Alabama scored early, four runs in the first inning, and scored late, breaking a 6-6 tie with a run in the bottom of the eighth, to defeat Birmingham University by a score of 7-6 on Tuesday night at The Joe in Tuscaloosa. The Tide is now 5-3 in mid week games and 20-13 overall. The Blazers fell to 12-21.
Jake Hubbard started on the mound for the Tide, and walked the first two batters of the game.The Blazers scored once with out the benefit of a hit, using the walks, four stolen bases and a ground out to push one run across. Hubbard picked Griffin Gum off of second base to end the inning, and stop the rally.
The Tide plated four runs of their own in the bottom of the first on a combination of two hits, a walk, an error and a balk. Georgie Salem's two run single was the big blow in the inning. Both teams scored once in the second, the Tide on a bases loaded walk to Cody Henry. Brock Love replaced Hubbard in the third, and he and a parade of one inning Blazer pitchers shut things down until the bottom for the sixth and top of the seventh.
Hunter Webb reached on a two out error in the sixth and scored on a double by Chandler Avant, giving the Tide a 6-2 lead entering the seventh inning.
Love was cruising along, having struck out six and walking only one going into the seventh inning. Three singles with one out chased Love from the game in favor of Dylan Duarte. Duarte faced one batter that walked, bringing Matt Foster to the mound. Foster allowed an RBI single and two run double before striking out two to end the inning with the game tied at six each.
Foster had a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts, setting up the Tide heroics in the bottom of the frame. With two outs Webb beat out an infield single, bringing Avant to the plate. Avant hit a long drive to left center that apparently confused the Birmingham outfielders, allowing the ball to fall between them for a triple, scoring the go ahead run.
With that brought the most automatic thing in college baseball: give the ball to Mr. Automatic, Thomas Burrows, in the ninth inning with a lead. The dominating Burrows struck out the first two batters on six pitches before the Blazers drew an umpire-aided walk, bringing the go ahead run to the plate. Burrows made quick work of him, blowing him up on three pitches and another strikeout.
Burrows, in his 10th appearance of the year, earned his eighth save. In 12.1 innings the junior left hander has allowed four hits, seven walks, 24 strikeouts, and has yet to give up a run. Foster was the winning pitcher of record, and now leads the team in wins with four, against two defeats.
The Tide collected seven hits, with Avant leading the way with his double and triple with two runs driven in. Webb added two hits and two runs, and Salem's one hit drove in two runs. The Blazers also had seven hits with Adam Smith and Kyle Davis having two each.
The win wasn't pretty, and it was against a bad Birmingham team, but was much needed. The Tide needs to stack up mid-week wins considering that of the teams six SEC opponents remaining on the schedule, five of them are ranked in the top 10. (F)AU is the only one that is not a top ranked foe.
Alabama will continue their six game home stand with a huge series with eighth-ranked Ole Miss this weekend. The Rebels bring an overall record of 25-7 into the weekend, and are tied with The Tide with a 6-6 SEC mark. OM is hitting .280 as a team, and has a team ERA of 3.04, compared to Alabama's .252 team batting average and 3.34 team ERA. The Tide desperately need to win the series after losing two our of three the last two weekends at Georgia and at Kentucky. Of the teams four SEC series thus far, three have been on the road. The friendly confines of a packed out Sewell-Thomas should help the team get over the hump this weekend. Saturday's game is already sold out and Friday and Sunday are nearing capacity crowds.
Friday's game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m, Saturday's (A-Day!) is to be at 5:00 p.m., and Sunday is set to start at 1:00 p.m.
'Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It
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