Baseball Hosts Southern Illinois To Open Season

OF Ivan De Jesus returns as UAB's leading hitter from last season

Feb. 14, 2013

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB baseball team starts up the 2013 campaign by hosting the Southern Illinois Salukis for a three-game series at Young Memorial Field. Game one is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. CT.

UAB (0-0) vs. Southern Illinois (0-0)

Series Information & Probable Starters
Location:  Birmingham, Ala. (Young Memorial Field)
Audio/Video:  All-Access (
Twitter Updates:  @UABathletics; @UABbaseball

Game 1:  Fri., 3 p.m. CT
SIU:  RHP Sam Coonrod (7-4, 4.17 ERA)
UAB:  LHP Turner Lee (9-1, 3.39 ERA)*
*at Alabama Southern CC

Game 2: Sat., 2 p.m. CT
SIU:  LHP Cody Forsythe (5-4, 3.10 ERA)
UAB:  RHP James Naile (5-3, 3.55 ERA)*
*at Parkland College

Game 3:  Sun., 1 p.m. CT
SIU:  LHP Derk Fogel (5-3, 2.37 ERA) *
* at Cowley County CC

All-Time Series:  Southern Illinois leads, 2-1
Last Meeting: SIU 6, UAB 1 in Birmingham, Ala. (2/19/01)
The Blazers and Salukis have met only three times prior to the 2013 opening series.  Both squads met in 2001, with UAB winning the first game before SIU rallied to claim the next two contests, including a 15-inning affair.

UAB Scouting Report
> UAB returns 19 letterwinners, including six starting position players from a squad that finished 32-30 last year, 9-15 in Conference USA play and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

> The Blazers were picked to finish eighth of nine teams in Conference USA by the coaches preseason poll.

> UAB enters 2013 after one of its most historic playoff runs in program history.  In 2012, the Blazers advanced to the NCAA Regionals for just the second time ever and the first since 1991.  Last season's 32 wins were the most in a season by a UAB team since 1996.

> The Blazers received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after claiming their first-ever Conference USA Tournament Championship as six players were named to the league's all-tournament team.

> John Frost enters his final season in Green & Gold with 182 hits, 120 RBI and 100 runs scored and is close to cracking the top-10 in program history in all three statistical categories.

> Ivan De Jesus returns as UAB's top hitter from a season ago, registering a .294 batting average along with a team-best 70 hits, four triples and 12 stolen bases.

> Jeff Schalk, who was named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team, showcased patience and power in his first collegiate season, tying for team-high honors in walks (33), while clubbing 12 extra base hits and knocking in 24, including a memorable three-run homer in the C-USA title win over Memphis.

> The Blazers' pitching staff took a hit from graduation, as a quartet of pitchers graduated that totaled 248 innings last season, led by C-USA Tournament MVP RHP Michael Busby (98 innings).

SIU Scouting Report
> SIU finished 31-28 last year and 9-12 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

> Like the Blazers, the Salukis made an impressive run, advancing all the way to the MVC Championship as the sixth seed before falling to Creighton in the title game.

> The Salukis were picked to finish fifth in the 2013 MVC Preseason Poll, with RHP Todd Eaton and utility player Austin Montgomery earning a nod on the preseason all-conference team.  

> Eaton finished with a 3-0 record and 2.23 ERA in 27 total appearances spanning 36.1 innings.  He earned nine saves and collected 39 strikeouts.

> Montgomery started all 59 games for SIU last season, hitting .332 with seven homers and 55 RBI.

A Remarkable Run
Last season, UAB finished 9-15 in league play to earn a No. 7 seed in the C-USA Tournament.  The Blazers became the lowest seed in conference history to advance to the championship game, before shutting out Memphis 5-0 to claim their first-ever C-USA Tournament Championship.

In addition, it was just the second time in UAB lore that the Blazers advanced to the NCAA Tournament, joining the 1991 team.

Year No. 7 For No. 7
Head coach Brian Shoop, who wears uniform No. 7, enters his seventh season at the helm of the UAB baseball program.  At UAB, Shoop owns a record of 171-176 and overall is 863-463-1 in his 24th season as a head coach.  Prior to taking the reigns at UAB, Shoop coached at Birmingham-Southern for 17 seasons.

Home Field Advantage
UAB finished last season 20-10 in home games at Young Memorial Field, including a 13-5 mark in Birmingham against non-conference foes.

Catching Combo
The combination of Harry Clark and Jacob German will split catching duties for fourth straight season, as they enter their senior campaigns with the Blazers.  The veteran duo has started 163 of 172 games over the past three seasons, Clark starting 90 and German starting 73 times.

Drust Brothers
Ben Drust, the UAB baseball director of operations has a younger brother, LHP Brad Drust, who is a redshirt junior on the SIU roster.

Illinois Connection
SIU has a total of 21 players from the state of Illinois and the Blazers have some connections to the state as well. Assistant coach Perry Roth, director of operations Ben Drust and student assistant coach Luke Stewart all hail from Illinois, along with student-athletes Ryan Prinzing, Jeff Schalk, Matt Morse and Nick Altobella.

Munger Marvels In California League
LHP Dylan Munger produced a standout summer season playing for the San Luis Obispo Blues of the California Collegiate League.  The southpaw finished 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 37.2 innings on the mound. He allowed just eight earned runs off 29 hits and held opponents to a .209 batting average en route to earning CCL Most Valuable Player honors and a spot on the first-team all-league squad.