May 6, 2011
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The pitching and defense were there again for the UAB baseball team on Friday night, but miscues and missed opportunities on the offensive side hurt the Blazers in a 4-2, series opening loss at 12th-ranked Southern Miss.
Golden Eagles' starter Todd McInnis pitched around eight UAB hits in his six innings and worked out of a couple of tight spots to earn the win, and Southern Miss reliever Chase Horn pitched a perfect final three frames to finish it off.
Seven UAB players recorded a hit, led by Jamal Austin with two, but the Blazers dropped to 25-20 and 9-10 in C-USA. First-place Southern Miss improved to 34-11 and 12-4 in the league. The teams will meet again Saturday at 2 p.m. CT at Pete Taylor Park.
UAB scored single runs in both the first and third innings but could have done more damage through the first half of the game. The Blazers had runners thrown out at third base with either one out or no outs in three of the first four innings and then stranded runners in scoring position with one out in both the fifth and sixth.
McInnis had just four strikeouts in the game, but three of them came in those fifth and sixth inning situations to keep the Blazers from getting any more runs.
"We had some chances," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "We made three base running errors that cost us an opportunity for a tie game, and we couldn't score in a first-and-third situation with one out. When you only score two runs, you put tremendous pressure on your pitching staff, and still we pitched well enough to win.
After going scoreless through the first four innings, Southern Miss broke through against UAB starter Ryan Woolley for a pair of runs in the fifth. An RBI single from Tyler Koelling and a sacrifice fly from B.A. Vollmuth knotted the score at 2-2.
The Golden Eagles then picked up the go-ahead run in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Adam Doleac and Jared Bales, although Mark McKinley came out of the bullpen to work out of a bases-loaded jam to limit the damage. Bales then drove in another run with a single in the seventh.
Woolley suffered the loss, allowing the first three Southern Miss runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. The UAB defense was solid again, playing error-free for the third straight game and the sixth time in the past eight contests.
Three players did most of the offensive damage for Southern Miss with Koelling, Bales and Adam Doleac combining for eight of the team's 10 hits.