May 26, 2012
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PEARL, Miss. ---- The No. 7 seed UAB baseball team will take the field at Trustmark Park on Sunday against the fifth seeded Memphis Tigers, as the Blazers battle for their first Conference USA Championship in program history. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT and the game will be nationally televised by CBS Sports Network.
No. 7 UAB (31-29) | No. 5 Memphis (31-28)
Game Information & Probable Pitchers
Location: Pearl, Miss. (Trustmark Park)
Television: CBS Sports Network – Jason Bates & Kevin Stocker
Radio: WJOX-AM 690 – David Crane
C-USA Championship: Sun., 1 p.m. CT
UAB: RHP Ryan Nance (3-3, 4.24 ERA)
UM: RHP Chase Joiner (4-4, 4.15 ERA)
How We Got Here: UAB finished 2-1 in pod play after defeating No. 2 seed UCF (15-1) on Thursday, No. 3 seed Tulane (6-3) on Friday and falling to No. 6 East Carolina (10-3) on Saturday. The Blazers had already clinched a championship birth before playing the Pirates.
Prior to tournament play, the Blazers were 2-7 against the three teams in their pod: 1-2 vs. UCF, 1-2 vs. Tulane, 0-3 vs. ECU.
Game 1: (7) UAB 15, (2) UCF 1
UAB scored a school record 13 times in the top of the fifth inning to expand what was a 2-1 lead to 15-1 and cruise to victory over the UCF Knights.
Beyond the record setting inning, RHP Michael Busby fired the first six innings, holding the potent UCF lineup to one earned run off three hits. Busby fanned four, walked one and sent the Knights down in order in three of the six innings he worked.
Record Setting Inning: UAB set a school record for runs in an inning, scoring 13 times against the UCF Knights in a 15-1 victory on Thursday. UAB broke the previous record of 11 runs in a frame, which happened on April 3, 1985 vs. Jackson State.
The previous high for runs in a C-USA Tournament game for UAB was 11, in 2000 vs. Tulane
The record setting inning, which lasted 49 minutes, featured:
- 18 batters came to the plate (UAB batted around twice)
- 13 consecutive batters reached base
- 7 hits (6 singles)
- 6 walks
- 3 wild pitches
- 2 passed balls
- 2 errors
- And a partridge in a pear tree
Knocking Off Knights: The win over No. 16 UCF was the fourth victory of the season for the Blazers against a top-20 team. UAB had previously defeated then #5 Rice, #14 UCF, and #16 Clemson, all on the road.
Shoop Shines On Day 1: After defeating the No. 2 seed UCF Knights, head coach Brian Shoop is 4-1 in the Blazers first game of the C-USA Tournament.
Buzz Saw Busby: RHP Michael Busby has been a standout over his two starts (vs. Southern Miss & UCF) in his final season donning Green and Gold. The right-hander has worked 14.0 innings, including 6.0 frames vs. UCF in the tournament, allowing just two runs (both earned) with eight strikeouts and only one walk. During that span, Busby has held the opposition to a .154 batting average.
Game 2: (7) UAB 6, (3) Tulane 3
The Blazers put the pressure on Tulane all afternoon, forcing the Green Wave into three miscues that allowed four unearned runs to cross. The Blazers scored twice in the sixth and two more in the seventh and received a stellar emergency outing from Chase Mallard.
Magnificent Mallard: Following an injury to Friday’s scheduled starter RHP Ben Bullard during warm up pitches, RHP Chase Mallard was called into an emergency relief outing. The sophomore was nothing short of spectacular, going a career-long 6.2 innings and holding a potent Tulane offense to just three runs (two earned) off five hits. The Cullman, Ala. native also tied a career-high by fanning four and only walked one batter.
Bryant Steps Up Big: In Friday’s victory over Tulane, SS Tanner Bryant posted a career day at the plate, going a perfect 3-for-3, a run scored and one RBI. His three hits posted a new career-high.
Game 3: (6) ECU 10, (7) UAB 3
By winning their first two games of the tournament and ECU defeating UCF on Friday, the Blazers had already locked their spot in the C-USA Championship game before taking the field with the Pirates.
UAB tied the game in the sixth on RBI singles from Patrick Palmeiro and Tyler Mims, but ECU scored a run in the eighth and six more in the ninth to earn the victory.
Shoop & Schoenrock Connection: Both head coaches – UAB’s Brian Shoop & Memphis’ Daron Schoenrock -- in Sunday’s championship game are close friends, as they both worked under current Volunteer Assistant Coach Ron Polk at Mississippi State. Also, Shoenrock was an assistant for Shoop at Birmingham Southern for seven seasons during the 90’s, prior to both men taking coaching slots in Conference USA.
Frost, Anything But Cold: After going 6-for-11 with three RBI in the first three games of the 2012 tournament, 1B John Frost is now 13-for-25 (.520) with eight RBI in six career tournament games at Trustmark Park.
DePew Getting It Done: 2B Keith DePew has hit a blistering .636 over his last four games, going 7-for-13, including a pair of three hit games. He has scored six runs and knocked in three more. In the tournament, is 4-for-8 with five runs scored.
Inside The Memphis Series: UAB was swept at Memphis earlier this season and has lost seven straight games to the Tigers. The Blazers dropped all three games at home to Memphis in 2011 and lost their matchup at the C-USA tournament a season ago to end the season for the Green and Gold.
The last time UAB defeated Memphis was on May 9, 2010 at FedExPark by the score of 11-9.
At FedExPark in 2012, UAB was outscored 22-9 and outhit by the Tigers .316 and .231. On the mound, Memphis had more success, posting a team ERA of 2.67, while the Blazer arms recorded a 7.12 ERA.
C Harry Clark swung the bat well, in his hometown of Memphis, hitting .429 (3-for-7) vs. the Tigers.
RHP Chase Mallard, who is unavailable for the game, pitched well in relief in a game two loss to the Tigers. He went 4.2 innings, giving up only one earned run off three hits, but suffered the loss.
For Memphis, 3B Jacob Wilson had a dynamite series, going 5-for-10 with four homers (all solo) over the three games.
Championship Tid Bits
- UAB secured a spot in the C-USA Championship game, set for Sunday at 1 p.m. CT and will air on the CBS Sports Network.
- UAB, the No. 7 seed, is the lowest seed to advance to the league’s tournament championship game in conference history.
- The lowest seed to win the C-USA Championship was East Carolina as a No. 6 seed in 2002.
- The last time UAB played in a conference championship was in 1994, when the Blazers, coincidentally enough defeated Memphis when both clubs were a part of the Great Midwest Conference.
- The tournament was played in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Blazers defeated the Tigers 14-5 on May 22, 1994.
- UAB did not advance to the NCAA tournament that season, because the Great Midwest did not receive an automatic bid.
- If the Blazers were to win on Sunday, it would mark just the second time in program history the Blazers advanced to an NCAA Regional.
- The other time UAB competed in the NCAA tournament was in 1991, as members of the Sun Belt Conference. The Blazers defeated Old Dominion, the newest member of C-USA, 3-2 to advance to the regional tournament.