The Cullman Times
BIRMINGHAM — Chase Mallard only got stronger as UAB's game wore on Friday against Florida International. That pretty much sums up the way the former Cullman baseball star's senior season has gone, too.
Mallard struck out eight, including the last two batters he faced, to put the finishes touches on a four-hit complete-game shutout and 1-0 win for the Blazers.
The kicker? The dominant outing came against an FIU squad that entered the series as the Conference USA leader in runs scored, batting average, home runs, RBIs and five other major offensive categories.
“He has done it every single time out,” coach Brian Shoop said of Mallard in a UAB press release. “That was 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.”
A few handfuls of MLB scouts were on hand to witness the hurler's latest sensational start. He's yet to disappoint any in attendance this season, either, compiling a perfect 5-0 record and razor-thin 0.85 ERA and lasting at least seven innings in all seven starts.
Mallard is riding a run of nine straight quality starts that dates all the way back to last spring.
“He is just good at every phase of the game,” Shoop said in the release. “Our kids play with a lot of confidence behind him.”
% Missouri 4, Auburn 2: Keegan Thompson ultimately didn't factor into the decision, but he did notch his sixth quality start in the seventh appearance of a strong freshman campaign.
The state's reigning Mr. Baseball, another Cullman High product, sent nine Missouri batters back to the dugout on strikes but lasted only six innings — which tied his previous shortest start — and gave up a season-high seven hits.
“I thought Keegan did a good job,” coach Sunny Golloway said in an Auburn press release. “They've got tough hitters. They stay in there and foul it off, foul it off. A good example is the first inning. He doesn't give up a run, but he throws 23 pitches.”
Thompson's record remained at 5-0. The two runs he allowed bumped his ERA to 1.03.
Thompson leads Auburn's rotation in innings pitched (52 1/3), hits allowed (25), earned runs allowed (six), strikeouts (42), opponents' batting average (.142) and complete games (two).
% Alabama 7, Ole Miss 6: Ben Moore helped lift the Tide over the No. 9 Rebels with a 3-for-4 night that included a solo home run and pair of runs scored.
The Bearcat baseball alum cranked his third round-tripper of the year off the scoreboard in the bottom half of the first inning.
“The offense did a really good job early in the game, hitting a couple balls out of the park,” coach Mitch Gaspard said in an Alabama press release.
Moore's six strikeouts are the least by any Tide batter who's appeared in at least 14 of the Tide's 24 games this season.
% The Times' sports editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.