Alabama baseball team to face UAB Blazers

Kevin Connell

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The Alabama baseball team returns home to face the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers in a midweek, nonconference matchup Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The Crimson Tide (22-16, 8-7 Southeastern Conference) rides a three-game losing streak coming into Tuesday night’s game after being swept this past weekend at No. 18 Ole Miss. The sweep drops the Tide into a tie with Mississippi State for third place in the SEC West race behind No. 2 Arkansas and No. 1 LSU.

Despite losing ground in the SEC, Alabama must turn its attention to UAB, who, despite holding a losing record on the year, picked up a 1-0 victory over the Tide on March 26 in Hoover, Ala. Since that win, UAB (16-20, 3-6 Conference USA) has gone 6-6 over its last 12 games after just a 9-14 start to begin the season.

Although the Blazers are not a conference opponent, a Tide win is crucial in preparation for its home SEC series against No. 2 LSU this weekend.

One notable area that will need improvement from game one against the Blazers is its overall play at the plate. The Tide had just four hits in its fifth shutout defeat of the year in the previous game against the Blazers this season.

The Tide will likely look to freshman center fielder Georgie Salem for its offensive production as he currently leads the Tide with a .290 batting average and a team-high 45 hits. Salem had 3 walks and 3 hits in 11 at-bats for the series against a good Ole Miss pitching staff.

On the other half of the inning, Tide pitchers will look to have a better day on the mound than they did in their previous meeting against the Blazers this season. Redshirt junior right-hander Tucker Hawley allowed only 1 run, but gave up 6 hits with 2 walks and only 2 strikeouts in five innings of work in the Tide’s first go around with the Blazers.

Freshman right-hander Mike Oczypok (2-0, 2.08 ERA) will start for Alabama on Tuesday. Oczypok allowed no runs and no hits in five innings of work in his first career start last week against Alcorn State.

Sophomore right-hander Alex Luna (0-2, 7.90 ERA) will make his third start of the season for UAB.

Tuesday’s game marks the 62nd meeting in the series between the two schools. Alabama leads the series with a 41-20 all-time record against the Blazers.