ULM Rally Stops USA in 10 Innings, 7-4
Les Aulds delivered the tiebreaking single, and first baseman Joey Rapp added insurance with a two run single as #5 seed Louisiana-Monroe rallied from an early deficit to defeat #4 South Alabama, 7-4 in the first game of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Bowling Green, KY.
Jeff Fuller led off the ULM (29-27, 1-0 SBC tournament) tenth inning with a single off USA reliever Kyle Bartsch (1-4) and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Chris Dudley. Aulds then delivered a single up the middle to give ULM its first lead of the game. Sun Belt Player of the Year Jeremy Sy then doubled Aulds to third and both scored on Rapp's base hit past a diving shortstop to end the scoring.
Wil Browning (7-3) pitched three innings of shutout ball to get the win, allowing just one hit, striking out three.
The Jaguars (21-34, 0-1) jumped on ULM starter Randy Zeigler for two runs in the first inning on RBI singles by Whitt Dorsey and Nick Zaharion. ULM countered with two of their own in the second on a Taylor Abdalla single off starter Jarron Cito to tie the game. But the Jaguars struck right back on a two-run double by Nolan Earley, chasing Zeigler and giving the Jags a 4-2 lead.
But left-hander Kendall Thamm pitched 5.1 innings of three hit ball, giving ULM a chance to get back in the game. The Warhawks got within one run in the seventh on a double by Caleb Clowers, who increased his hitting streak to 24 games. Then in the eighth agaisnt reliever James Traylor, Fuller, pinch hitting for Corben Green, singled with one out. After Dudley, batting for catcher Logan Fiasco, struck out, Aulds singled and USA coach Mark Calvi turned to Bartsch, who led the Jags in saves with ten during the regular season. But Sy worked a walk to load the bases and Clowers was hit by a pitch, tying the game.
South Alabama got only a leadoff single in the tenth by Earley, but Browning got Dorsey on a fly ball and Jordan Patterson on a double play ball to end it.
Clowers had three hits to highlight ULM's 15-hit attack while five other Warhawks had multi-hit games.
Earley had three hits to lead the Jaguars.
ULM will now face top-seeded Florida Atlantic Thursday at 3pm. South Alabama will meet eighth seeded Western Kentucky Thursday night at 7.