RUSTON, La. (April 5, 2014) – The Blazers of UAB (22-10, 9-3 C-USA) completed a three-game series sweep after taking two games from Louisiana Tech (9-21, 3-12 C-USA) in a Saturday afternoon doubleheader at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
“Our guys certainly did not quit today,” head coach Wade Simoneaux said. “We just cannot find ways to get it done right now. UAB showed they can really pitch and we were just out-matched all day.”
Taylor Love led the Bulldogs at the plate on the afternoon, going a combined 4-for-8 with a home run, double, one RBI and three runs scored in the two games. After reaching base in both games of the doubleheader, Love has now reached base safely in 28 consecutive games.
Game 1: UAB 4, LA Tech 2
LA Tech scored two runs in the first two innings of the day to lead 2-0 over UAB, but the Blazers broke up Richie Navari’s no-hitter in the top of the sixth by scoring three runs on four hits and one Bulldog error to go ahead 3-2. An insurance run in the ninth clinched the series for UAB with a 4-2 win.
Johnny Lieske (3-1) earned the win for UAB after giving up two runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings of work. Turner Lee (2) closed out the final 3.2 innings for the Blazers with six strikeouts for his second save of the season.
Navari (3-3) was charged with the loss in Game 1 after allowing three runs – two earned – on four hits in 7.1 innings on the mound. The senior right-hander struck out five and walked five Blazer hitters in the loss. Eric Dunbar also came on in relief for the Bulldogs, pitching the final 1.2 innings and giving up one run on one hit to end the ball game.
In the first, Taylor Love singled and reached second on a balk by Lieske before Steven Blanchard hit a bunt single to give Tech runners on the corners with no outs. Then, the Bulldogs executed a double steal as Blanchard reached second base safely, while Love crossed home plate for a 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs added a run in the second after Gandy led things off with a double to left field. He reached third on a ground ball by Tyler Ervine before Ryan Jones drove home a run on an infield single to make it a 2-0 advantage for Tech.
It was the sixth inning that caused trouble for the Bulldogs after UAB’s Ryan Prinzing reached on a lead-off walk. The Blazers then put together three consecutive singles and capitalized on a throwing error by Love to make it 3-2 for UAB’s first lead of the day. Chase Davis was hit by a pitch to lead off the ninth for UAB and later scored on an RBI single to right field by Prinzing.
Love led LA Tech at the dish with two hits in four at bats, including a double and a run scored. Jones had the lone RBI of the game for the Bulldogs.
Game 2: UAB 7, LA Tech 4
The Blazers scored multiple runs in each of the second, fourth and fifth innings to jump out to a 7-1 lead over the Bulldogs, who attempted a late comeback, but fell short for a 7-4 loss in the series finale.
Thomas Lowery came on in relief of starter Alex Luna in the fourth and earned the victory after pitched 2.2 innings of one-hit baseball. Lowery (3-1) struck out three of the eight batters he faced. Luna started and went 3.1 innings, giving up one run on three hits. Cameron Rose pitch two-thirds of an inning in the seventh and gave up a run on two hits, while Cory Eller closed it out for the Blazers, but not before allowing two runs by the Bulldogs in the eighth.
Adam Derouen (0-4) was charged with the loss for Tech after pitching four innings and giving up six runs – five earned – on eight base knocks. Mark Baughman came on in relief in the fifth and gave up the final run of the day for UAB on three hits. Braden Bristo pitched the next 2.1 innings, allowing only one hit, before Jared Keating and Laetten Galbraith ended the day for Tech on the mound with scoreless innings.
UAB scored seven runs with the help of nine hits in the first five innings of Game 2 to take an early lead over LA Tech, but the Bulldog pitching staff held the Blazers scoreless for the final four innings to give the Tech hitters a fighting chance.
In the seventh, Jones led off the inning with a single to right center field, advanced to second on a base hit by Chandler Hall and later scored thanks to a throwing error by UAB second baseman Evan Peterson. With UAB’s lead cut to five runs, the Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the eighth on RBI hits by Colby Johnson and Ervine to make it a three-run lead for the Blazers.
Ervine led the Bulldogs at the plate in Game 2 with a 3-for-4 performance with an RBI, while Colby Johnson was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Love had the first run of the game for Tech with a solo home run to right field in the third to cut UAB’s lead to 2-1. The sophomore shortstop totaled two hits, an RBI and two runs in the contest.
The Bulldogs return to action at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 11 as they host FIU in a three-game Conference USA series at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston.
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