For the second consecutive night, FIU played Alabama-Birmingham on equal terms at FIU Baseball Stadium on Saturday – after UAB took a large lead.
FIU (23-27, 11-15 in Conference USA) couldn’t eat up all of a five-run deficit, losing 5-3 to UAB and falling to eighth in the Conference USA standings behind Old Dominion. UAB (28-21, 13-13) can clinch one of the three remaining spots in the conference tournament with a win in Sunday’s series finale that features FIU right-handed sophomore Chris Mourelle (5-6, 3.66 ERA) against UAB’s Johnny Lieske (3-4, .344).
Also for the second consecutive night, former University of Miami player Esteban Tresgallo did much of the early damage. Tresgallo’s 2-for-3, three-RBI night included a two-run homer in the first inning and a run-scoring single in the third that also set up UAB’s next run. Adam Lau’s sacrifice fly put the Blazers up 5-0.
What looked like a short night for FIU sophomore starter Cody Crouse turned into eight innings of work. Meanwhile, FIU nibbled into the lead with a two-run fifth that started with a dribbling, 30-foot single from senior Josh Anderson. Senior Julius Gaines reached base on an error. Spencer Levine drove in Anderson with a single and Gaines scored during a double play.
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FIU’s Edwin Rios homered to right-center field, his 16th of the season, in the eighth off UAB reliever and winning pitcher Thomas Lowery.