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March 25, 2012Michael Busby handcuffed Marshall for 7.2 innings Sunday afternoon picking up his second win of the season as UAB topped Marshall 2-1, to take two of three from the Thundering Herd and move into a tie for second as Conference USA wrapped up its first weekend of conference play. Busby gave up six hits and only one run. He struck out eight and did not surrender a walk hitting the strike zone on 62 or 82 pitches.
"Busby's rock solid in every way," said UAB head coach Brian Shoop. "He's the kind of guy you want your daughter to bring home. He's our leader, our guys believe in him. He's the best we've thrown out there on a Sunday since I've been here."
"They chased a few pitches," Busby said. "Coach Hopper set them up really well. He's got a plan for every batter and it worked out very well."
Marshall put lead-off batter Isaac Ballou on in the first but Blazer catcher Jacob German threw him out trying to steal second. Alfredo Brito led off the second inning with a single, one of three the Herd would manage for the inning. He scored on a Thor Meeks single for Marshall's only run of the game.
"About the third of fourth inning I started to get in a rhythm," Busby said. "It's sure a lot easier to pitch with a four or five run lead than with a one run lead or in a tie game.
The rhythm Busby found carried over when he was replaced by Dylan Munger in the eighth who gave way to Ryan Nance in the ninth. The Herd was held to six singles for the game and did not have a baserunner reach base after the fourth inning.
Most of UAB's offense came in the second inning also. Patrick Palmeiro started things off with a one out double, the only extra base hit of the day, Tanner Bryant and German both walked to load the bases. Keith DePew singled home Palmeiro and then Ivan De Jesus, who went 4-4 on the day, singled home Bryant. John Frost then singled home to more runs to put the Blazers up 4-1.
German reached base on an error in the sixth he advanceed on a sacrifice bunt, a single and scored when Frost grounded out to second, notching his third rbi of the day.
"I'm relieved," Shoop said. "Series in this league are so hard. The road team has won this series the last five years.
UAB will host Alabama at Regions Park at 6:30 pm on Tuesday. They travel to East Carolina for a weekend series and the following weekend travel to Central Florida for another weekend series. Both teams are ranked in the Top 25. "It's just relentless, it doesn't let up," Shoop said. "We've just got to keep grinding. When you win you sleep, when you lose you don't - but either way you're back to the grind the next day."
UAB improved to 16-9 overall and 2-1 in league play. Marshall dropped to 10-13 overall and 1-2 in conference play.