RUSTON, La. (April 4, 2014) – UAB (20-10, 7-3 C-USA) broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning and never looked back as the Blazers won the series opener, 8-1, over Louisiana Tech (9-19, 3-10 C-USA) Friday night at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
With the game knotted at 1-1 after three innings, UAB scored one run in the fourth, three in the fifth, another in the sixth and capped off the victory with two solo home runs in the eighth to help lead the Blazers to a win over LA Tech. Tonight’s defeat marks the fifth straight loss for the Bulldogs this season.
“We had a chance to take the lead with a multiple-run inning in the second and we didn’t get it done,” head coach Wade Simoneaux said postgame. “You have to give them credit because it was a well-pitched game by their guy. Tonight was the first game in a long time that we were not in, but our guys are not going to start giving in or quit.”
The reigning Conference USA Pitcher of the Week, Chase Mallard, picked up his sixth win of the season for UAB after keeping the Bulldog hitters off balance for seven complete innings on the mound. Mallard (6-0) allowed just four base knocks and one run, while striking out five in the outing. Adam Lamar pitched the final two innings for the Blazers, while giving up two hits and strikeout out two.
Phil Maton (2-4) was charged with the loss for Louisiana Tech after giving up seven runs – six earned – on 12 hits, while fanning four UAB batters in the outing. Luke Giddens came on in the eighth inning and gave up one run off one hit, a solo home run in the eighth, while striking out three in 1.2 innings of relief work.
The Blazers wasted no time crossing the plate after Chase Davis and Ivan De Jesus led off the game with back-to-back singles. Two quick outs followed, but an RBI single to right center by Jeff Schalk scored Davis from second and gave UAB a 1-0 lead after half an inning of play.
LA Tech answered back quickly in the second with Ryan Jones leading off the inning with a single before advancing to third on a double to dead center field by Tyler Ervine. Bre’shon Kimbell followed up with an RBI single to plate Jones for the Bulldogs’ lone run of the ball game. While the Bulldogs had more chances to add to their lead in the second, Tech left two runners stranded to end the inning knotted at 1-1.
UAB pushed across the go-ahead run in the fourth when sacrifice fly to make it 2-1, but it was the fifth inning that caused the most trouble for the Bulldogs, as the Blazers scored three runs on three hits, including a two-run home run to right field by Schalk to extend UAB’s lead to 5-1 over LA Tech.
The Blazers plated another run in the sixth thanks to a fielding error by Taylor Love, but UAB once again added multiple runs in the eighth with two solo home runs by Mitch Williams and Evan Peterson to complete the scoring.
Kimbell drove home the lone RBI of the night for the Bulldogs as the junior outfielder was 1-for-3 in the loss. Ryan Jones had one base hit and scored a run, while Ervine was 1-for-3 with a double. Chandler Hall, Conner Tobias and Taylor Burch each had hits of their own for a total of six LA Tech base hits. Taylor Love also extended his reached base streak to 26 games after being hit by a pitch in the first inning.
UAB first baseman Jeff Schalk led the Blazers with a 3-for-5 performance at the dish with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. Mitch Williams, Griffin Gum and Chase Davis each had two hits apiece for the Blazers. As a team, UAB out-hit the Bulldogs 13 to six, while LA Tech left seven runners on base in the game.
The final two games of the series will be played as part of a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. Richie Navari will get the start in the first game for the Bulldogs, while Adam Derouen is scheduled to take the mound in Game 2.
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