UAB beats Troy in baseball and softball

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB baseball team rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the eighth, scoring three times capped off by Todd Wilkinson executing a suicide squeeze to defeat Troy, 4-3, at Young Memorial Field on Tuesday.

UAB improved to 18-12 on the season.  Troy fell to 13-15 with the loss.

The first run of the eighth was knocked in by pinch hitter Ryan Ussery on a RBI single against Troy's Tyson Workman (2-2).  Later in the frame, Coy Arrowood scored on a wild pitch and Ussery would scamper home with the game-winner on Wilkinson's squeeze.

Alex Luna (1-0) earned his first collegiate victory, giving up only one hit in three scoreless innings of work out the Blazer bullpen.  The right-hander struck out two and walked two.

At the plate, Jeff Schalk tied a career-high going 3-for-4.  John Frost and Tyler Mims each went 2-for-4, while Mims also scored twice in the victory.

UAB returns to the diamond on Friday with a trip to Orlando, Fla. to play Conference USA foe UCF.  Game one of the three-game series is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. CT).

In Softball, Senior Catherine Crawford stole home in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the UAB softball team the one run it needed to top the Troy Trojans in a pitcher's duel on Tuesday at the UAB Softball Field. The Blazers improve to 21-13 on the season, while the Trojans fall to 22-12.

UAB pitcher Amber Torres earned the win, tossing a complete game and allowing just four hits.

Ashley Rainey was tagged with the loss for Troy. She allowed five hits and struck out seven Blazer batters.

Troy was receiving votes in both major softball polls (USA Today/NFCA Coaches, Today) and is rated No. 28 in the latest NCAA RPI.

"Hats off to Troy. They played outstanding," UAB head coach Marla Townsend said. "I thought Amber pitched an amazing game and that both pitchers were doing their jobs."

Scoreless through five and a half innings, UAB finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Crawford singled to start off the inning and advanced to third on a single up the middle by Kayla Orr. Troy intentionally walked Mandy Lowman to load the bases with no outs.

The Trojans retired the next two batters and Kate Armstrong stepped to the plate. She never got a chance to hit the ball, as Rainey stepped out of the circle, allowing Crawford to hustle home.

"The hardest part about the game is making adjustments at the plate," Townsend said. "For us to get bases loaded and have Cat 60-feet from home was huge. We were looking for that opportunity and we took advantage of it."

The Blazers return to conference action this weekend with a three game series at East Carolina in Greenville, N.C. UAB and ECU will square off in a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 5 p.m. ET, and will play a single game Sunday starting at 1 p.m. ET.