PEARL, Miss. (University of Memphis) – Tigers senior Chase Joiner pitched six shutout innings to start the game, but UAB (32-28) scored three runs in the seventh and went on to defeat Memphis (31-28) 5-0 Sunday in the Conference USA Championship title game at Trustmark Park.
The Tigers loaded the bases with two outs in the third, but UAB escaped the jam to keep Memphis off the board. Ethan Gross belted a one-out double to right-centerfield and Jacob Wilson was walked to put two on with one out. Adam McClain grounded out, but both runners advanced on the play. UAB elected to intentionally walk Eli Hynes to load the bases and UAB starter Ryan Nance forced a fly out to right to end the frame.
UAB got back-to-back singles to start the fourth, which were the first hits of the game for the Blazers. Ivan De Jesus and John Frost recorded the back-to-back singles before De Jesus was erased at third base on the bunt by Patrick Palmeiro. The Tigers turned a double play to keep the Blazers off the board.
The Blazers put the pressure on the U of M once again in the sixth, but the Tigers managed to get out of the inning unscathed. Tanner Bryant singled to lead it off and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. A walk put runners on first and second with one out. Frost hit a single to center, but Memphis centerfielder Ford Wilson threw a bullet to the plate to retire Bryant for the second out. Joiner followed with a strikeout to end the frame.
UAB had five of their first seven leadoff men reach base over the first seven innings. The fifth batter was the most costly. Ryan Ussery drew a leadoff walk and a single by Harry Clark put runners on the corners with no outs. Joiner attempted to pickoff the runner at third, but the throw was wild and allowed the first run to score. Jeff Schalk later hit a two-run home run to give UAB a 3-0 lead. UAB moved runners to second and third with one out later in the inning, but a lineout double play ended the frame.
The Tigers' T.J. Rich worked a one out walk and Ford Wilson reached on catcher’s interference. Keaton Aldridge followed with an infield single to load the bases, but UAB reliever Michael Busby struck out the next two batters to keep the Blazers in front, 3-0. The Blazers added two runs in the eighth to open a five-run lead. Keith DePew and Schalk came through with an RBI each in the inning as the Blazers grabbed the 5-0 lead.
Eli Hynes led the Tigers' offense with two hits, but UAB out-hit Memphis 10-6 in the game. Joiner (4-5) was saddled with the loss as he allowed three runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings. Nance (4-3) picked up the win allowing no runs on five hits in 6.1 innings. Michael Busby earned the save as he allowed one hit in 2.2 innings.
Eli Hynes, Dan Langfield and Keaton Aldridge were named to the C-USA All-Tournament Team following the game.