Lions baseball falls to UAB 1-2


David Zieske

Will Kinzeler blasted a pitch as he held off the Blazers’ solid batting offense.

The SLU Lions fell to the University of Alabama Birmingham in a three-game series, losing 1-2 to the Blazers during the series on Feb 25-27. After a solid first game performance, winning 7-4, the Lions lost the next two games 4-6 and 5-6. 

The Lions played at home in Alumni Field, where the Lions’ offense attempted to keep SLU ahead, but problems on the mound and back and forth offensive pressure by both teams led to an overall series loss. 

SLU played the first game of the series on Feb. 25; a dominant batting performance by designated hitter Evan Keller led the Lions to an impressive team overall nine hits resulting in seven runs for the game. 

“I think we came in with a great approach after a slow offensive weekend. We really made a lot of adjustments, and I am very thankful for my coaching staff, preparing me for those moments, and I am glad I can put the plan we worked on into place,” said Keller after the game one win over the Blazers. 

Keller’s batting of two hits, three runs and one RBI rallied the Lions to a victory. Second baseman Rhett Rosevear had two runs, and catcher Bryce Grizzafi had three hits and two RBIs for SLU. Center fielder Tyler Finke, first baseman Preston Faulkner and Grizaffi assisted the Lions batting with two RBIs each for the seven-run win.

Alabama pitcher Will Kinzeler held the Blazers to eight hits for five innings, only allowing three runs. The 11 strikeouts by the Lion’s pitching squad helped immensely to suppress the Blazer’s offense. 

However, game two of the series did not have the same result, with the Lions having five hits for the entire game. The at-bat pressure of 12 hits by the Blazers led to a UAB victory. 

Rosevear had two hits and two RBIs, and right fielder Christian Garcia had two hits, one RBI and two runs to lead the Lion’s at-bat. As well as Keller and left fielder Jake Johnson assisting on home plate with one run each.

Pitcher Hayden Robb pitched five innings and only allowed three runs with 22 batters faced. However, pitching efforts by the Lions later in the game caused this solid performance to be overshadowed by the Blazers’ hard-hitting offense. 

Then proceeding to game three, the UAB Blazers continued the pressure, scoring four runs and holding the Lions to one run in the ninth inning to win the game 5-6.

Rosevear again led SLU’s batting with three hits, two runs and one RBI. Grizzaffi, Finke and catcher Connor Manola had one hit and one run in the rough third game for the SLU Lions. 

Pitcher Hunter O’Toole held the Blazers to one run and four hits in five innings pitched, which allowed the Lions to have the opportunity to attempt to gain a heavy lead. Still, unfortunately, a disappointing ninth inning nullified the Lions rally to defeat the Blazers. 

The Lions push forward and continue to tweak the veteran-filled baseball team to prepare for a March 2 single-game matchup against the LA Tech Bulldogs on March 2 at Alumni Field.