BIRMINGHAM, Ala. The University of Alabama in Huntsville baseball team captured the program’s second Gulf South Conference championship on Tuesday afternoon, defeating Delta State 8-3 in the title game after knocking off West Florida 6-0 in an elimination game earlier in the day. With the win, UAH has earned the automatic berth to the 2014 NCAA South Regional to be held next weekend.The championship marks the 23rd overall GSC title for the UAH Department of Athletics.
The Chargers will bring the trophy back to Huntsville after going 5-1 in five days of competition, including a win over the No. 3 seed West Florida this morning to advance to the finals and two wins over top-seeded Delta State.
UAH outscored its opponents 39-9 with its backs against the wall facing four elimination games. With a spot in the NCAA South Regional up in the air heading into the tournament, UAH left no doubt by earning the automatic berth with its GSC title.
Senior Blake Massey, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after batting .462 with nine RBI during the tournament, finished the day with a 3-for-5 showing to go along with two RBI, while Justin Riddle plated two runners and a hit.
Jacob Croft picked up the win after pitching his best game of the season, tossing 5.2 innings and allowing just two hits, completely shutting down DSU’s lineup, who came into the game averaging just over eight runs per game.
Left-handed starter Tyler Howell put in a solid 3.1 innings of work while allowing three runs in the no decision on two-days rest.
UAH jumped on DSU early, scoring three runs in the top of the first after one of Brock’s three hits went down the right field line to drive in Cody Burton from third before a fielder’s choice and one of four miscues committed by Delta State gave the Chargers a 3-0 advantage.
Massey would then put the Chargers ahead in the ensuing inning with an RBI-double down the left-field line to score Chase Handley and Burton.
Delta State cut the lead to two, 5-3, in the bottom of fourth with two RBI-singles and a sacrifice fly. However, UAH stopped any hopes of a DSU comeback in the top of the fifth thanks to another DSU error prior to Riddle’s single up the middle that plated Ben Hall and Austin Sanders.
Conner McCain and Burton were named to the All-GSC Tournament team after McCain batted .429 from the plate to go along with six RBI and the walk-off home run that highlighted the first day of competition, while Burton, who sparked the offense from the leadoff spot with a .458 batting average from the plate with a double and a triple.
Senior Alex Aultman helped push the Chargers to their fifth Championship game appearance with a 6-0 victory over West Florida in the morning, as the right-handed hurler tossed his second complete-game shutout of the season, allowing just four hits to a West Florida team that was shutout just once all season.
Aultman has now work 18-sraight scoreless innings dating back to the team’s series against West Alabama at home.
Hall and McCain each had two hits and two RBI apiece to pace the offense, while Brock and Burton both notched two hits.
UAH struck early in the bottom of the first when McCain’s single up the middle gave him an RBI, driving in Burton from third and extending his hitting streak to 18.
The contest would remain scoreless for seven more innings, with the defense making the plays it needed to back up Aultman.
UAH stretched the lead to six, 6-0, with five runs in the eighth thanks to a Hall 2-RBI single, a UWF wild pitch, a bases-loaded walk and a fielder’s choice.
The Chargers will now prepare for the NCAA South Regional, which in all likelihood will be in Tampa, Fla., on May 15-18. The NCAA Selection Show will be Sunday night at 9 p.m. CT.
Courtesy: UAH Media Relations