runs for the first time in 2014. Mallard did not have much run support, as UAB left 12 runners on and left the bases loaded three times.
Florida Atlantic jumped out to an early lead in the first contest of the day. With one out in the bottom of the first inning, FAU junior infielder Ricky Santiago hit a double down the right field line. Sophomore outfielder Brendon Sanger singled to left center to plate Santiago and give the host a 1-0 lead.
UAB battled back in the top of the second. Junior first baseman Jeff Schalk led off with a single to right center and then advanced to second after a wild pitch. Junior infielder Nathan Vincent grounded out, but moved Schalk over to third. A single to right field by redshirt junior catcher Tyler Mims would score Schalk and knot the score.
FAU pulled ahead in the third inning. With one out, Santiago drew a walk. Sanger singled for his second hit of the day, putting runners on first and second. Senior outfielder Tyler Rocklein singled to left to plate Santiago and give the Owls a 2-1 edge.
Another Owl run would come across in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman infielder C.J. Chatham led off with single and then moved over after a sacrifice bunt. A FAU groundout put Chatham on third with two outs. Redshirt freshman infielder Esteban Puerta singled through the left side to plate Chatham and give the host Owls a 3-1 advantage.
Game Two: With runners on first and third and one out in the bottom of the 10th inning, Rocklein hit a walk-off single off sophomore right-handed pitcher Cory Eller. It marked Rocklein’s fourth hit of the game and third RBI.
For the second consecutive game, FAU tallied a run in the opening frame. Freshman infielder Stephen Kerr reached on a fielding error by UAB sophomore infielder Adam Smith. After stealing second, Sanger hit a ground ball to Smith. Smith went to get the Kerr at third, but Vincent could not hold on to the ball. Rocklein then hit a bunt single to score Kerr.
UAB tied things up in the top of the fourth inning. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Griffin Gum led things off with a double to deep right center. Schalk then singled to plate Gum from second. It marked his team-leading 29th run batted in of the year.
The host Owls took the lead back in the bottom of the frame. After junior right-handed pitcher Alex Luna retired the first two batters, he allowed a single and walk. With runners on first and second, Santiago singled to plate one and move Kerr to third. Kerr then scored after a single from Sanger to give FAU a 3-1 edge.
Another run would cross for Florida Atlantic in the following inning. Chatham would single to lead off. A sacrifice bunt would move him over to second. Luna looked like he may get out unscathed, after a fly out. With two outs, FAU freshman catcher Kevin Abraham doubled to deep left center to score Chatham.
The Blazers would knot things up in the next at bats. Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing led off with his second hit of the game. After a Gum fly out, Schalk singled to move Prinzing to third. A double down the left field line from Vincent would score Prinzing and move Schalk to third. Sophomore catcher Mitch Williams grounded out, but scored Schalk and pushed Vincent to third. Senior outfielder Ivan De Jesus hit a ground ball to Chatham. Chatham made an errant throw to first, which allowed Vincent to score.
The back-and-forth affair would continue in the bottom of the sixth inning. Senior right-handed pitcher Cameron Rose, in relief of Luna, got the first two Owls out before allowing a walk and single. Freshman left-handed pitcher Thomas Lowery came in and senior designated hitter Levi Meyer delivered a pinch hit single to score the go-ahead run.
A five-run seventh inning would put UAB ahead 9-5. Junior outfielder Chase Davis and Prinzing recorded back-to-back singles then moved over after a Gum sacrifice bunt. Schalk was intentionally walked to load the bases. Vincent was hit by a pitch to score Davis. Williams then singled to plate Prinzing. After a De Jesus strikeout, Morse forced a bases-loaded walk to bring Schalk home. Vincent then stole home on a triple steal and Williams scored after an FAU balk.
FAU cut UAB’s lead to 9-7 in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, sophomore outfielder Billy Endris singled and then Kerr doubled Endris home. Two batters later, Rocklein recorded his second RBI single of the game.
The host squad would tie it back up in its last at bats of regulation. Sanger drew a lead-off walk and then Rocklein doubled. Chatham recorded an RBI single to cut the UAB lead to 9-8. Meyer then hit a sacrifice fly to plate the game-tying run.
The three-game series comes to a conclusion on Saturday afternoon in Boca Raton, Fla. First pitch is set for 10 a.m. CT at the FAU Baseball Stadium.
Notes: Senior right-handed pitcher Chase Mallard now has 91 strikeouts on the year, which ranks third in program history … Despite recording his second loss of 2014, Mallard now has 16 straight quality starts, dating back to 2013 … Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing set a career-high with four hits in the latter game … Junior first baseman Jeff Schalk had two hits in both games and now has a 10-game hitting streak, the longest by a Blazer in 2014 … Junior infielder Nathan Vincent recorded his team-leading 10th double of the year in the second game of the day … Sophomore catcher Mitch Williams and Vincent each recorded two RBI in the latter contest.
For the latest news on Blazer sports, follow the UAB Athletics Twitter account: @UABathletics. For baseball news, follow @UAB_Baseball.