Blazers Win Baseball Series With Saint Louis With a 4-3 Victory Sunday

March 18, 2001

Pinch runner Cory Acklus scored the winning run from third base on a wild pitch by Saint Louis reliever Dave Guntorius as the Blazers defeated the Billikens 4-3 in Conference USA action Sunday afternoon at Young Memorial Field.

UAB (14-6, 2-1 C-USA) entered the top of the ninth with a 3-1 lead, but the Billikens (9-9, 1-2) tied the game as first baseman Ben Caffey led off with a single and scored on a ground ball by center fielder Steve Moss and left fielder Curt Evans drove in Moss with an RBI single, both off UAB reliever Joe Yarbrough.

Right-handed reliever Blake Allen then came on to pitch for the Blazers and retired Saint Louis second baseman Nick Steiner on a foul pop to first base, ending the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, UAB designated hitter Brandon Isbell singled to left field with one out and was replaced by Acklus on first base. Third baseman Matt Gaulden then advanced Acklus to second base with a sacrifice bunt.

Shortstop Mark Garner and pinch-hitter Brandon Holmes then both drew walks from Saint Louis reliever Kris Weber, loading the bases for left fielder Mitch Jones.

Saint Louis coach Bob Hughes then brought on Guntorius, who threw a ball and a strike to Jones before bouncing his third pitch by catcher Andrew Slania, allowing Acklus to score the winning run.

UAB took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by catcher Al Hecklinski that scored Garner. The Blazers added a second run in the fifth as Gaulden scored from second base on a play that involved errors by Billiken pitcher Ben Hutton and Moss.

UAB's third run of the day came in the eighth as center fielder Christian Reimers led off with a double, moved to third on a fly out by Jones, and scored on a throwing error by Slania.

UAB's Allen (3-1) faced only one batter in the top of the ninth, but got the win by successfully retiring the side. Blazer starter Rob Caputo worked four and one-third innings, allowing one run on five hits, with four walks and one strikeout. Yarbrough also worked four and one-third innings, allowing two runs on three hits, with one walk and three strikeouts.

Saint Louis' Weber (0-1) worked one inning, allowing one run on one hit, with two walks and no strikeouts. Billiken starter Hutton worked seven and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, with two walks and six strikeouts.