The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Birmingham University Blazers on Tuesday night by a score of 6-4. The Tide swept the two game series from the Blazers, winning in Birmingham on March 21st by a score of 4-1, before taking the home win tonight.
Junior right hander Zac Rogers earned the first start of his career, and pitched a career high four innings, walking two batters, hitting one, while striking our four, and not allowing any hits or runs. Birmingham countered with Matthew Calvert, also making his first career start. The lefty pitched 4.2 innings, allowing three hits with two walks, four strikeouts and only one run allowed.
‘Bama jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Cobie Vance had a one out double and scored on a two out single by Cody Henry. Neither team did much until the bottom of the sixth when the Tide plated three runs. Vance singled for the second of his three hits on the night to lead off the inning. After Hunter Alexander’s grounder forced Vance at second, three straight walks followed, with the third being to Tanner DeVinny, driving in a run. Connor Short then hit the right center gap for a two run double. DeVinny was out at the plate after a passed ball to end the inning.
Garrett Suchey replaced Rogers in the fifth and threw three sharp innings, allowing three hits, with no walks and four strikeouts, while allowing no runs. Davis Vainer, Sonny Potter and Mike Oczypok followed on the mound.
The Tide threatened to blow the game wide open in the seventh and scored twice while leaving the bases loaded. Sam Finnerty walked, Vance singled, Alexander walked to load the bases. Henry hit a sacrifice fly to score Finnerty. Chandler Taylor followed with an RBI single to left for ‘Bama’s last run of the night.
The Blazers were able to string together a rally in the ninth on four hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly to score four runs. Oczypok earned his first career save by getting the final two outs on ground balls. Suchey earned the victory, giving him a 2-4 record on the season.
The Crimson Tide collected eight hits, and drew a season high nine walks, while striking out only five times. ‘Bama stranded eight runners on base. The Blazers had seven hits, four in the ninth inning, drew four walks and stranded six runners. Neither team committed an error, as the Tide played one of their best defensive games of the year.
Vance lead the way offensively with his 3-4 night with a double and two runs scored. Henry drove in two runs with a single and sac fly, and Connor Short drove in two with his double. Short also was the star on defense, making several sterling plays to keep Birmingham at bay. Coach Greg Goff used 20 players in the game, while the Blazers used 16.
A win is a win is a win. The Tide broke a five game losing streak in beating a mediocre, at best, Birmingham team. The Blazers have been hit by the injury bug even harder than Alabama has, missing as many as eight pitchers from their roster. For the Tide, Brock Love and Garret Rukes are both out for the season after each had Tommy John surgery. Catcher Will Lumpkin and infielder Camden Bauer are both out for the year after surgeries earlier in the season. Center fielder Gene Wood is out after dislocating his knee cap on a swing and miss on Sunday in the finale of the Ole Miss series. Wood is to see Dr. Lyle Cain on Wednesday to find out the results of his MRI and the timetable for his return. Bama’s number one pitcher, Jake Walters, was held out last week with a sore arm, but is back and will be ready to pitch in this weekends Texas A@M series. The rotation as not been set as of yet, and it is not known if Walters will be used in relief or take his normal turn as a starter.
Next up the Aggies from Texas come to town for a Thursday, Friday, Saturday three game set. Thursday and Friday’s games will be at 6 p.m. CT while Saturday’s tilt is set for 2 p.m CT. All three will be available on SEC Network Plus, Watch ESPN App. The Tide will look to improve on their 2-10 conference mark.
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