Bama baseball notches victory over Blazers, 6-3

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama baseball team (14-7, 2-1 SEC) won a midweek contest over the in-state UAB Blazers, 6-3, on Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas stadium.  UAB (11-9, 0-0 C-USA) had won the last two meetings between the teams.

"I thought Charley Sullivan came out and wasn't real sharp early but he kind of settled in and gave us the five innings we were looking for," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Then the bullpen came in did a nice job, Jay Shaw had two good innings, Jonathan Smart came in and did what he did over the weekend. He did a really nice job, he shut them down.

The winning pitcher for Alabama was Charley Sullivan who was making his first start of his career.  Sullivan went 5 innings giving up six hits and two runs, one earned, and striking out four.  Jonathan Smart collected his third save in as many games for Alabama, pitching a perfect 1.3 innings for the Crimson Tide to close out the game.

Austen Smith went 3-for-4 for Alabama and collected two RBI to lead the Tide offensively. Brock Bennett (2-for-2, two runs scored) and Jon Kelton (2-for-3, RBI) also had multiple hits for Alabama. Taylor Dugas was 1-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

"Offensively we were a little spotty, but Austen Smith did a really good job and had some hits that got down," Gaspard said. "We had pretty decent pressure offensively throughout the game. These midweek games are always difficult, especially when you play in-state opponents. You just have to find ways to get wins and I thought we did that tonight. We have another opportunity tomorrow against Jacksonville State."

UAB scored first in the top of the first when shortstop Nick Crawford reached on an error and advanced to third on a walk and a hit batsman. Crawford scored on a sacrifice fly by first baseman John Frost to give the Blazers a 1-0 lead early. Alabama would battle back in the bottom of the first, scoring two runs on four hits, including two-out RBI singles by Smith and Kelton.

In the top of the fifth, UAB tied the game after a double by Crawford and Frost's second RBI of the game on a single up the middle. But again, the Tide would rally in the bottom half.  Jeremiah Tullidge had a solid single through the left hand side of the infield and advanced to second on a groundout by Dugas. Bennett came through for Alabama with a two-out RBI single, scoring Tullidge from second. Smith and Andrew Miller would also add RBI singles later in the inning.

UAB would only muster a run in the eighth, before Smart entered the game for Alabama and closed the door. The Tide scored the final run of the game in the bottom of the eight when Tullidge singled up the middle drive in Miller from second, giving the Tide a 6-3 advantage.

Frost finished the day 2-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored for the visiting Blazers and Ivan De Jesus and Harry Clark added two hits each.

Alabama will play again Wednesday, March 23 when its hosts Jacksonville State for a 4:05 p.m. CT first pitch. Alabama will send Trey Pilkington (0-0) to the mound and the Gamecocks will answer with right-hander Taylor Sparks (0-0).

INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics