Wild Ending Sends Tiger Baseball To First Loss At C-USA Tournament
May 27, 2004
HOUSTON - UAB scored the winning run on a wild pitch to cap off a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Memphis 7-6 in game seven of the Conference USA Baseball Tournament Thursday. The Blazers strung together a pair of two-out singles to tie the game before a fastball by Memphis reliever Bill Edwards sailed behind UAB's Daniel Hill allowing Josh Miljavic to score the winning run on a close play at the plate.
The loss sends the Tigers to the loser's bracket to face Southern Miss, who Memphis beat 10-5 in the opening round, Friday at 3 p.m.
The Tigers built their two-run lead entering the bottom of the ninth behind a 4-for-4 effort at the plate by second baseman Michael Lewis and the strong pitching of junior Derek Hankins. Lewis's two-run homer in the sixth off UAB starter Adam Price put the Tigers up 6-3. He also doubled twice and scored a run in the second as Hankins never let the Blazers grab the lead.
Hankins pitched eight-plus innings before giving way to Edwards in the ninth with a runner on first and one-one count on Seth Rollin. Edwards struck Rollin out, then walked Zac Ward before getting Levi Patmon to pop up to Lewis for the second out of the inning. Edwards could not get the decisive third out as Miljavic and Eugene Rodriguez each came through with clutch singles on full-count pitches to tie the game at six.
Both teams plated a pair of runs in the first as each starting pitcher struggled to get through the opening frame. Tiger DH Ryan Martin laced a RBI-single and first baseman Kyle Scott added a sac fly to score the Memphis runs. UAB first baseman Daniel Hill doubled in the Blazers' first run and Cole Helms added an RBI-single to tie the game at two.
Memphis grabbed a 3-2 lead in the second when Lewis scored on a sharp double down the leftfield line by Chad House. The Tigers took a 4-2 advantage in the fifth when Bill Moss reached on an error and scored on a RBI-double by shortstop Brent Dlugach.
UAB got a run back in the fifth on a RBI-double by Rodriguez before Lewis put the Tigers up three runs with his sixth home run of the season. The Blazers threatened to tie the game in their half of the sixth, but House made two great defensive plays to hold UAB to one run in the frame.
Blazer second baseman Seth Rollin had a RBI-single in the inning, but was thrown at second on a relay throw from Dlugach after House chased down the single down the line. House robbed the previous batter Jeremy Moran of extra bases with a diving catch in the left-center field gap.
The Tigers were held scoreless by UAB reliever Eric Roberts in the final three innings as he notched his fifth win of the season. Roberts limited Memphis to just three hits, but two of those came in the eighth when Lewis hit a one-out double to put runners on second and third. The right-hander ended the threat getting the final two batters in the eighth on a strike out and pop up to third.
Hankins fanned nine Blazers and walked just two to earn a no decision. The junior moved to second place on the school's single season strikeout list with 114 on the season. Edwards dropped to 3-5 with the loss allowing two earned runs on two hits in the ninth.