Owls Top Blazers in Series Opener

May 18, 2017

Final Stats

Final Stats (PDF)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB baseball team struggled on Thursday night at Young Memorial Field against a surging Rice team. The Blazers lost 12-4 and were outhit 15-5 as they dropped to 23-30 overall and 8-20 in Conference USA. The Owls improved to 26-28 with the win and 15-13 in C-USA.

“Even though there is nothing on the line, we go into it trying to win,” said UAB head coach Brian Shoop. “We’re just having trouble getting people out and we’re giving up a lot of runs.”

Pierce Ressmeyer wouldn’t take long to give UAB its first runs of the game. The senior designated hitter launched a home run off the netting in front of the scoreboard at YMF in the second Blazer at-bat of the game. It plated Brewer Hicklen and gave the Blazers and early 2-1 advantage.

The Owls would retake the lead as the lineup hit around in the second inning. Rice poured on six runs on six hits to establish a 7-2 lead.

The fourth inning saw Rice find more success at the plate as back-to-back solo home runs increased the lead to 9-2.

Thomas Lowery left the game after 4.1 innings. While he was charged with the loss and the runs to that point, Lowery did strikeout four batters to pass Chase Mallard for fourth in school history in that statistic with 210 K’s. The senior lefty was making his final career appearances as he finishes his career third in school history in wins (18), pitching appearances (88), and career ERA (3.37), second in relief appearances (73) and saves (17), and ninth in innings pitched (232.1).

“I hated that for Thomas, for that to be his last outing,” stated Shoop. “He’s had so many great outings and been such an integral part of our program. Just one of the toughest, best competitive kids I’ve ever had. He’s just been so good, it was sad and painful to watch the bad outing come there. But it was pretty neat to be able to get him out in the middle of an inning. You could see the appreciation of the fans and even more so, his brothers – his teammates. It’s a very close group and they love each other.”

The Blazers displayed resiliency by scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Stephen Dobbs and Zack Davis each drove in runs as the Blazers cut the deficit to 9-4. Rice, however, would score three runs across the eighth and ninth innings to win 12-4.

Ressmeyer’s homer was his third of the season as he upped his RBI total to 21. He finished 1-for-5 at the plate.

Hicklen extended his on-base streak to 39 straight contests as his first inning hit gave him a line of 1-for-4 with a run scored and one walk tonight.

Riley McCown walked three times in the game, the first time a Blazer has done that since Jeff Schalk did so versus Middle Tennessee over three years ago (March 8, 2014).

Adam Lamar was strong in relief for UAB. The senior lefty pitched four frames allowing only one hit, one walk, and one run while striking out four batters.

Cory Eller was able to make a relief appearance as well for the third time this season. The fifth-year senior move into a tie for third place all-time in relief appearances (69) and took sole possession of ninth for career pitching appearances (70).

“I’m happy we could get them out in the middle of an inning as well,” said Shoop on Eller and Lamar. “I think that was a special moment for those three (senior pitchers) that love UAB, love this program, and love one another. We’ll be able to honor a few more this weekend.”

The Blazers and Owls return to action on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

For more information on the UAB baseball team, follow the Blazers on Twitter (@UAB_Baseball). For more on all Blazer sports teams follow the official social media accounts of UAB Athletics on Twitter (@UAB_Athletics), on Facebook (Facebook.com/UAB.Blazers), on Instagram (@uab_athletics) or on Snapchat (@uabathletics).