BIRMINGHAM– Through five innings Wednesday night, the Troy Trojans had done nothing against UAB starting pitcher Benji Waite.
No hits, no hard hit balls, nothing.
When Waite was lifted following the fifth inning, the Trojans immediately went to work against the UAB bullpen, banging out 11 hits over the last four innings to take an 8-4 victory and split the mid-week series.
“UAB has a good club and they have been very successful in midweek games,” Trojans coach Bobby Pierce said. “We got shutout through five innings but came back and got some runs on the board. I am very proud of this team for getting a road win after the loss last night.”
With the victory, the Trojans move back over the .500 mark for the season at 17-16. UAB falls to 20-12 on the year. It was the Blazers’ first mid-week loss since the opening game of the year. They had won eight straight.
After three hitless innings, the Blazers finally broke out in the fourth against Troy reliever Thomas Austin (3-0), but UAB did anything but knock the cover off the ball. John Frost led off the inning with a swinging bunt that Chase Whitley was unable to pick cleanly and Luke Stewart followed with a chopper over the head of Ryan Ditthardt at first into right.
After Austin retired the next two Blazers, catcher Jacob German hit a ground ball to Whitley’s right that took a bad hop and bounced into foul ground, allowing both Frost and Stewart to score for a 2-0 UAB lead.
UAB starter Benji Waite worked five no-hit innings for the Blazers, but the Trojans went to work as soon as he left the game.
Against reliever Colin McMurray (0-1), Todd McRae opened the sixth with a single up the middle. After Chad Watson popped to short, Steven Felix drew a walk before Whitley singled to left, loading the bases.
Austin worked 2.1 innings of relief, the second of five Troy hurlers, to get the win. He allowed two runs on four hits and struck out three. He was followed by Tyler Ray, Drew Hull and Whitley to close the game.
“Thomas pitched well,” Pierce said. “He had good life on his fast ball with some sink. They did a good job of fouling off some good pitches, but he battled.”
Ditthardt knotted the game at 2-2 when he doubled down the line in right and Miles Hoyle followed with a ground ball to short, scoring Whitley with the go-ahead run.
The Trojans will be back in action this weekend at Riddle-Pace Field in Troy when they host defending Sun Belt Conference champion Middle Tennessee in a three-game series. Friday and Saturday’s games are scheduled for a 6 p.m. start. Sunday’s series finale will start at 1 p.m.