May 22, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The UAB baseball team suffered a 4-3 setback against Southern Miss on the second day of the 2014 Conference USA Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park. With the loss, UAB has been eliminated from the double-elimination conference tournament.
"It was a heck of a game," head coach Brian Shoop said. "We made tremendous runs at them. We were pretty silent offensively for a game and half. A great game, it could have gone either way. The fact that we left 14 on is not going to make it a bad year. It was a great year with some tremendous accomplishments and unbelievable steps in the right direction. 35 wins, 20 conference wins, a first-team all-conference pitcher, four guys earn postseason awards; that's an accomplishment. We are not going to let the disappointment that we feel change that."
UAB (35-21) had its opportunities in the second game of the second day of the 2014 Conference USA Tournament. The Blazers left 14 on base and left the bases loaded in the sixth and eighth innings.
Southern Miss (33-24) threatened early in the contest. The Golden Eagles had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the second inning. USM junior infielder Michael Gilbert laced a ground ball to third base. Junior infielder Nathan Vincent made a diving stop, touched third, and threw out Gilbert at first for the inning-ending double play.
The Golden Eagles broke through two innings later. Junior right-handed pitcher Alex Luna allowed back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. Luna struck out freshman first baseman Dylan Burdeaux, but the third strike was wild, allowing the runners to move over. After an intentional walk, junior catcher Austin Roussel came up with the bases loaded. Roussel drove a ball to right field and junior outfielder Jeff Schalk made a diving stop. The lead runner would tag up and Southern Miss would take a 1-0 lead on the sacrifice fly.
An inning later, Southern Miss extended its lead to 2-0. Luna retired the first two batters he faced before issuing a walk to junior infielder Michael Sterling. Sterling then stole second. Classmate outfielder Mason Robbins placed a single in left center to plate Sterling.
UAB got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Vincent struck out, but the third strike was a wild pitch and Vincent reached first. Sophomore catcher Mitch Williams blasted a double to the wall in center field, plating Vincent all the way from first to cut the Southern Miss advantage to 2-1. The Blazers had a chance to knot things up in the frame, but ultimately left the bases loaded.
Southern Miss battled back in its next at bats. Junior outfielder Connor Barron led off with an infield bunt single off freshman left-handed pitcher Thomas Lowery. Barron moved to second after a sacrifice bunt and advanced to third after a groundout. Junior designated hitter recorded the second infield single of the inning to score Barron and push the Golden Eagles' lead to 3-1.
USM extended its lead in the top of the eighth inning. With one out and runners on first and second, sophomore infielder Nick Dawson hit a double to left center to score one. With runners on second and third, Lowery fanned one for the second out. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Cory Eller came on for the final out and recorded a strikeout.
UAB would not give up and plated two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Redshirt junior first baseman Tyler Mims led off with a double to right. With one out, redshirt junior infielder Matt Morse singled to move Mims over. With runners on the corners, a Southern Miss wild pitch would allow Mims to score and Morse to second. Consecutive singles from sophomore pinch hitter Adam Lau and senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing would load the bases. Gum would hit a sacrifice fly to center to push Morse across, but that would be the final run to score. Junior outfielder Jeff Schalk walked to load the bases, but they would be left on after a Vincent strikeout.
Notes: Senior designated hitter Ryan Prinzing, redshirt junior first baseman Tyler Mims, and junior first baseman Jeff Schalk all had two hits on the day against Southern Miss ...Redshirt sophomore outfielder Griffin Gum and sophomore catcher Mitch Williams each recorded an RBI on the day.
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