UWA baseball earns sweep over Union

Published 9:22 am Monday, April 14, 2014

West Alabama scored five runs early and three Tiger pitchers made it stand up as the Tigers completed a Gulf South Conference baseball sweep of Union with a 6-0 victory over the Bulldogs Sunday at Fesmire Field.

UWA improved to 25-11 overall and 14-8 in the GSC with its sixth straight road win. Union dropped to 12-27 and 5-17.

Fernando Gonzalez (6-1) went seven scoreless innings, scattering six hits and striking out three, to earn the pitching win. Relievers Neal Lambert and Brock Ward worked scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to combine with Gonzalez for the shutout. Union starter Preston Thompson (1-5) took the loss.

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“It’s great to have some extra rest, but I would prefer to throw every week,” said Gonzalez, who missed his turn when last Sunday’s game against Shorter was rained out. “I just want to give my team a chance to win.

“I kind of battled early to find my rhythm,” Gonzalez said, “but it makes it a lot easier when your teammates get 11 hits and spot you a 3-0 lead before you ever go out there.”

West Alabama wasted little time cranking up the offensive carousel, putting up five runs in the first two innings. Singles by Tanner Rainey, Jack Cockrum and Trey Williamon, coupled with two Union errors, led to three Tiger runs in the first inning. Back-to-back two-out doubles from Tyler Richburg and Rainey gave UWA a 5-0 advantage after two innings.

West Alabama stretched the lead to the final 6-0 margin in the eighth inning. Joel Murphy chased Williamon with a two-out single. Williamon had reached on his third hit of the game.

“I had been up and down my last few at bats, but today I sat back and executed,” Williamon said. “We have been struggling some when we get out to an early lead, but today we were able to keep some pressure on.”

Richburg and Rainey finished with two hits apiece in an 11-hit Tiger attack. Rainey drove in two runs. Mitch Holgate went 0-for-4 with a sacrifice to end his hitting streak at 16 games.

Brad Royer had three hits and Hunter Smith two to lead the Union offensive attack.

West Alabama continues its 11-game road swing to end the regular season by traveling to Mobile to face Spring Hill on Wednesday. The Tigers return to GSC play at West Florida, beginning a three-game series on Friday.