Alabama-Huntsville baseball drops pair to North Alabama

FLORENCE, Ala. - The Alabama-Huntsville (26-16, 6-9 GSC) baseball team entered Sunday afternoon needing one win against homestanding North Alabama to clinch the third seed in next weekend's Gulf South Conference tournament but the Lions (27-22, 8-7 GSC) got revenge for Saturday night's 25-3 thrashing sweeping the Chargers 10-5 and 6-5 at Mike Lane Park in Florence.

Game one saw the Chargers draw first blood in the third after a pair of scoreless frames.  Junior leadoff hitter Corey Whittle (Cullman) reached on a one-out single to right and advanced on an error before senior first baseman Ryan McCrory (Mobile) singled to bring Whittle home and get the goose egg off the scoreboard. 

A leadoff walk and hit-by-pitch by the Lions led to a pair of runs in the bottom of the third but UAH responded right back with two in the top of the fourth.  Senior left fielder Bradley Ray ledoff the stanza with a single and then swiped second base before senior right fielder Jerome Dunning (Montgomery) singled to give UAH runners on the corners.  A double by senior designated hitter Josh Bolan  brought both runners home and put the Chargers back in front 3-2.

That would be the final lead of the afternoon however as the Lions countered with a seven-run bottom of the fourth to take a big 9-3 advantage.  The Lions would tack on another run in the sixth before the UAH offense finally got going again in the eighth with two runs cutting the margin back to five runs. 

UAH sophomore Ryan Griffin (Athens) took the loss on the hill allowing four earned runs in three and a third innings worked giving up two walks and fanning three.  Junior Lance Gibson (Toxey) came on in relief of Griffin but lasted only a third of an inning before senior Taylor Scott (Frankin, Tenn.) took the hill.  Scott was solid in relief holding the Lions to one run in four and one-thirds innings pitched.

Game two saw the Lions get on the board in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 advantage before the Chargers answered in the third when junior third baseman Jordan Parker (Hartselle) drove in sophomore shortstop Zach Townley (Winfield). A five-run fourth inning proved to be the difference in the contest as the Lions strung together six hits.

The Charger offense mounted a comeback attempt in the sixth inning plating four runs but that is as close as the Blue and White would get.  Senior second baseman Nick Huckaby (Jamestown, Ky.) ledoff the stanza with a solo home run, his first of the season.  A Dunning hit-by-pitch and a double by Bolan put a pair of runners in scoring position for senior catcher Chris Parkman (Raleigh, Miss.), who delivered with a 2-RBI single.  A Parker single later in the inning rounded out the scoring in the contest as Parkman came in before UAH left the bases loaded to end the frame.

Florence native Shawn Herring  took the loss on the hill for UAH going three and two-thirds innings giving up five earned runs on eight hits and a trio of walks, while fanning a pair.

The Chargers make their second-straight appearance in the GSC tournament next weekend in Millington, Tenn.  UAH draws the tough order of taking on GSC West Division Champion and No. 1 ranked Southern Arkansas in the opener.  The contest against the Muleriders is slated for 4:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.