Baseball Hits The Road To Southern Miss

UABSPORTS.COM RHP Tanner Bryant gets the start on Friday for the Blazers
UABSPORTS.COM
RHP Tanner Bryant gets the start on Friday for the Blazers
UABSPORTS.COM

April 25, 2013

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The Last Meeting
Southern Miss8
UAB5
May 19, 2012
Young Memorial Field
Baseball Falls To USM In Regular Season Finale
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.


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB baseball team treks South to battle Southern Miss in a three-game Conference USA series, beginning Friday at 6 p.m. CT at Pete Taylor Park. Saturday's contest, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT, will be televised on Fox Sports Net.

UAB (17-25, 3-9 C-USA) at Southern Miss (21-19, 10-5 C-USA)

Series Information
Location: Hattiesburg, Miss.
Stadium: Pete Taylor Park (6,600)

Probable Starters
G1: Fri., 6 p.m. CT
UAB: RHP Tanner Bryant (2-5, 4.99)
USM: LHP Jake Drehoff (1-4, 3.66)

G2: Sat., 6:30 p.m. CT (Fox Sports Net)
UAB: LHP Sam Kelley (3-4, 2.76)
USM: RHP Andrew Pierce (8-1, 1.73)

G3: Sun., 1 p.m. CT
UAB: TBA
USM: RHP Conor Fisk (3-1, 2.21)

Multimedia
Video: All-Access at UABsports.com (Friday & Sunday)
TV: Fox Sports Net (Saturday)
Talent: Bruce Howard (pxp), Pat Combs (analyst)
Live Stats: GameTracker at UABsports.com
Twitter Updates: @UABbaseball; @UABathletics

INSIDE THE SERIES

All-Time Series: Southern Miss leads, 55-31

UAB is 1-5 over the last two seasons against Southern Miss.  In four of the five losses, the Blazers held the lead and in three of those occasions, the scoring advantage was in the seventh inning or later.

Loves Facing Southern Miss
Harry Clark: .391 (9-for-23) batting average, 5 runs, 2 RBI, 6 walks
John Frost: .333 (12-for-26) 2 runs, 4 RBI

Last Series: Southern Miss claimed two of three (May 17-19, 2012)
The last meeting with the Golden Eagles was UAB's final series of the 2012 regular season. Despite dropping two of three to Southern MIss at home, the Blazers eventually rallied to claim the C-USA Tournament Championship the following weekend in Pearl, Miss.

G1: UAB 2, Southern Miss 1
Michael Busby went eight innings, giving up only one run on five hits with four strikeouts to earn the victory. He retired the side in order in four of his eight frames of work. The Blazers broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth when Keith DePew drew a bases loaded walk with what proved to be the game-winning run.

G2: Southern Miss 11, UAB 5
Leading 5-1entering the top of the eighth, Southern Miss scored 10 unanswered runs over the last two frames to claim game two. Chase Davis had two hits for the Blazers and Patrick Palmeiro clubbed a two-run homer in the loss.

G3: Southern Miss 8, UAB 5
After scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 5-4 lead, UAB surrendered four runs in the top of the ninth to give Southern Miss the series. Patrick Palmeiro hit his second two-run homer in as many days and Harry Clark added two hits.

Last Series In Hattiesburg: No. 12 Southern Miss swept the series (May 6-8, 2011)

G1: Southern Miss 4, UAB 2
The Blazers held an early 2-0 lead, but Southern Miss scored all four runs through the fifth and seventh innings to take game one.

G2: Southern Miss 13, UAB 4
With the scored knotted at 3-all in the top of the fourth, Southern Miss outscored the Blazers 10-1the rest of the way to earn the win.

G3: Southern Miss 8, UAB 5
The Blazers led 5-0 through seven innings, but Southern Miss rallied yet again, including a walk-off three-run homer by Kameron Brunty in the bottom of the ninth.

UAB Scouting Report
The Blazers enter the weekend series in Hattiesburg after splitting a pair of midweek games against Alabama State. After falling on Tuesday 7-1 in Montgomery against the Hornets, UAB received an outstanding outing from sophomore right-hander Alex Luna in a 7-0 win on Wednesday.  

Luna fired a complete-game shutout, facing the minimum 27 batters in the contest. He allowed just three hits and struck out 10 in the victory.

The Blazers are looking to climb out of the cellar in the C-USA standings, sitting at 3-9 in league play.  The Blazers are just 2-9 over their last 11 games, but four of those defeats were by three runs or less.

Overall, the team is hitting at a .257 clip, averaging just under four runs a game off 8.4 hits.  UAB has clubbed 75 extra-base hits, been hit by a pitch a league-best 51 times and sports a .343 on-base percentage.

John Frost tops the Blazers in nine statistical categories, including batting average (.361), hits (56), doubles (14), RBI (30) and total bases (80). Ryan Prinzing ranks second on the team with a .324 hitting clip and has scored a team-high 27 runs, while Friday night starter and regular shortstop Tanner Bryant is batting .305 for the season.

On the hill, Bryant and Sam Kelley will get the ball on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday's starter yet to be announced.

Bryant has gone at least six innings in six of his last seven starts on the season.  He has recorded 40 strikeouts compared to 20 walks in 52.1 innings pitched.

Kelley, who enters at 3-4 on the season, has allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his eight starts.  He has totaled 45.2 innings in 10 total appearances and is holding opponents to a .235 batting average.

The Blazers staff has a team ERA of 4.50 and has 269 strikeouts and 148 walks in 367.2 total innings.  The opposition is hitting .259 against UAB arms this season.

Southern Miss Scouting Report
Southern Miss has lost its last two games, including a Wednesday night affair against Alabama, after winning 10 consecutive games overall.  Of those 10 straight wins, five came against league competition, as the Golden Eagles top C-USA with a 10-5 league record.

A strong pitching staff is led by righty Andrew Pierce, who will start on Saturday for USM.  Pierce is 8-1 with a 1.73 ERA, totaling 73 strikeouts in 78 total innings.  The right-hander has surrendered just 16 runs off 53 hits and holding teams to a .194 batting average against him.

The USM pitching staff owns a team ERA of 3.43 and has 313 strikeouts to 152 walks in 356.2 total innings.

Offensively, Chase Fowler leads the team with .333 batting average and has knocked in 20 runs on the season.  Blake Brown tops the squad with four homers and 27 runs scored.  As a team, Southern Miss is hitting .250 with 11 homers and fielding at a .970 clip.

NOTEBOOK

Who's Hot
Tanner Bryant - .412 (7-for-17) 3 runs, 1 2B, 2 RBI -- Last 5 Games
John Frost - .417 (20-for-48) 3 runs, 7 2B, 1 3B, 10 RBI -- All C-USA Games
Ryan Prinzing - .349 (15-for-43) 12 runs, 4 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI -- All C-USA Games
Alex Luna - 9IP, 3 H, 0R, 0ER, 10K, faced the minimum in CG shutout last outing

Inside The Numbers
2,253 Career college coaching victories on UAB's staff (Shoop 880, Polk 1,373).
378 Total innings lost from last season's team due to graduation and injuries.
150 Career RBI for John Frost, fifth most in UAB history.
80 Total bases for John Frost this season, most amongst all C-USA players.
27 Batters Alex Luna faced in a nine-inning complete game shutout of Alabama State on Wednesday.
24 Total times Ryan Prinzing (12) and Tyler Mims (12) have been hit by a pitch, tied for the most in C-USA.
20 Game hit streak for John Frost snapped on Tuesday. The longest by any player under Coach Shoop at UAB (since 2007).
18 Division I players that serve as both a weekend starting pitcher and regular position player, including RHP/SS Tanner Bryant.
16 Appearances by true freshman Cory Eller, tops on the Blazers' pitching staff.
15 Base runners caught stealing by Jacob German in 23 attempts (65.2 percent CS).
9 Statistical categories John Frost leads the team in, including batting average, hits, doubles, RBI and total bases.
7 Of Sam Kelley's eight starts this season he has allowed three earned runs or less.
2  NCAA Regional Appearances all-time for UAB, the second coming last season at the Tallahassee Regional.
1 Conference USA Tournament Championship (2012).

Frost's Hit Streak Ends At 20
John Frost produced a 20-game hit streak that ended on April 23rd at Alabama State. The 20 consecutive games in a row with at least one hit was the longest stretch by a Blazer under head coach Brian Shoop. During the streak, Frost hit .395 (30-for-76) with 10 runs scored, 11 doubles, two triples, one homer and 15 RBI.  

He produced a .632 slugging percentage and .484 on-base percentage over that span. Frost's hit streak was the longest since Ryan Keedy hit safely in 19 straight games during the 2008 season.

Two-Way Players
Tanner Bryant, who will start game one of the series, is one of 18 Division I players that serve as both a weekend starter and primary position player. When not starting, Bryant is the regular shortstop for the Blazers.

In fact, five different Blazers have both toed the rubber and stepped foot in the batter's box this season. Along with Bryant, Jacob German, Sam Kelley, Chase Davis and Adam Lau have been two-way players.

Backstop Duo
Seniors Jacob German and Harry Clark have been mainstays behind the plate during their four-year careers in Green and Gold. The duo has started 205 of 214 games over the last four years, including splitting time for all 42 starts this season.

German and Clark have also done a great job slowing down the opponent's running game. German has caught 15 of 23 steal attempts, while Clark has nabbed seven of 21 tries on the season.

Frost Climbs Charts
John Frost ranks in the top-10 in UAB history in RBI (5th/150), doubles (5th/41), hits (7th/238) and total bases (9th/323).

Lights Out Luna
Alex Luna was nearly perfect against Alabama State on Wednesday, facing the minimum 27 batters in a three-hit complete game shutout.  Luna finished with 10 strikeouts, and only allowed two balls to reach the outfield, which accounted for two of the Hornets' three hits. Luna needed just 82 pitches, 59 for strikes, in the first complete game shutout since Michael Busby blanked Houston on April 29, 2012.

Luna retired 16 straight at one point and used 13 ground outs, including one double play, one pop up and Jacob German threw out two attempted base stealers to go along with his career-best 10 punch outs.