The Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team toyed with the Birmingham U Blazers on Tuesday night, racing out to a 10-0 lead by the top of the 5th, and coasted home with a 13-7 win. The 20th ranked Tide improved to 16-1 on the season while the Blazers fell to 7-9. The game was played at Regions Park, the home of the Birmingham Barons.
Bama took an early 1-0 lead in the first when Brett Auerbach walked and scored on a long double by Tyler Gentry. Tyler Ras started on the mound for the Tide, and pitched just the first inning just to stay sharp for the weekend. Ras allowed a one out double, but that was all. Garret Rukes replaced Ras and was the winning pitcher pitching three scoreless innings while allowing one hit with one walk and one strikeout.
The Tide sent 10 men to the plate in the third inning scoring six runs to take full control of the game. The runs came on three walks, a hit batter, two hits, a sacrifice fly, and a Blazer error. Owen Diodati doubled in two runs and Auerbach, Peyton Wilson, Kolby Robinson, Jim Jarvis all drove in one in the frame.
With a 7-0 lead, coach Brad Bohannon started emptying the bench early as the team readies for the start of SEC play this weekend. Myles Austin replaced Jarvis at second, Zane Denton came in for Auerbach at third, and Jackson Tate went to right field for Tyler Gentry. In the fifth inning Sam Praytor hit a monster three run shot over everything in left for a 10-0 lead. The Praytor Tater was the catchers team leading sixth home run of the season. In the bottom of the fifth Walker McCleney entered the game to play center field, moving Wilson behind the plate and giving Praytor the rest of the night off.
Landon Green followed Rukes on the mound and after a couple of walks surrendered a three run homer run to Jess Davis that put the Blazers on the board. . Dylan Oliver had the sixth inning for the Tide and gave up back to back singles to begin the inning. A strikeout- throw out double play was followed by two walks to load the bases. Ryan O’Connell entered the game and stranded the bases loaded with a fly out to end the inning. The Tide scored twice in the seventh on a RBI single from T.J. Reeves, and a run driven in by Drew Williamson. Bama scored their last run in the eighth on a RBI single off the bat of Tate. Garrett Hester was called on to pitch the eighth inning, and was victimized by some unusually sloppy defense by the Tide, allowing four unearned runs. Kyle Cameron got the last out of the eighth and recorded two strikeouts in the ninth to close out the game, to secure the 13-7 victory.
The Tide hit 10-37, but received 17 free base runners, with 11 walks, five hit batters, one reaching by error, and stranded 14 runners. The Blazers finished 11-38, had seven walks, struck out eight times, and stranded 11 runners. Diodati and Tate were the only Tide players with two hits. Auerbach reached in all three of his plate appearances with a single and two walks. Auerbach also stole three bases, including two on one pitch. With the Blazers playing a shift with Diodati at the plate Auerbach swiped second, jumped up and continued to third when he realized no one was covering the bag. The utility man out raced the shortstop, who raced behind, but could not catch the quick Auerbach. Praytor drove in three with his home run, and finished 1-3 with a walk. Williamson was 0-1 with an RBI, but walked four times and was hit by a pitch. Reeves was 1-3 with an RBI and reached base three times by being hit by a pitch. Rukes was the winning pitcher and improved to 2-0 on the season.
Bama opens SEC play this weekend with Missouri coming to town for three games. The games will be played at 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday, and noon on Sunday. All will be available on SEC Network Plus, and local Tuscaloosa radio. If you are close by come out and check out this team, you might just catch a case of:
ALABAMA BASEBALL FEVER.
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