April 29, 2012

Blazers Sweep Houston with 1-0 Win Sunday

YOUNG MEMORIAL FIELD -- The opening two games of the Houston-UAB series were high-scoring affairs, with UAB winning the first game 11-9 and the second by a 12-8 score. Should you expect another offensive display in Game Three? Not so. Pitcher Michael Busby pitched a complete-game shutout for the Blazers, and the team won 1-0 on an unearned run.

"That's the beauty of baseball," Coach Brian Shoop said after the game, while smiling at the Blazers getting a three-game sweep of Houston. It was the first sweep for the Blazers in three years and the first three-game sweep since 2008 when the Blazers toppled Marshall in Shoop's first season with UAB.

Busby's performance made the difference. "We needed a strong performance today," Busby said after the game, referring to a bullpen depleted by the marathon first two games.

The scariest moment for Busby came with two outs in the top of the ninth when Cory Kay hit a long fly ball to left. Leftfielder defensive replacement Coy Arrowood got turned around trying to follow the ball. He made a turn to his left just in time to catch the final out.

Shoop praised Busby's performance. Busby has worked on pitching from a new arm slot and still hasn't perfected the technique. Until today. He kept the Houston hitters off-stride for nine innings.

Busby was matched by Houston's Jordan Lewis, who pitched seven innings, giving up only two hits, but got tagged with the loss because of the unearned run.

Jacob German provided the game-winning RBI when he hit a fifth-inning grounder to third base that scored Tanner Bryant with an unearned run to give UAB a 1-0 lead.
Tanner led off the fifth with a double and went to third on an error to set up the score.

Shoop credited Bryant with "a heck of an instinctive play" to set up the run. Bryant rounded second base on his hit at full speed when he realized the throw to second was going to be behind him. He easily beat the relay to third.

Both teams had other chances to score. UAB loaded the bases on three consecutive walks in the fourth, but Ryan Ussery ended the threat with an infield grounder.

Houston threatened a two-out rally in the top of the sixth. UAB pitcher Michael Busby hit Houston's Michael Pyeatt on an 0-2 count, giving him a free pass to first base.. Clean up hitter Chase Jensen followed with a routine grounder to second, but UAB's Keith DePew chose to try for a force out at second instead of throwing to first. The toss to second was late, and Houston had a runner in scoring position. Busby ended the threat by striking out Jonathan Davis.

Houston threatened again in the eighth. Taylor White opened the inning with a single to right field and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt. But Busby struck out pinch hitter Codey Morehouse and forced an infield pop-up from Chase Jensen to end the inning.

Houston tried it again in the ninth, getting two on base with two outs. Busby got Kay to fly out to left field to end the game.

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