BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —- The UAB baseball team put the tying runs on in the ninth inning for the second straight game, but East Carolina dodged a bullet and captured game two of the series, 4-1, on Saturday afternoon at Young Memorial Field.
UAB (16-23, 3-8 C-USA) put runners on base against ECU (19-20, 5-6) throughout the game, but was unable to get the timely hit, stranding 10 runners on base, including two in both the seventh and ninth frames.
“We had lots of chances throughout the game and even the got the right people up in certain situations,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “We kept getting the tying run on base, just couldn’t get him in.”
Down 3-0 in the seventh, UAB’s Tyler Mims and Griffin Gum were each plunked by ECU starter David Lucroy (4-1) with one out in the frame, ending the day for the right-hander. Leadoff hitter Ryan Prinzing greeted reliever Brett Mabry with a single to right, loading the bases for the Blazers. Chase Davis knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice, but Mabry recorded a strikeout to avoid further damage by the UAB bats.
ECU added an insurance run in the eighth, when Jay Cannon laid down a squeeze bunt, pushing the Pirate lead to 4-1.
In the ninth, the Blazers tried to put together some two-out lightning against Mabry, who would record his first save of the season. With two down, pinch hitter Adam Lau was hit by a pitch and Prinzing singled to put the tying runs on base. Mabry induced a ground out to third for the final out of the game to hold off the UAB comeback.
ECU’s Lucroy was solid on the mound, logging 6.1 innings, allowing only four hits and striking out six to earn the win. Mabry pitched the final 2.2 innings with three strikeouts to earn the save.
Sam Kelley was the tough-luck loser for the Blazers, working 5.2 innings and giving up just two runs on four hits.
“Sam was great again for us today and he seems to keep us in the game every time he goes out there for us,” Shoop said. “We just haven’t been able to give him much run support or he would have five or six wins for us this season.”
Prinzing and Harry Clark each went 2-for-4 for the Blazers to pace the offense.
ECU’s Bryan Bass did his job in the leadoff spot, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and knocking in another.