HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Holding the seventh-ranked team in the country to just one run in 16 innings, the 11th-ranked University of Alabama in Huntsville baseball team took the first two games of the series on Saturday afternoon, 5-0 and 4-1 over West Florida at Charger Park.
UAH (23-6-1, 8-2-1 GSC) shutout the visiting Argonauts (23-8, 8-6 GSC) in game one and used a late rally in the second game to win the three-game series and set themselves up for a crucial sweep tomorrow.
Game 1: UAH-5 UWF-0
Andrew Busby stole the show in the first game of the doubleheader, throwing the first complete game (nine inning) shutout since 2011. Busby struck out a career-high 12 batters, including a new UAH-record of striking out eight batters looking.
The native of Gardendale, Ala., held West Florida to just six hits, while not allowing a single earned or unearned run. The junior walked just one batter en route to improving his record to 4-1 on the season.
Despite their second-lowest total of the season of just four hits in the game, the Chargers used aggressive base-running and timely hitting to score their five runs.
UAH plated their first run of the game in the second inning, when a wild pitch went to the backstop and allowed Vincent Kortbawi to race in and score. Then with a runner at first and third later in the inning, the UWF catcher decided to throw down to second on a steal attempt, which then allowed Conner McCain to swipe home in the process.
As Busby continued to roll along, the Chargers added three more in the fourth inning. Chase Handley started the offense when he found the hole on the left side to bring in McCain for his second run scored in the game.
Blake Massey continued the run production with a bases-loaded 2-RBI single later in the inning, which pushed UAH out a 5-0 lead they would hold until the end. Massey led the way with those two RBIs going 1-for-3 at the plate.
The two teams played scoreless the remaining five innings, as Busby didn’t allow a UWF to even threaten and forced the Argos into three double play balls.
Game 2: UAH-4 UWF-1
Dana Wright received the start in game two and did not disappoint. The senior went 4.0 innings strong, allowing just the one earned run in the top of the first inning. Wright picked up the win to improve his record to 2-1 and surrendered just three hits.
A Massey RBI-single in the second inning would tie the game at 1-1 when he lined the pitch back up the middle to bring home McCain. The two squads would play a tight 1-1 game until the fifth inning when UAH took their first lead.
With Justin Pearson reached on an infield single and Chandler Brock safely advanced him to second, the team’s leader in RBIs came through with an RBI-double that plated Pearson as the go-ahead run. Kortbawi crushed an off-speed pitch over the right fielder’s head and to the wall to give the Chargers the lead they would not relinquish.
An inning later UAH added on a couple more, when back-to-back singles had UAH in business with nobody out. Cody Burton added the first run when he smacked a single down the right field line to bring home Chase Handley. Brock added on the fourth run of the game when the team’s leading hitter found the grass in left field, allowing Massey to come home.
With three runs of cushion and a strong outing in his recent memory, Cody Barrett notched save number one of the season when he sat down West Florida in order. The program’s all-time leader in saves did not allow a base-runner and needed just seven pitches to do so.
This time it was the Argonauts with just four hits as the UAH pitching staff, which received two strong innings from reliever Codey Paulson, shut down the bats of the seventh-ranked squad in Division II. The Chargers finished with 10 hits of their own in the game.
It’s the first time UAH has won the series and back-to-back games over West Florida since 2009.
The two teams will play the third and final game of the series tomorrow at 12 noon as UAH looks for the much-recognized sweep over West Florida.
Courtesy: UAH Media Relations