May 19, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB baseball team took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the eighth, but Southern Miss responded with four runs in the top of the ninth to claim the regular season finale at Young Memorial Field, 8-5, on Saturday afternoon.
The victory gave the Golden Eagles the series after the two clubs split the previous meetings on Thursday and Friday. USM improved to 30-23 overall and 14-10 in C-USA. The loss dropped UAB to 29-27, 9-15 in league play.
Both teams advanced to the 2012 C-USA Tournament presented by Trustmark, which will played in Pearl, Miss., starting Wednesday, May 23.
Just as it did on Friday, scoring took place early and often, as USM touched home three times in the top of the first off UAB starter Alex Luna. However, a half inning later, Patrick Palmeiro, playing in his final home ball game, connected for a two-run homer, his second in as many days, to put the Blazers within a run.
In the sixth, Keith DePew roped his second double of the day with two outs in front of Harry Clark. The Blazer backstop served a single into left, plating DePew to even the score, 3-3.
USM answered with a run of its own in the top of the seventh thanks to a Matthew Sterling base hit to left-center, scoring the go ahead run.
Trailing by one in the bottom of the eighth, UAB scored a run on an error to the tie the ball game. Later in the frame, John Frost stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and was plunked by a pitch from Boomer Scarborough (2-2) to give the Blazers its first lead of the day.
However, Bradley Roney led off the top of the ninth with a solo blast off Dillon Napoleon (5-4) to even the score, 5-5. USM would tack on three more runs and Roney took the mound and shut the door in the ninth to earn his 11th save of the season.
"We recruited Bradley and he is a very good and capable player," head coach Brian Shoop said. "Southern Miss has a really fine young team. They are going to be a great team in years to come."
David Hayes, another UAB senior, put forth a strong showing in his last outing on the bump at home. The southpaw entered in the second for Luna and worked 5.1 innings, giving up only one earned run off three hits, but did not figure in the decision.
"David pitched great and that was his best outing of the year. I'm happy for him to throw so well in his last time on our field," Shoop said.
Classmate Keith DePew also produced at the plate on Senior Day, going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, to round out his final regular season in Green and Gold.
Additionally, Tyler Mims, Ryan Ussery and Harry Clark all collected two hits as the Blazers totaled 12 in the loss.
Saturday marked the final home game for seven UAB seniors: Coy Arrowood, Michael Busby, DePew, Hayes, Ryan Nance, Napoleon and Palmeiro.
"I love these seniors and they are great people. They put their heart and soul into the program and we will deeply miss them," Shoop said.