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Tulane falls to Southern Mississippi

Tulane entered the Conference USA baseball tournament as the No. 2 seed and the defending champion.

After falling 10-9 to Southern Mississippi on Thursday morning in the losers' bracket, the Green Wave's hopes for an NCAA appearance rest on an at-large bid.

"It was a disheartening loss," Green Wave coach Rick Jones said.

"I hope (the NCAA selection committee) will judge it over the last half of the season and not the last two games, but I have no idea."

Southern Mississippi (32-25) scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to erase a 9-7 deficit and survived a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to pull off the upset and stay alive in the tournament at Florida Power Park.

"I think our guys decided that they were going to have fun today," Golden Eagles coach Corky Palmer said.

"I might have been a little too emotional in the dugout (Wednesday). And that's what we're going to do the rest of the way."

Designated hitter Darren Welch was 2-for-4 with three RBI.

Rightfielder Jeff Cook and catcher Chris Finnegan each added two RBI for the Golden Eagles, who needed 13 hits to counter five errors.

Tulane again did not start left-handed ace Jared Berkowitz, opting instead to hand off the duties to Henry Bonilla. Bonilla gave up six runs on seven hits but left the game with an 8-6 lead.

Berkowitz (12-3), who set school records for victories (38) and games started (58) this season, relieved, giving up four runs on six hits, including the three in the seventh, to take the loss.

"Obviously, I didn't want to use him," Jones said.

"But we wanted to try to win the ballgame because of the situation. It just didn't work out."

CINCINNATI 9, UAB 4: The Bearcats' season keeps getting better.

Cincinnati (34-24) advanced to Saturday's semifinal, thanks to a five-run seventh inning and strong relief pitching from Curtus Moak.

The team is one win shy of setting a school record for victories in a season and advanced to the semifinal for the first time in the conference's five-year history. It plays the winner of today's 3 p.m. losers' bracket game between UAB and Southern Mississippi at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The score was tied 4-4 after six innings, but Cincinnati teed off on Blazers relief pitcher Scott Beyer in the seventh. Beyer entered for Michael Stallings and hit leadoff batter Ryan Minges.

Kevin Youkilis, Brad Schutz and Kevin Wilson each had a run-scoring single in the inning and Craig Tewes chased Beyer with a single that scored two runs. Clay Bush entered to get the final two outs, but the damage was done.

Moak, on the other hand, shut the door on the Blazers when he entered with two out and two on in the bottom of the sixth. He got Will Smith to ground out to second to end the inning, then limited the opposition to three hits to earn the win.

"In the seventh it got away from us," UAB coach Larry Giangrosso said.

"They just made some adjustments and we couldn't get the ball where we wanted to. Every time we threw it somewhere they hit it."

UNCC 6, HOUSTON 1: Houston's best-ever 21-4 conference record meant nothing against the 49ers.

UNC Charlotte, the fourth seed, scored five unanswered runs, including three in the bottom of the seventh, to break open a close game and send the tournament's top seed to the losers' bracket.

Houston (40-15) plays South Florida today at 6:30 in an elimination game. UNC Charlotte (33-23-1) plays at 12:30 Saturday against the Houston/USF winner.

The Cougars entered the game with a .314 team batting average, but the 49ers' Ryan Baker held them to four hits in pitching a complete game.

Houston pitcher Kyle Crowell was 12-2 with a 2.35 ERA, but he allowed 10 hits and six runs in 6 innings.

The biggest damage came in the seventh, when UNCC, staked to a 3-1 lead, started the inning with five straight singles and got RBI from Brad Erwin, Eric Shanks and Alex Derhak.

Becker managed to wiggle out of trouble in the fifth when he had runners on second and third with no one out and UNCC leading 3-1.

He coaxed two fly outs and a line out. Houston went quietly the rest of the game.

Houston's only run came in the fourth on J.P. Woodward's homer to rightfield.

_ ROGER MILLS, RODNEY PAGE

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