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Volume 71, Issue 137, Friday, April 28, 2006

Sports

UH ready to heat up ice dragons

UAB has lost 20 of its last 22 games; things won't get easier against UH

by Ronnie Turner
The Daily Cougar

Collegiate Baseball No. 13 UH is one of the hottest teams in college baseball with wins in 17 of its last 21 games, but its next opponent could easily be one of the coldest teams in the nation. Alabama-Birmingham has lost 20 of its last 22 games, including one stretch where they lost 19 consecutively, and as a result, the Blazers currently occupy the basement in the Conference USA standings. Despite UAB's horrendous season to this point, UH head coach Rayner Noble does not plan to look ahead when the Cougars face off against the Blazers for a three-game series in Birmingham, beginning 7 p.m. tonight. 

"They're a good team; they wore Central Florida out last weekend," Noble said. "They're a quality opponent, and we have to go in there and play hard."


Stephen Pinchback/The Daily Cougar


Junior right-hander Brad Lincoln will get the start tonight against the Blazers. He is currently on a seven game winning streak and leads the team with a 1.82 ERA.
 
Junior right-hander Brad Lincoln (8-1, 1.82 ERA) will take the mound for the Cougars tonight looking to extend his current seven-game winning streak. Lincoln, who hasn't lost a game since the Arizona State match-up Feb. 18, had a solid performance in his last outing against Memphis, picking up a no decision after tossing eight innings and allowing two runs off six hits with 11 strikeouts as the Cougars went on to win 3-2. Lincoln could hurt the Blazers with his bat as well; he leads the team with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs to go along with a .290 batting average.

Noble plans to stick to the regular strategy. "We're going to go in there and try to do the things that we've been doing," he said. "So far, it's been good enough, and hopefully, we can get some strong starting pitching out of our guys that'll begin the games, and continue to hit like we've been hitting."

That strategy worked well for UH (29-15, 12-3 C-USA) on Wednesday against Sam Houston State. The Cougars got a quality outing from senior southpaw Matt Farrington on the mound and pounded out nine hits en route to holding on for a 4-3 win. The team ran into some trouble in the top of the ninth when the Bearkats put runners at first and second with no outs, but junior Shea Hancock came in from the bullpen to retire the next three batters and preserve the victory. 

UAB (15-27, 2-10) had no such luck with its bullpen against No. 6 Alabama on Wednesday. The Blazers carried a 8-5 lead into the top of the eighth b ut watched helplessly as the Crimson Tide proceeded to tag three of their relievers for nine runs over the final two innings to pull out a 14-8 comeback victory. 

Senior southpaw Jacob Legg will likely get tonight's start for the Blazers. Legg (1-3, 4.93) struggled in his last start against Central Florida, giving up six runs (five earned) on six hits and three walks in only two innings of work. 

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