South Alabama Eliminates William & Mary 8-4

South Alabama Eliminates William & Mary 8-4

May 26, 2001

Box Score Post Game Quotes

Clemson, SC – Ryan Mulhern drove in three runs and scored three, while Tony Neal pitched a complete game, leading #1 seed South Alabama to an 8-4 win over #3 seed William & Mary in an elimination game Saturday morning at the Clemson Regional at Kingsmore Stadium.

South Alabama will advance to a 7:00 PM game this evening against the loser of the 3:00 PM contest between Clemson and Seton Hall. South Alabama improved to 45-18 with the victory. William & Mary completes its season with a 35-20 record.

Mulhern hammered a three run homer, added a double and a single in his five official at bats to lead the South Alabama offense. The home run was his 12th of the season. Leadoff man Cameron Likely reached base four times on two walks and two hits, while Brett Parker added a pair of singles for the Jaquars, who came into the game hitting .304 as a team.

Neal went the distance for a team best fifth time this year and raised his record to 9-3. He went over 100 innings for the year in the appearance as he struck out four and walked three, all within the first two innings.

William & Mary was led at the plate by all-conference shortstop Brendan Harris, who had a homer and a double and also reached when he was hit by a pitch. Marshall Hubbard added two hits for the Tribe, who had won 10 of their last 11 games entering the tournament.

South Alabama had three runs on the board just five batters into their lineup. Cameron Likely led off the game by reaching on a walk. Erik Smallwood then reached safely on an error by Tribe second baseman Matt McGuire. Two outs later Mulhern smashed a home run over the left field fence for a 3-0 South Alabama lead. South Alabama added two more hits after the homer, but could not add another run.

William & Mary came right back in the bottom of the first. With one out Tim Jones walked. He scored when Brendan Harris homered over the left field fence. It was the 18th home run of the season for Harris, who also had his 20th double later in the game. He ended the game with three RBIs, giving him 69 for the season. He completes an outstanding season with a .390 batting average, best on the team.

South Alabama came back with a run in the top of the second. Scott Calahan singled up the middle, his fourth straight hit over two games. He now has 229 career hits, fourth in South Alabama history. He needs just three more to move into third place.

Likely walked and Erik Smallwood singled to load the bases. Tim Merritt, who had a 16-game hitting streak snapped in the first game of the tournament on Friday, then hit a sacrifice fly to right. It was the first of three sacrifice flies in the game for South Alabama.

The Jaquars added a run in the third. Mulhern hit a leadoff double to center and moved to third on a ground out by designated hitter Brandon Davis. Mulhern then scored on a sacrifice fly by Warren Hanna. William & Mary came back with a run in the fourth. Mike O’Kelly singled to center to lead off the frame and moved to second on a ground out. He then scored on a single to center by Matt McGuire.

The Tribe made it a 5-4 game with a run in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Michael Brown singled. He was eraced on a force out off a batted ball by Tim Jones. Harris followed with a double up the alley in right field.

The #1 seeded South Alabama team decided they had had enough and responded with three runs in the top of the eighth to break the game open and give Neal some breathing room. The first three batters reached safely on a walk to Nick Gretz, a single by Mulhern and a single to left by pinch hitter Kyle Stanky that scored Gretz. Mulhern later scored on a sacrifice fly by Calahan and pinch runner Shane Scoville scored on a single by Likely.

Post Game Quotes

Winning Coach (Steve Kittrell, South Alabama) “All Ican say is the sun came up this morning after a long night lastnight and our guys responded really well. We really came out andplayed well. We swung the bats and played good defense and hadoutstanding pitching by Tony Neal. He went the distance, which weneeded him to do. He’s just a bulldog, he stays out there andbattles the whole way. We had some clutch hitting, with Mulhern’sthree run homer in the first which really got us going.”

“William & Mary just kept battling. They wouldn’t go away. That’s why they’ve had a great year in the Colonial Association and why they have a great ball club. They didn’t quit.”

“Our defense has been very strong all year. Our pitching and defense have been solid. Our hitting, when it’s hot, we can play with anybody. We’ve just got to put it together now for two more days and three more games.”

Losing Coach (Jim Farr, William & Mary) “The way the ball game started today, I really thought we were going to be in for a wild afternoon. After the first inning, the game settled down and I thought our guys competed very well out there. I thought the play their third baseman made in the late innings on the ball hit down the line was a key play in the game. The wild pitch we had after that with runners in scoring position I thought was also a turning point.”

“The beauty of post season play is that you can’t control where you are seeded and you just have to go out and play. We knew coming into the tournament that we had a tough road ahead of us and last night we simply did not hit the ball well enough to win. I thought we played okay in our two games, but it was not a good indication of the way we had played during the entire year. We have a very young team so we now just have to go back and get our kids ready to make it back here again next year.”