UAB baseball is now on a 2-game losing streak after falling to Troy at home on Tuesday 4-2. They’ve now scored just 17 runs in their past five games, which is just 3.4 runs per game, and they’re 2-3 during that stretch.
To get the point across even more, all three of their losses this year came in games where they gave up four runs or more, while in all five of their wins they’ve held their opponent to two runs or less.
While the pitching has been awesome this year, that’s a lot of pressure to put on a staff – knowing that if they don’t keep the opponent under four runs we’re probably going to lose.
The offense has to do a better job of stringing hits together and manufacturing runs. I know coach Shoop is still trying to figure out the batting order and lineup, but something needs to change soon.
As a team we’re hitting just .232 with an on-base-percentage of .311. We also haven’t hit a home run yet this year, while we’ve given up four. This won’t be a home run powered team, so we need to realize that and just focus on putting the ball on the ground and getting on base.
Going to Athens
Moving forward, UAB baseball with travel to Athens, Ga. this weekend to take on the Georgia Bulldogs from the SEC. Georgia is also on a 2-game losing streak and they’re just 3-5 on the season.
Last year they were 27-30 with losses to Western Kentucky and Charlotte from Conference USA.
In eight games they are hitting .264 as a team with an on-base-percentage of .332 with 9 home runs, and they’re averaging 4.9 runs per game.
Adam Sasser is leading the offense with an average of .409 in 22 at-bats with 2 home runs and a .480 on-base-percentage. Will Campbell is hitting .333 with 8 runs scored, 2 home runs and a .412 on-base-percentage. And Michael Curry leads the team with 8 RBIs, as well as 2 home runs.
Even though they’re 3-5 on the season, this might be the most powerful lineup our pitching staff faces all year.
The pitching staff for Georgia is what has really let them down this year. They have a combined ERA of 5.63 and opponents are hitting .256 against them. They do have big strikeout numbers with 78 in 70.1 innings pitched.
Andrew Gist has been their best pitcher this season with an ERA of 1.74 in 10.1 innings with 12 strikeouts. He pitched 0.2 innings on Tuesday, so I’m not sure if they’ll move him into the weekend rotation or not.
Kevin Smith has been the Friday night starter. He has an ERA of 5.59 in 9.2 innings with 12 strikeouts. He had a decent outing his last time out giving up just 2 earned runs in 5.1 innings with 8 strikeouts. He’s also walked five batters this year.
Walks has been the problem for Saturday starter Tony Locey who has given up seven free passes in 8 innings pitched. That’s helped lead to him giving up 7 earned runs this season so far. He also had a much better outing his second time out this year throwing five shutout innings with 6 strikeouts, but he also walked four batters. The Blazers will need to be patient at the plate against Locey.
Chase Adkins started the Sunday game for Georgia last weekend and threw six shutout innings allowing just 3 hits and 3 walks with 4 strikeouts.
We’ll see if we get the Georgia pitching staff that gave up 32 runs in their series against College of Charleston, or the one that only gave up 5 runs in three games against Georgia Southern.
I’ve already been over the issues on offense, so I won’t beat a dead horse. But it would be nice to see us put together some good at-bats against Georgia’s pitching and do a better job of manufacturing runs.
The pitching rotation of Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Graham and Ryan Ruggles will be put to the test this weekend. They’ve been superb so far, but we’ll really see how good they are going up against this Georgia lineup.
It should be a fun weekend in Athens and this will really give us a sense of just how good our team – and in particular, our pitching staff – will be in 2017.
While it would be nice for UAB to win the series, and I definably think they can, I think it’s important for them to at least come away with one win this weekend.
UAB baseball has seven games against SEC teams this year, and they’re all very beatable teams. Hopefully they get things started off right this weekend with a couple of big victories.
Friday – Athens, Ga. – 4 p.m. CT
Garrett Whitlock (2-0, 0.53 ERA, 11 Ks) vs. Kevin Smith (1-1, 5.59 ERA, 12 Ks)
Saturday – Athens, Ga. – 12 p.m. CT
Tanner Graham (1-0, 0.90, 10 Ks) vs. Tony Locey (1-1, 7.88 ERA, 7 Ks)
Sunday – Athens, Ga. – 12 p.m. CT
Ryan Ruggles (1-1, 2.25, 5 Ks) vs. Chase Adkins (1-0, 4.09 ERA, 11 Ks)