Baseball Caps Off 2017 Campaign Versus Rice


May 17, 2017

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB baseball team will look to end its season on a high-note when it hosts a surging Rice team this weekend at Young Memorial Field. The Blazers sport a record of 23-29 this year and are 8-19 in Conference USA while the Owls, who have won 12 of their last 15 games, are 25-28 overall and 14-13 in C-USA.

The first two games will be played Thursday and Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Blazers will honor the academic accomplishments the team has achieved 10 minutes before Friday night's game as all but two players on the team have earned a 3.0 GPA-or-better at least one semester. The finale will occur on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The Green & Gold will honor a group of nine seniors before the game with a special presentation beginning approximately 15 minutes before first pitch.

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ON THE MOUND

The Last Meeting
UAB0
Rice3
April 10, 2016
Houston, Texas
No. 25 Rice Takes Sunday Rubber Match 3-0 Over UAB
The bats for UAB baseball were limited to only two hits Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park as No. 25 Rice picked up a 3-0 win and 2-1 series win over the Blazers in Houston on get-away day.


Day

Player

R/L

Class

Stats

Opp. Pitcher

R/L

Class

Stats

Thursday

Thomas Lowery

L

Sr.

6-2, 4.06 ERA

TBA

-

-

-

Friday

TBA

-

-

-

TBA

-

-

-

Saturday

TBA

-

-

-

TBA

-

-

-


QUICK RECAP – BLAZERS SWEPT BY #22 GOLDEN EAGLES ON ROAD 
UAB struggled to produce runs in its final road series of the year, albeit against the Conference USA regular season champions Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles outscored the Blazers 22-6 over the three games.

Antonio Ralat was strong on Saturday at the plate. The sophomore shortstop belted his third career home run as he tallied three RBI and a pair of hits.

Ryan Ruggles pitched well in relief of the mid-game. The junior lefty threw three shutout innings and struckout five of the 13 batters he faced.

SENIOR DAY
This year’s senior group will go down as one of the most decorated in UAB baseball history. A number of these players see their names frequently throughout the UAB record books while as a team they have also accomplished a lot. The Blazers tied a school record with a nine-game Conference USA winning streak in 2014 and also earned its highest-finish ever in Conference USA, placing second in the league. This group also made a run to the C-USA Championship in 2015.

Before Saturday’s finale against Rice, the Blazers will honor players Cory Eller, Eric Henderson, Adam Lamar, Thomas Lowery, Riley McCown, Dylan Munger, Pierce Ressmeyer and Austin Thomas in addition to student manager and son of UAB head coach Brian Shoop, Jesse Shoop. Eller, Lamar, Lowery and Munger have combined for 290 games pitched, the most appearances ever for a group of four seniors.

BREWING SUCCESS
Brewer Hicklen continues to get on base with regularity despite playing through a broken bone in his left hand. The sophomore is on a 38-game on-base streak with a .449 on-base percentage in that span. Hicklen had a 19-game hitting streak to start this recent stretch, four shy of the longest hitting streak in school history set by Doug Gann during the 1991 season. He batted .427 with 24 runs, four doubles, three triples, six home runs, 19 RBI, and 60 total bases to go along with 11 stolen bases.

Hicklen currently leads the team with a .326 average, 38 runs, 28 RBI, six triples, and 102 total bases. Nationally, he is one of 22 players with six-or-more triples. Hicklen is also the only player in the nation with at least five home runs (seven), six triples, and 11 stolen bases (16).

The Huntsville, Ala., native sees his name across multiple national leaders in statistics. He ranks tied for 13th in triples (six), 124th in slugging percentage (.583%), and 93rd in stolen bases (16). Hicklen is second in Conference USA in triples and first in stolen bases.

Hicklen earned Conference USA Co-Hitter of the Week honors on March 13 after batting .600 over five games. Hicklen totaled eight runs including the game-winning runs in each of the last two games versus ULM. He added 12 hits, one double, two triples, the first home run of the UAB season, three RBI, 20 total bases, and four steals while batting a perfect 4-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

The centerfielder for the Blazers started all 55 games a year ago as a freshman. Hicklen batted .289 with a team-high 37 runs, four triples, 38 walks, and 22 stolen bases. Hicklen is also a member of the UAB football team and spent the fall practicing with both sports. In football, the 6’2”, 208 lbs. athlete is a wide receiver.

Hicklen has already jotted his name down in the UAB record books. He is just the 11th player in school history to record nine-or-more triples and his 38 career steals ranks tenth in UAB history.

RICH IN HISTORY
There will be plenty of history and victories between the two dugouts at Young Memorial Field this weekend. UAB head coach Brian Shoop became the 80th coach in Division I history to breach 1,000 wins nearly a month ago, joining Rice’s head coach Wayne Graham who has accounted for 1,139 victories. When you add-in UAB volunteer assistant coach and Shoop’s mentor, Ron Polk, the trio have a combined 3,517 wins. The three have combined for numerous championships as well as Polk receiving a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team in 1988.

SCOUTING RICE
The Owls have atypically sat below .500 this season and risk their first ever season below the mark under head coach Wayne Graham in 26 years with him at the helm. Rice has surged lately though, winning four straight C-USA series and posting a 12-3 record over the last 15 games.

Dominic DiCaprio leads the team at the plate with a .365. The sophomore catcher was also named to the watch list for the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award. He is one of five Owls to play in 52-or-more games this year.

SERIES HISTORY
The Blazers took the first two games of the series the last time they hosted Rice. The Owls were ranked 14th in the nation at the time as UAB outscored them 18-4 across the first two games. The two sides have split the last six contests.

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).