May 8, 2011
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- After Ben Bullard held Southern Miss without so much as a hit through the first six innings Sunday, the Golden Eagles cranked up their offense for eight runs in the final three frames to escape with an 8-5 victory over the UAB baseball team at Peter Taylor Park.
Kameron Brunty's three-run homer off the right field foul pole in the bottom of the ninth finished the comeback, breaking a 5-5 tie to complete a series sweep for 12th-ranked Southern Miss (36-11, 14-4 C-USA) over the Blazers (25-22, 9-12 C-USA).
"They're a really good offensive team and really good in their park," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "They have a great atmosphere with a fan base that really makes it difficult on a visiting team. It's a tough place to win, and we couldn't hold them down at the end."
Brunty's home run was the fourth in the game between the two teams. Patrick Palmeiro hit his seventh homer of the year and Keith DePew added the first of his career for UAB, while B.A. Vollmuth hit the other long ball for Southern Miss.
The home runs by Palmeiro and DePew both came in the fourth inning and were both two-run shots. Jamal Austin's RBI single one inning later gave the Blazers a 5-0 advantage.
Meanwhile, Bullard was shutting the Southern Miss bats down. The right-hander, who allowed one run in seven innings in his first career start last Sunday at Tulane, was impressive again as he out-pitched Jonathan Thompson, with whom he shared last week's C-USA Pitcher of the Week honors.
Bullard retired retired 18 of the first 19 batters he faced, allowing only one base runner on a walk, before hitting the leadoff batter in the seventh. B.A. Vollmuth then homered to left field to break up the no-hitter and put Southern Miss on the scoreboard, cutting UAB's lead to 5-2.
After giving up a pair of hits to start the eighth, Bullard left the game with runners at first and third at no outs in what proved to be the beginning of a game-tying rally. A walk loaded the bases, and Tyler Koelling then singled to score one run. Two batters later, Marc Bourgeois chopped a single through the right side to plate two more and tie things up at 5-5.
UAB reliever Ryan Nance was charged with the game-tying run and the three ninth innings runs as he suffered the loss for UAB in relief of Bullard. Collin Cargill earned the win for Southern Miss, tossing the final 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.
A pair of double plays in the last two innings derailed scoring opportunities for UAB. The Blazers loaded the bases with one out in both the eighth and ninth innings, but Cargill induced ground balls both times to end both threats. The Golden Eagles lead the country in double plays.
"We had opportunities," Shoop said. "We left 13 guys on base and had great chances in the eighth and ninth. This is a tough loss and our kids are down, but we'll bounce back."
Austin led all players with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate, while Palmeiro, DePew and John Frost managed two hits each as the Blazers out-hit Southern Miss 12-7.
UAB returns to action with five games this week, starting with a home-and home midweek series against Jacksonville State. The Blazers will travel to JSU on Tuesday and host the Gamecocks on Wednesday with both games scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT.