May 19, 2009
It's been too long since our last 'visit', and I apologize. The UAB baseball team has been keeping me not only busy but entertained, as well, the last several weeks. Brian Shoop's team may be playing some of its best baseball as the Conference USA Tournament is set to begin on Wednesday in Hattiesburg. The Green and Gold swept a rain-shortened, two-game series with Memphis here in Birmingham the first weekend in May. The Blazers rallied in the eighth inning on Friday night for the win, and then Brint Hardy delivered a two-run, walk-off homer on Saturday to win it.
A midweek split with Jacksonville State (who beat the Georgia Bulldogs twice this season...once when the 'Dawgs were the #1 team in America) was followed by a tough weekend in New Orleans. UAB went 1-2 against the Green Wave, and the Blazers felt they had a great chance to win the series. After winning on Friday, the Saturday game slipped away late. Sunday saw a pitchers' duel won by Tulane, despite Kyle Roberson throwing a two-hit gem.
Then came last weekend...the regular-season finale against fourth-ranked Rice. The Blazers had never beaten a team ranked that high...ever. UAB had never beaten Rice in the regular season. The Owls were in position to win their fourth C-USA regular season title in a row, and the Blazers needed one win to secure a spot in this week's tournament. The Green and Gold used late-game dramatics to win Thursday's series opener...Digger Towe blasted a two-out, pinch-hit, three-run homer in the eighth for the eventual victory. Rice evened the series with a win on Friday, and then came Saturday. Rain threatened to wash it out, but Mother Nature proved to be a Blazer fan. After falling behind 9-1, UAB rallied for a thrilling, 15-12 win.
You can view some of the recent highlights on the Blazers' YouTube page. Click here and enjoy some of the great work from our Marketing Department.
Now we head to Hattiesburg for the Conference USA Tournament. The Blazers are the #6 seed and will open play tomorrow at 9 AM...that's right...9 AM. We'll have all the games for you either on Blazers All-Access or on WSPZ-AM 690 here in Birmingham...depending on game times. Four little wins, and it's off to the NCAA Tournament we go! We're all planning on a nice long stay in Hattiesburg. It has to be a confident bunch of Blazers right now, and there's no reason to think they can't repeat some of the recent magic as well as some of the tourney magic they enjoyed last year in New Orleans.
I hope you'll tune in for all the action this week...it's been a fun team to watch, and you can certainly see them getting better and better.
Well, it's time to pack up and make my fourth trip to Hattiesburg this athletic season. Safe to say, the last two were much more enjoyable than the first one! We'll see if the fourth one provides even more fun.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend, and GO BLAZERS!!!