It won’t be an easy road to a CUSA Championship, but the Blazers certainly have the ability to win the tournament and punch their automatic ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
Fortunately for the Blazers, they start out the tournament against top-seeded Southern Miss. I say fortunately, because you’re going to have to beat a high-quality opponent sooner or later to win the tournament. At least if you play them to start the tournament you can throw everything and the kitchen sink at them.
UAB is unlikely to see the Golden Eagles’ ace in Nick Sandlin, but they have plenty of other quality pitchers. Still, seeing anyone other than Sandlin is a plus.
It will be all hands on deck for UAB in the first game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Tanner Graham comes back on short rest to at least start this one.
If the bats can get hot, UAB could pull the first round upset and then they would be on their way to the tournament championship.
After a first-round win on Wednesday against Southern Miss, the Blazers would play either UTSA or Charlotte. They won a series at Charlotte earlier in the year, and they didn’t play UTSA this year. But regardless, UAB is more than capable of beating either of those teams.
Once that happens and UAB wins their first two games of the tournament, they would get a bye and not play again until Saturday. At that point, they would have two chances to win one game and advance to the CUSA Baseball Tournament final.
In that semi-final matchup, UAB would probably either face Southern Miss or whoever they beat in their second game.
Once in the championship game, they’ll likely face either FAU or La Tech. The Blazers won just one game at home against La Tech this year, but one of those losses was a one-run game and the other went into extra innings. UAB did go down to Boca Raton and took two-of-three from FAU.
So the Blazers shouldn’t be intimidated by either of those matchups.
I know it sounds like a lot to ask for a team that snuck into the tournament, but there isn’t much separation in CUSA this year after the top three. If UAB can indeed pull the upset over Southern Miss on Wednesday, their path to a CUSA Baseball Tournament championship becomes a lot clearer.