BIRMINGHAM, AL -
Senior right-handed pitcher Chase Mallard threw a four-hit complete game shutout to guide the UAB baseball team to a 1-0 victory against No. 29 FIU on Friday night at Young Memorial Field. It marked UAB’s first win against a nationally ranked opponent since May 3, 2013 against then-No. 18 Rice.
“He has done it every single time out,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “That was against a really good offensive team, whether it looked like it or not tonight. That lineup is just pummeling people. They are putting up runs like crazy. It’s just Chase Mallard again.”
Mallard shut down the top offensive team in Conference USA on Friday night. Heading into the series opener, FIU (21-5, 6-4) led the conference in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored, hits, runs batted in, home runs, total bases, and stolen bases.
“He is just good at every phase of the game,” Shoop praised. “Our kids play with a lot of confidence behind him.”
The Cullman, Ala. native now has nine consecutive quality starts, dating back to 2013. Mallard, who had eight strikeouts on the night, has gone at least 7.0 innings in every start this year and now owns a 5-0 record with a 0.85 ERA.
The visiting Panthers recorded its first hit in the second inning. FIU sophomore infielder Edwin Rios hit a towering flying ball to left field. UAB senior outfielder Ivan De Jesus lost the ball in the air and it dropped for the Panthers’ only extra-base hit of the night.
UAB (18-8, 5-2) finally broke through for its first hit of the game in the fourth. Junior outfielder Chase Davis singled up the middle, pushing his current hitting streak to five games. On the next play, De Jesus hit into a fielder’s choice and was ultimately left on.
In the very next inning, UAB got the only run it would need for the night. Junior first baseman Jeff Schalk led the frame off with a walk. After consecutive UAB strikeouts, sophomore infielder Evan Peterson secured a walk. Sophomore infielder Adam Smith then hit a ground ball to FIU junior infielder Julius Gaines. Gaines made a throwing error on the play, allowing Smith to reach first and Schalk to score.
Mallard would stay in cruise control for the rest of the way, guiding the Blazers’ to its 18th win of the year. The senior right-handed pitcher allowed singles in the third, fifth, and sixth innings, but would not allow a hit in the final three.