UA baseball team falls in midweek game to UAB

Kevin Connell

Even a top-10 team is not immune from midweek trap games.

Days after moving into the top 10 in the polls, No. 9 Alabama suffered a rare midweek loss Wednesday night, falling 2-1 to UAB at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

“I thought our guys were ready to play,” Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. “I know at times tonight we made a couple miscues out there, but really we got a good start from Geoffrey [Bramblett], we defended it okay, and offensively it was just one of those nights.”

In his first collegiate start, Bramblett, a freshman right-hander who has worked exclusively out of the bullpen this season up until Wednesday night, struck out nine and allowed only three hits and one earned run in 6 1/3 innings.

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“Pretty much everything I expected it to be,” Bramblett said of his first start. “I was excited, kind of nervous, but it was a lot of fun. Games happen like that, but I take the good out of it. I think I just got to learn from it and keep getting better.”

UAB opened the scoring in the sixth inning when a Bramblett strikeout that would’ve been the final out of the inning turned into a wild pitch, allowing Blazers shortstop Adam Smith to score from third.

Alabama responded an inning later on senior first baseman Austen Smith’s solo home run to left field to tie it at 1-1, but the draw was short lived.

Griffin Gum’s RBI single in the top of the eighth scored Chase Davis from third on what proved to be the game’s winning run. Out of the Blazers’ six hits on the night, Gum had three of them.

“It was one of those tight games, and offensively, like I said, we just never really got in a rhythm to put any pressure on them,” Gaspard said.

For Alabama, the loss is its first in 12 consecutive home midweek games, dating back to a 6-0 loss to Memphis on March 12, 2013.

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The Crimson Tide had a chance in the next half inning after UAB’s go-ahead run in the eighth, but freshman left fielder and speedster Hunter Webb was thrown out in a play at the plate by UAB right fielder Jeff Schalk to end the inning and effectively end Alabama’s scoring chances on the night.

“I’m going to be sent like that pretty much every time, and he just made a good strong throw,” Webb said.

The Blazers used eight pitchers with none going longer than 1 2/3 innings pitched, allowing only five hits collectively.

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Alabama will look to bounce back in a three-game home series against Auburn starting Friday. The Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers 4-3 in the Capital City Classic in Montgomery on March 5.