May 31, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ---- After making a magical run to capture the program's first Conference USA Tournament crown a week ago, the UAB baseball team will compete against the third overall national seeded Florida State Seminoles at Dick Howser Stadium this Friday on day one of the Tallahassee Regional. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN3.com.
Joining the Blazers and Seminoles are No. 2 seed Mississippi State (39-22) and cross-town foe Samford (39-21), as the three seed, to round out the regional bracket. The Southeastern and Southern Conference Champions will play on Friday before the Blazers take the field, with their game starting at Noon ET.
(4) UAB [32-28] vs. (1) Florida State [43-15]
Game 1: Fri., 6 p.m. ET
Location: Tallahassee, Fla. (Dick Howser Stadium)
UAB: RHP Michael Busby (5-4, 3.90 ERA)
FSU: RHP Scott Sitz (3-3, 4.14 ERA)
Talent: Adam Amin (pxp) & Nick Belmonte (analyst)
Radio: WJOX-AM 690 (David Crane)
GameTracker/Live Chat: UABsports.com
HOW UAB GOT HERE: The team from the Magic City had a historic run last week at the C-USA Tournament, concluding with a 5-0 shutout of the Memphis Tigers in the championship game. By capturing the league tournament title, UAB earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 1991, when the Blazers were a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
The Blazers, who entered the conference tournament as the No. 7 seed, advanced to the championship thanks to a 2-1 record in pool play, with wins over UCF (15-1; 7 innings) and Tulane (6-3). The lone loss for the Green and Gold came against East Carolina (10-3), but UAB had already secured a spot in the championship game before the two teams took the field at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss.
In the tournament championship, UAB blanked Memphis, 5-0, to claim the Blazers first C-USA Tournament Championship in program history as the lowest seeded in C-USA lore.
A total of six Blazers were named to the all-tournament team, including Friday night's starter Michael Busby who earned MVP honors. Others that joined Busby were: RHP Ryan Nance, RHP Chase Mallard, 1B John Frost, 2B Keith DePew and OF Jeff Schalk.
HOW FSU GOT HERE: Dick Howser Stadium, home of the Seminoles, was one of 16 national host sites chosen for this year's NCAA Tournament. FSU, which finished 43-15 and earned an at-large bid, was awarded the No. 3 overall national seed by the NCAA selection committee. The Seminoles, raned as high as No. 3 in the national polls, had a rough stretch to close out the ACC Tournament, dropping all three games, with losses to Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia. It is the 35 consecutive regional appearance for FSU, and 50th overall.
UAB TOURNAMENT NOTES
Blazers Making Second NCAA Appearance: UAB is making its second all-time appearance in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. The Blazers' previous trip to the NCAAs came in the 1991 tournament when they played in the Austin Regional. UAB went 1-2 at Austin, falling to host Texas (16-3), defeating Rutgers (10-9) and losing to Oklahoma State (8-7 in 10 innings).
UAB 63-55 Against Tallahassee Field: The Blazers are an all-time 63-55 against the other schools joining them in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional. UAB is 0-1 against Florida State, 10-32 in games versus Mississippi State and 53-22 when playing Birmingham crosstown foe Samford. Samford is the only one of the three that UAB played in 2012 with the Bulldogs winning both of those contests.
Blazers Youngest Program In Field By Far: When comparing how young UAB's baseball program is to the other three schools in the Tallahassee Regional, there is quite a difference. The Blazers have been playing baseball on the Southside in Birmingham only since 1979 while Florida State has been fielding a team since 1948, Mississippi State since 1885 with Samford also sponsoring baseball for more than 100 years (1905 was first season). UAB began its intercollegiate athletics program under the legendary athletics director and basketball coach Gene Bartow in 1978. Coach Bartow passed away in January of this year after battling cancer for nearly three years.
UAB Has Played 28 Of 2012 NCAA Tournament Field: UAB has played against 28 of the other 63 teams participating in the 2012 NCAA Championship throughout its program history and has a cumulative record of 174-198 all-time against those opponents.
UAB Played Six NCAA Tournament Teams In 2012: UAB played games this season against six opponents in the 2012 NCAA Tournament field. The Blazers played Clemson, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Rice, Samford and UCF during the season, going 4-13 against the group. Here is UAB's record against those six in 2012: Clemson (1-2), Coastal Carolina (0-1), East Carolina (0-4), Rice (1-2), Samford (0-2) and UCF (2-2).
Samford Third-Most Popular Non-Conference Opponent For UAB: UAB has played Samford 75 times in its history, the third-highest number of games the Blazers have played against a non-conference opponent. UAB has played only USF (91 times) and South Alabama (84 games) more than it has gone against Samford.