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Blazers baseball starting to heat up
The Blazers baseball team started the week red hot while dealing with cold temperatures. UAB entertained Saint Joseph’s Wednesday and Thursday at Young Memorial Field and recorded two victories over the Hawks from Philadelphia.
Turner Lee started the game for the green and gold pitching four innings. Lee gave up two hits, two earned runs, and walked four batters. Cory Eller relieved Lee in the fifth inning and recorded his first victory on the season. The freshman from Niceville, Florida pitched three productive innings striking out three batters.
Pitching was not the only thing UAB did well Wednesday; the bats came alive. “Baseball is so weird. Runs have been so difficult to score so far this season. I don’t know how many balls we squared up tonight, but we squared up a ton. Almost more tonight than the rest of the game combined it seemed,” said UAB head coach Brian Shoop.
Five Blazer batters recorded multiple hits and eight of the nine starters produced at least one hit. Jacob German, a UAB senior, led the offense with three hits and four RBI’s.
John Frost and Tyler Mims also joined German in recording three hits and the team itself had a total of 17 hits.
“German had a great night for us, and Tyler (Mims), who has been struggling, also swung the bat really well,” Shoop said.
Chase Davis pitched the eighth and ninth innings for UAB, closing out an 11-3 victory. Davis faced six batters and struck out five of the batters.
Thursday’s game was a much different game and a pitching duel for both teams. The Blazers used four pitchers and sophomore, Sam Kelley, got the start.
The Moundville, Alabama product pitched 4.1 scoreless innings, striking out two, and only giving up three hits.
“Sam did great. It was a tough call to make a pitching change at that time, but he was to the pitch count that we thought would be comfortable for him today,” Shoop said.
Jacob German came into the game for Kelley to earn his second win on the season (2-0). German did not give up a hit in 2.2 innings. Harry Clark and Matt Morse drove in UAB’s only two runs in the fourth inning propelling the Blazers to a 2-1 victory.
“The key to that game was that it was a three freebie game. The one intentional walk I wouldn’t count so we had one walk, one hit batter, and one error and that makes it difficult (for the opponent) to score. If you can play games with three freebies, you’re almost always in those games and today was another case of that,” Shoop stated.
The Blazers traveled to Jonesboro, Arkansas for a three-game series against Arkansas State Friday and Saturday. Due to inclement weather expected for Sunday, the two teams played a double header Saturday.
Friday night’s game was a classic low-scoring affair that went ten innings. Tanner Bryant and Chase Mallard only gave up two runs over eleven innings, but the Blazers fell short only producing one run.
“Every pitcher that went out there today, two for us and three for them, I thought were all really good. It was a Friday night pitching duel that took two outs into the 11th to decide,” Shoop said. Logan Uxa reached on base by a fielder’s choice and then advanced to second base due to a wild pitch.
Alex Potts then singled, scoring Uxa, giving Arkansas State the win.
“It was a great college game. I think everyone enjoyed watching it. We certainly had our chances, bases-loaded and one out and we only get one and then guys on first and third and we ground into a double play. It was just a really good college baseball game and we just came out on the wrong end of it,” Shoop said of the heartbreaking loss.
James Naile started game one of the double header for UAB. The outing did not go as well and did not have run support from his offense. Naile gave up four runs (two earned), seven hits, two walks, and striking out two.
The Blazers fell 8-1 and the long run scored was from John Frosts’ fourth inning solo home run. Chandler Hawkins received the win for Arkansas State, pitching a gem. Hawkins gave up only one run and five hits in seven innings pitched.
The Blazers concluded the week with a 4-2 victory in game two of the doubleheader and putting the green and gold 3-2 overall for the week and currently standing at 7-9 on the season.
John Frost and Ivan De Jesus helped UAB win the game in the ninth inning with a pair of RBI’s. The two RBI’s gave the Blazers a 4-2 lead and allowed Turner Lee to pick up his for win on the year.
“That was the Turner Lee that we thought we thought we had. He let us hang around and kept us in the game and was able to close the door as well after we took the lead. He’s had good stuff the entire time but his mentality an approach tonight is what we are looking for if he can continue that, he will be really good for us,” Shoop said of the game two win.
The Blazers will be back in action Tuesday this week. The defending Conference-USA champions head to Troy to take on the in-state rival Trojans at 6 p.m.
UAB then travels to Orlando for the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. UAB plays Valparaiso Friday (10 a.m. CT), Indiana on Saturday (1 p.m. CT), and Dartmouth on Sunday (2:30 p.m. CT).