It was a frustrating weekend for UAB baseball as they traveled to Omaha to play Creighton at the host of the College World Series in TD Ameritrade Park, but failed to pick up a win losing three games by a combined total of 4 runs.
The Blazers now dropped to 6-9 on the season and face two mid-week games against 10th ranked Ole Miss before beginning conference play.
Brewer Hicklen and Evan Peterson both picked up a pair of hits in the 2-1 loss on Friday night, while Ryan Ruggles had another solid outing giving up just 2 earned runs on 6 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings. However, the Blue Jays’ staff was just a bit better as they struck out 10 and didn’t allow a walk in the game.
UAB jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Saturday, but that was all they would get as Creighton came back to win 3-1. Hicklen picked up two more hits in this one and scored a run, while Griffin Gum also had 2 hits and an RBI. Adam Lamar and Stephen Baggett combined to pitch 3.1 innings of relief without giving up a hit.
The Blazers jumped out to an early lead again on Sunday scoring two in the first, but the Blue Jays came right back with one in the bottom half of the frame, two more in the second and then the game-deciding run in the fourth for the 4-3 win.
Batting from the lead-off spot, Esteban Tresgallo went 2-3 with a run scored, while Mitch Williams had 2 RBIs. The Blazers only managed 4 hits in the game, but drew 5 walks. Thomas Lowery and Gerrett Whitlock kept the Blazers in the game by only giving up a combined 2 hits over the last 6.1 innings.
The Creighton bullpen gave up just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 3 walks in 13.2 innings pitched over the weekend. I said in my preview that it was imperative for the Blazers to get an early lead because the Blue Jay bullpen is lights out, and that proved to be the case.
The young offense has really started to struggle lately as they’re team batting average has dropped to .223, and they’re averaging just over 4 runs a game. Two seniors, Griffin Gum and Evan Peterson, lead the team with a .286 and .283 average respectively.
On the other hand, the pitching has been good enough to win with a staff ERA of 3.32. Adam Lamar leads the team with a 0.96 ERA in 18.2 innings pitched.
I think the pitching rotation and bullpen are pretty set, but coach Shoop is still trying to figure out the best way to construct his lineup, and unfortunately time is running out as conference play begins this weekend.
UAB has played a very difficult out-of-conference schedule that I think will definitely help them for Conference USA games. They’ll play their two most difficult games all year this week as they host 10th ranked Ole Miss at Regions Field this Tuesday at 6:30, and Wednesday at 11:30.
Please go out and support your UAB baseball team as they look to take down the SEC foe.