Tide bats rally late in game to down UAB


Kevin Connell

No. 8 Alabama wasn’t out for revenge, but it did get even.

The Crimson Tide defeated UAB 5-2 on Wednesday night. The win comes just one week after the Crimson Tide dropped a 2-1 decision to UAB at Sewell-Thomas Stadium last Wednesday.

“It was a game we wanted,” Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. “It’s not just about the last game. UAB’s been kind of a nuisance to us the last few years. It was to come in and get the win.”

Trailing 1-0 after five innings, the narrative was almost identical to that of a week earlier against the Blazers. Alabama was down by the same score, well into the game, and struggling at the plate.

This week, though, the Crimson Tide changed the script.

Alabama busted open the game with a three-run sixth inning to take a 3-1 lead that it didn’t relinquish.

Junior Wade Wass did most of the damage, driving in the opening two runs of the game with a bases-loaded single to center field. With runners on second and third after an error by the UAB center fielder on Wass’ single, sophomore Kyle Overstreet added on the crucial third run for Alabama with an RBI single through the left side in the next at-bat.

Alabama has a 26-1 record when scoring three or more runs this season. The win improved Alabama’s record to 3-0 without senior first baseman Austen Smith, Alabama’s best hitter, who has not played since suffering a bone bruise in his left wrist after he was hit by a pitch in Saturday’s win over Auburn.

“When a guy goes down like a bat like Austen’s, who’s probably the biggest bat in our offense, we got to find ways to work around that and pick him up,” Wass said. “I think [Daniel Cucjen] has done a really good job with that. [Chance Vincent] has stepped in, Casey [Hughston] has stepped in, and they’ve filled the gap with that big bat.

“When something happens like that, you’re just going to need more guys to step in and produce.”

Cucjen, a sophomore filling in at third base after Vincent, the regular third baseman, moved to first base during Smith’s absence, had a career-high of three hits, including a lead-off single to help set the tone in the sixth.

Vincent and Will Haynie both went 1-for-3, with an RBI sac fly from Vincent for the Crimson Tide’s final run of the game in a two-run eighth inning. Wass’ RBI single to start the inning helped push Alabama’s lead to 5-1, heading into the bottom half of the eighth.

As a team, Alabama had three hits through five innings – but 10 hits from that point on.

“It seems like whoever we’ve plugged in has done a good job, and that’s what you got to do to be a good team,” Gaspard said.

Freshman Geoffrey Bramblett (3-0) picked up the win in his second career start – both against UAB – after allowing only one earned run on four hits with seven strikeouts in five innings of work. Freshman closer Thomas Burrows recorded his sixth save of the year with no earned runs and no hits in one and two-thirds innings pitched to finish the game.

UAB scored its two runs in the second and eighth innings.

Alabama (26-11, 10-5 SEC) begins the second half of its SEC schedule Friday with a three-game road series at Tennessee (24-11, 6-9 SEC). The Crimson Tide has taken four of five SEC series this season.