The UAB pitching staff held a very good Ohio offense to just 10 runs over the weekend, and won two of three games to get their first series victory of the year.
Just one week after dropping a three-game series to Arkansas State, UAB looked like a much different team this past weekend. They got back to doing what a Coach Shoop team does best, and that’s pitching, defense and being opportunistic on offense.
It looked like it was going to be a long weekend on Friday night as the potent Ohio offense was hot early and took a 5-2 lead after two and a half innings. Then the Blazers exploded for 5 runs in the fifth inning.
Adam Lamar and Dylan Munger combined to pitch 6 innings of relief, while giving up just 1 run on 6 hits and a walk. The Blazers scored four more in the seventh and three in the eighth to win 15-6.
Freshman Carter Pharis exploded on Friday night going 3-5 with 5 RBIs. Brewer Hicklen scores 3 runs and drove in 2 runs in the win.
The fifth inning was good to the Blazers again on Saturday as they broke up a 1-1 tie with three runs. There was really only one hard hit ball, but UAB took what Ohio gave them. They even scored on a squeeze play where Hicklen was dead at home but he dodged the catcher to score. They added three more in the seventh to put it away for good as they came away with a 7-2 win.
Senior Griffin Gum had a great game at the plate going 3-4 with 2 runs and 2 RBIs.
Austin Thomas started the game and gave up just 1 unearned run on 2 hits and 3 walks over 4.2 innings with 3 strikeouts. Garret Whitlock finished the game giving up just 1 earned run on 5 hits and a walk over 4.1 innings with 4 strikeouts.
There was scary moment with two outs in the ninth as Whitlock appeared to take a comebacker to the throat area. He laid on the ground for a few minutes before jumping up and eventually getting the last out. We certainly hope and pray that Garrett is alright.
The bats were quiet for both teams on Sunday as UAB only picked up 1 run on 3 hits, but the Bobcats were just a little bit better scoring 2 runs on 5 hits. The Blazers were actually up 1-0 in the seventh when Ohio hit a 2-run homer.
UAB loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth but were unable to push one across. They put two runners on in the ninth but failed to bring one home.
Tanner Graham got the start and pitched 5 scoreless innings, while allowing just 4 hits. Thomas Lowery pitched 4 innings and struck out 5 batters, but he gave up a walk that was followed by a home run, which was the only hit he would allow.
The way the weekend ended was a bit disappointing, especially with how well Graham and Lowery pitched, but overall this was a much better weekend for UAB. They showed a lot of improvement from week one as the pitching was even better, and other than Sunday, the offense was good.
Through the first seven games of the year the UAB pitching staff has posted a solid 3.19 ERA, while the offense is averaging just over 5 runs a game. If this team keeps up those numbers the wins will start to come.
It was fun watching this team get back to playing the UAB brand of baseball this weekend, and I love watching this team grow.
The Blazers (3-4) will be back in action on Tuesday as they travel across town to take on Samford at 4 p.m. Then they’ll be back at home on Wednesday to try and avenge a 2-1 loss from last week against Troy. The Blazers and Trojans will play at 4 p.m. at Regions Field.