May 17, 2003
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Left fielder Mitch Jones went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer, six RBI and two runs scored to help lift UAB (27-26, 12-17 Conference USA) to a 12-4 victory and a three-game sweep of Saint Louis (18-32, 6-24 C-USA) in Conference USA baseball action Saturday afternoon at Young Memorial Field.
The Blazers' hopes of a C-USA Tournament berth ended Saturday when the Charlotte-Cincinnati game was canceled due to inclement weather in the Cincinnati area. Charlotte (21-26, 11-15 C-USA) clinched the eighth and final tournament spot by virtue of having a higher C-USA winning percentage.
"We played really well in this series," said UAB head coach Larry Giangrosso. "It was one of those pressure series where you had to win them all to give yourself a chance to have a winning season and also to get in the conference tournament. We did all we could do this weekend. I'm proud of the way our guys fought this weekend. We played and gave ourselves a chance. This is something we will have to build from."
Saint Louis got out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning. First baseman Ryan Murphy singled to right center field, allowing shortstop Pat Steinhoff and left fielder Johnny Sweeney to score the Billikens' first runs of the inning. Pitcher Corey Lawson followed with an RBI single to right field that scored second baseman Jake Friederich.
UAB took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the third. Center fielder Sam Clark singled to right field, allowing catcher Eugene Rodriguez to score the Blazers' first run of the inning. Jones followed with a three-run homer to right center field. Third baseman Drew Connell later singled through the right side, scoring right fielder Kyle Leon.
The Billikens got a run in the top of the fourth inning when Steinhoff grounded into a double play, allowing center fielder Kyle Wort to score from third base.
The Blazers extended their lead to 6-4 in the bottom of the fourth when Jones singled in Clark.
UAB broke the game open with a six-run sixth inning. Jones two-RBI single through the right side allowed Rodriguez and shortstop Josh Miljavac to score the Blazers' first runs of the inning. Second baseman Drew Goneke followed with a single to right field that allowed Clark to score his third run of the game. Jones also scored on the play when Saint Louis right fielder Steve Moss committed a fielding error on Goneke's base hit. Goneke later scored on a wild pitch by Billiken reliever Dave Guntorius. The Blazers final run of the inning came when Miljavac reached on a fielding error by Friederich, allowing Leon to score from third base.
Jeff Brown (4-3) picked up the win after coming on in relief of Blazer starter Scott Gibson in the top of the fourth inning. Brown worked five shut-out innings, only allowing one hit and one walk to go along with a strikeout. Gibson pitched three innings and gave up four runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out two. Kevin Brannon worked the final inning for the Blazers, allowing one hit.
Lawson (3-9) took the loss after starting the game and working five innings. He allowed nine runs, eight of which were earned, on 10 hits. He walked one and struck out three.