BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- Senior Michael Busby made his final home start at Young Memorial Field a memorable one, working eight-plus innings and allowing just one earned run as UAB defeated Southern Miss 2-1 on Thursday evening.
Busby (4-4) allowed just five hits, three to USM shortstop Ashley Graeter, to help UAB improve to 29-25 and 9-13 in league play. The loss dropped the Golden Eagles to 28-23 and 12-10 in C-USA action.
The two teams will meet again on Friday, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. CT. The game will air locally on WJOX-AM 690 with David Crane on the call.
The win marked the 13th one-run victory for the Blazers this season and snapped a four-game losing streak the USM.
In his 13th and final regular season start of his senior campaign, Busby was lights out, matching pitch for pitch with USM's ace and reigning C-USA Pitcher of the Week Andrew Pierce. Busby struck out four and did not walk a batter, retiring 10 of the first 11 batters he faced.
Neither team could make a mark on the scoreboard through the first four-and-a-half innings. During that span, UAB stranded five base runners, three in scoring position.
The first run of the game came across in the fifth when Ryan Prinzing (2-for-5) scored all the way from the first on a John Frost double that was laced just inside the third base bag.
In the seventh, USM's Blake Brown just missed a two-run homer, as he tripled off the wall in left center field, bringing home Graeter to tie the ball game.
The game remained in a deadlock until the eighth, when USM went to its bullpen. James McMahon (2-1) replaced Pierce, recorded an out but walked two guys and was lifted for fellow right-hander Chase Horn. Harry Clark walked to load the bases for the Blazers. After a strikeout, Keith DePew drew a walk, the fourth of the inning, allowing what proved to be the game winning run to score.
In the top of the ninth, leadoff batter, Graeter, who was a pest all night, reached with a single, ending the day for Busby. The Blazers called on fellow senior Dillon Napoleon, who made quick work of the USM lineup retiring all three batters he faced for his first career save.