The Alabama Crimson Tide found the answer to their midweek woes on Tuesday in a home game with the Birmingham Blazers. Catcher Matt Malkin had a home run, two doubles, a walk, and drove in six runs to lead the Tide to a 12-3 victory. ‘Bama had 11 hits on the night, nine of which were for extra bases, including two home runs and seven doubles. The win was the first midweek victory for the team since March 14th vs Alabama A&M. The Blazers defeated the Tide in Birmingham on March 20th. Alabama improved to 21-13 and Birmingham fell to 14-17 on the year.
Sam Gardner started and pitched the first four innings before five relievers pitched one inning each to finish out the game. Gardner allowed six hits, walked one, struck out three and allowed all three Birmingham runs. Tyler Adams pitched the fifth inning and was awarded the victory, his second of the year.
Birmingham jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the top of the second on three singles. Gardner limited the damage by picking Zack Davis off of first base. The Tide bounced back in the bottom of the second on a long three run home run by Matt Malkin. Birmingham tied the game in the fourth on two singles, a balk, and a sacrifice fly.
The Tide took control of the game in the bottom of the fourth, sending 10 men to the plate an scoring six times. The big blows were a double by Kyle Kaufman, a two run double by Malkin, a two run home run by Cobie Vance and a run scoring double by Hunter Alexander. Bama wrapped up the scoring in the game with three more runs in the fifth, highlighted by run scoring doubles by Malkin and Jett Manning, and a Cody Henry RBI single.
Coach Brad Bohannon inserted several reserve players in the game as the game was firmly in hand. Thirteen position players and six pitchers saw action in the game. Mason Duke, Davis Vainer, Brady Greene, and Connor Stutts joined Adams in pitching one inning each, with a total of 47 pitches thrown in their five innings.
The Tide had 11 hits, walked eight times, got hit twice, struck out six times and stranded nine runners. The Blazers had three runs, eight hits, one walk, seven strikeouts and left five men on base.
It was good to see ‘Bama get back to hitting the ball and taking care of inferior opponents in a stress free manor. The pitching remains solid, and the offensive outburst was greatly needed. The defense, led by Manning at shortstop, was stellar. The nine extra base hits was a season high, as were the seven doubles. The team batting average had dropped to .270 overall, and is only .228 in SEC games. The pitching staff has a better ERA in league play at 2.32 than their overall mark of 2.81, which is remarkable.
Who Did What?
- Matt Malkin- 3-4, home run, two doubles, walk, three runs, six runs driven in
- Cobie Vance- 2-4, home run, double, two RBI, run
- Chandler Taylor-0-2, two walks, hit by pitch, two runs
- Jeux Breaux- 0-1, sac bunt, three walks, two runs
- Jett Manning-1-3, double, two RBI, run
A quick turnaround for a Thursday-Saturday series at Texas A&M. Thursday night’s game is a national game at 8 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU. Friday’s game is at 6:30 p.m. and the finale is Saturday at 2 p.m. The last two games can be seen only on SEC Network Plus, Watch ESPN App. The Tide will continue with the rotation of Sam Finnerty, Jake Walters, and Garret Rukes.
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