BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The UAB baseball team won the first game of Saturday's Conference USA doubleheader with Southern Miss, 13-8, to claim a series victory but came up one win shy of a weekend sweep with a 14-3, seven-inning loss in the nightcap at Young Memorial Field.
The game one victory gave UAB its fifth straight series win dating back to last season as the Blazers (13-8, 2-1 C-USA) took a series from Southern Miss (14-8, 1-2 C-USA) for the third year in a row.
"This was a good series win over a good team," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "It's hard to sweep a series, and it's hard to sweep a doubleheader, so we're not going to dwell on the loss in game two. We won two out of three, and it was a good weekend overall."
The Blazers return to Young Memorial Field on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT to host Alabama State and will then battle 16th-ranked Alabama on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. CT in the annual meeting between the teams at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.
Game 1: UAB 13, Southern Miss 8
UAB scored a season-high 13 runs and matched a season-best with 15 hits in Saturday's first game on the way to a 13-8 win.
UAB trailed only briefly after the top of the second inning, and starter Beau Pender earned the win after allowing five runs over five frames of work. Ben Bullard came out of the bullpen as the third Blazer pitcher of the day to allow just one run over the final three and one-third innings and earn the save.
The Blazers chased Southern Miss starter Geoffrey Thomas from the game after one and two-thirds innings, tagging him for four runs on six hits and handing him the loss. The Golden Eagles then used four relievers the rest of the way.
Both pitching staffs struggled with control as they combined to walk 20 total batters in the game. Seven of the 11 UAB batters that walked came around to score, while UAB pitchers managed to allow just three of the nine batters they walked to cross the plate.
After falling behind 2-1 in the top of the second, the Blazers grabbed the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the inning. UAB then scored four times in the fourth capped by Manning's homer to grab an 8-2 lead.
Southern Miss put together five runs of its own in the sixth, highlighted by an Adam Doleac home run and a two-RBI double from Taylor Walker, to cut the Blazer lead to one. But UAB came back with another big inning as a two-RBI single from Austin ignited a four-run sixth that put the Blazers back in control for good.
Doleac led Southern Miss offensively with two hits, two RBI and two runs scored. Joey Archer drew three walks for the Golden Eagles, while UAB's Luke Stewart also walked three times as he saw his streak of three straight games with two home runs come to an end.
Game 2: Southern Miss 14, UAB 3
Manning homered again for UAB in game two, but Southern Miss took control of the contest with an eight-run third inning and rode out a 14-3 victory in seven innings to avoid the series sweep.
With the run-rule in effect for the final game of the conference series, Southern Miss scored twice in the top of the seventh inning to grab an 11-run lead and then turned to closer Collin Cargill, who allowed two base runners in the bottom of the inning but kept the Blazers off the board to seal the victory.
Jay Myrick made his first start for Southern Miss and earned the win, pitching five and one-third innings and allowing three runs. He held the Blazers to just one first-inning run until Manning's two-run shot in the sixth.
Shay Crawford took the loss for UAB, allowing six runs on eight hits in two and one-third innings. The Golden Eagles then got to Blazer reliever Ryan Woolley for six runs, as well. UAB matched its season-high with 14 runs allowed and also gave up 18 hits, its second-highest total of the year.
Southern Miss hit five home runs in the game. Only one came as part of the eight-run third inning, but it was a grand slam off the bat of Walker. The remaining four home runs were all solo shots. One of those came from Mark Ellis, who finished a triple short of the cycle and was one of three Golden Eagles with three hits.
The Blazers' six hits in the game came from six different players. Stewart did not record one of those hits, but he did walk two more times to bring his total for the day to five.