BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - UAB made the most of two big innings for a 14-4 win over the Rice baseball team in the second game of the Conference USA weekend series Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.
The Blazers posted 14 runs on 14 hits, doing all the scoring in the second and sixth innings to take the first two games of the C-USA set. Rice is now 22-15 on the season and 11-6 against the league. The Blazers improved to 21-12 overall and 8-6 in conference.
Hits for the Owls may have been at a premium in Friday's opening game of the series, and runs even more so, but Rice went right to work Saturday in the top of the first. Ford Stainback lined a one-out single to left and Charlie Warren reached on a fielder's choice ground out. Senior John Clay Reeves drew a walk, and both runners advanced 90 feet on a Blazer wild pitch. Connor Teykl laced a double down the right field line to clear the bases and the Owls were in business a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second UAB used two walks and strung together five hits on the way to a big six-run frame. The big blow was a bases-loaded triple by Nathan Vincent that cleared the stations. The Blazers sent a total of nine men to the plate for a 6-2 lead.
Rice fought back for two runs in the top of the fourth. Tristan Gray drew a leadoff walk and John Williamson singled to left. The runners advanced on Kirby Taylor's sacrifice bunt. Ryan Chandler followed with a liner up the middle to drive-in both to put Rice to within two, 6-4.
UAB got the runs back and more in the bottom of the fifth. The Blazers again batted around for eight runs to stretch the margin to 14-4. Of the seven hits in the inning, the two biggest were matching two-run homers to left by Adam Smith and Griffin Gum.
Jordan Stephens started on the mound for Rice and worked a total of 4.1 innings. He allowed seven runs on seven hits while striking out three. Matt Ditman, Dane Myers and Ricardo Salinas saw action out of the bullpen.
On the offensive side six Owls hit safely in the contest. Chandler and Teykl both drove in a pair of runs. The series concludes Sunday. First pitch is set for 1 pm at Young Memorial Field on the UAB campus.