April 13, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Southern Miss tied things up in the top of the ninth inning and scored the game-winning run in the 10th inning to defeat the UAB baseball team, 8-7, on Sunday afternoon at Young Memorial Field. With the loss, UAB lost it first Conference USA three-game series of the 2014 season.
Southern Miss (21-16, 10-5) knotted the score with four runs in the top of the ninth inning. With men on first and second with two outs, USM sophomore outfielder Breck Kline singled to center to score one run. After UAB sophomore right-handed pitcher Cory Eller plunked a Southern Miss batter, the bases were loaded. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Adam Lau filled in for Eller and allowed a bases-clearing double to sophomore infielder Tim Lynch.
In the 10th inning, Lau forced a ground out and fly out to the first two batters he saw. The Madison, Ala. native then walked two in-a-row and allowed a single to USM sophomore infielder Nick Dawson, which provided the winning run for the visitors.
"What can you say," head coach Brian Shoop said. "Walk one and hit two in the ninth and bring their best hitter to the plate. Credit to a really good hitter in Lynch, who was really hot this weekend and delivered a big two-out double for them. Walk two in the 10th to allow one hit and a single to beat you. The whole game that was how they scored."
UAB (24-12, 10-5) spoiled a great day on the mound by redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Johnny Lieske and two home runs from junior first baseman Jeff Schalk and redshirt sophomore outfielder Griffin Gum. Lieske allowed three runs, two of which were earned; scattered five hits; struck out a career-high nine; and walked two in a career-long 7.0 innings on the mound. Schalk went yard in the fourth, while Gum hit a solo shot in the following frame.
"Outstanding," Shoop said of Lieske's effort on the mound. "If he wasn't at 112 pitches, we wouldn't have taken him out, but we have to protect our arms."
Southern Miss got ahead early, plating two runs in the first inning. Lynch doubled down the first base line to score the first run and then scored from third after a passed ball.
Lieske settled in after the first inning. The Machesney Park, Ill. native allowed only one base runner over the next three innings, via a single in the fourth inning.
UAB gave Lieske the support he would need in the bottom of the fourth. Schalk blasted a home run to right field to give UAB its first run of the day. The next three Blazers would all reach safely after two singles and a walk. Senior outfielder Ivan De Jesus would ground out to second with the bases loaded and score one. With runners on second and third, sophomore infielder Adam Smith cleared the bases with a single into right field, giving the Green and Gold a 4-2 lead.
Southern Miss would come back with a run of its own in the fifth, but UAB would immediately counter. Gum led off the inning and promptly hit a ball over the left field fence for his first career home run. The Charlotte, N.C. native's home run gave UAB a 5-3 edge.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, UAB would capitalize off three Southern Miss errors to take a 7-3 lead heading into the final three frames. De Jesus and Smith both reached after errors by USM, putting runners on first and second for junior outfielder Chase Davis. Davis singled up the middle to plate De Jesus. Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing then hit a ground ball to USM junior infielder Michael Sterling. Sterling could not corral the ball and Smith scored from second.
Lieske finished strong, putting the Southern Miss bats down in order in the seventh. Senior left-handed pitcher Turner Lee came on for the eighth inning and allowed a single, but was otherwise perfect in relief.
Southern Miss junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Milton recorded the win for the Golden Eagles on Sunday afternoon. The right-handed pitcher went 3.0 innings, allowed one hit, and struck out two.
The UAB baseball team is back in action on Tuesday, April 15 when it hosts Alabama State at Regions Field. Tuesday's contest is set to be the Strike Out Cancer event and first pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Notes: The UAB baseball team lost its first Conference USA three-game series of the 2014 season ... For the second time in the past seven games, UAB hit multiple home runs in a contest ... Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Johnny Lieske struck out a career-high nine in a career-long 7.0 innings on the hill ... Redshirt sophomore outfielder Griffin Gum blasted his first career home run on Sunday afternoon ... Junior first baseman Jeff Schalk had his team-leading fourth home run of the season in the series finale against Southern Miss.
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