AUBURN, Ala. – The No. 30 UAB baseball team lost its first game in its past 11 contests with a 6-5 loss at Auburn on Tuesday night. The loss snaps the squad's longest win streak since the 2005 campaign.
"We walked seven, hit two, and made two errors," head coach Brian Shoop said. "When you give them freebies, you lose. It's usually the strength of our team. They are humans, can't do it every game. A 5-5 game, two outs in the ninth, it could have gone either way. We have been good because we have beaten the freebie war so many times. We didn't do that tonight."
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Adam Lau plunked the first Auburn batter in the bottom of the ninth inning. With one out, senior left-handed pitcher Turner Lee replaced Lau and forced a fly out. Lee intentionally walked the next batter. On the next play, sophomore infielder Adam Smith saved the contest by making a lunging stop to limit Auburn freshman infielder Damon Haecker to an infield single. With the bases loaded, Lee walked senior infielder Dan Glevenyak and the winning run came in.
UAB (34-17) had its chance in the top of the ninth. Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing singled through the right side to lead off. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Griffin Gum moved Prinzing over with a sacrifice bunt. Junior first baseman Jeff Schalk was intentionally walked. A wild pitch moved the runners over to second and third for junior infielder Nathan Vincent. Vincent and sophomore catcher Mitch Williams both struck out looking to end the threat.
"We had an opportunity to win the game," added Shoop. "We had a guy we would like to have up, second and third, one out in the ninth. It could have gone either way. We have had some go our way, this one didn't."
For the 34th time in 2014, UAB was the first team to put runs on the board. Vincent drew a walk with one out and then stole second base. After Williams lined out to first, senior outfielder Ivan De Jesus was plunked and redshirt junior infielder Matt Morse walked to load the bases. Smith was hit by a pitch, scoring Vincent from third. Junior outfielder Chase Davis got the first hit of the night, an infield single, to plate De Jesus and give the Blazers a 2-0 lead.
Auburn (28-25) battled back with a run of its own in the bottom of the frame. Tigers senior infielder Damek Tomscha was hit by UAB redshirt freshman left-handed pitcher Adam Lamar to lead off then stole second. Glevenyak singled to right center to score Tomscha.
The host team pulled ahead in the following inning with three runs. Sophomore outfielder Sam Gillikin led things off with a double. Redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Ben Bullard replaced Lamar after the two-bagger. Auburn freshman Anfernee Grier topped a ball in front of home, Bullard collected it, made a throwing error, and runners were on first and third. Senior outfielder Ryan Tella used a sacrifice bunt to score one. After an Auburn fly out, Tomscha singled to right to plate Grier. Freshman first baseman Daniel Robert then recorded an infield single. Smith made an attempt to get Robert at first, but the throw sailed wide and Tomscha came home.
UAB rallied back in the fifth inning with three runs. Prinzing started things off with a single to left center. After Gum lined out to left and Schalk walked, Vincent came up to bat. Vincent blasted a triple to center field to tie things up. Williams then singled up the middle, scoring Vincent, to push the Blazers ahead 5-4.
Auburn tied it back it up an inning later. Haecker led off with a single and then sophomore outfielder Jordan Ebert reached on a fielder's choice. With Ebert on second after a stolen base, Gillikin recorded his second double of the night and plated Ebert.
The UAB baseball team will play its final three-game series of 2014 beginning on Thursday night at Florida Atlantic. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m. CT in Boca Raton, Fla.