Auerbach steals three bases as baseball beats UAB


CW / Hannah Saad

Carey Reeder | @_CareyReeder, Staff Reporter

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — When all nine starters on a baseball club earn an RBI, the club is going to score a lot of runs. That’s exactly what Alabama did to UAB in Birmingham on Tuesday night, defeating the Blazers 13-7 at Regions Field.

Alabama (16-1) posted six runs in the third inning, the 10th time this year it has scored at least four runs in an inning. The Crimson Tide’s two hits in the inning were aided by three walks and an error.

“I was just glad to get a win tonight,” Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said. “I thought the game was a little sloppy on both sides at times, and with SEC play looming I was concerned with how a young team would come out.”

Redshirt sophomore Sam Praytor and sophomore Drew Williamson walked to start the inning. Sophomore T.J. Reeves was hit by a pitch to load the bases for freshman Peyton Wilson. Reeves was hit by a pitch three times in the game.

Wilson’s walk pushed across the first run of the inning, and a sacrifice fly by senior Kolby Robinson scored Williamson for the second. Freshman Jim Jarvis’ grounder was mishandled for an error that scored another run.

Senior Brett Auerbach hit a single with runners on the corners to plate the fourth run of the inning. Freshman Owen Diodati hit a bases-clearing double to push the Alabama advantage to 7-0 after three innings.

It was Auerbach’s shortest day of the season at just three innings, but the senior made it count. He led the game off with a walk and stole his 10th base of the season right after the pass. Junior Tyler Gentry’s RBI double scored Auerbach for the first run of the game, but it was Auerbach’s play in the second inning that stole the show.

With Diodati at the plate, the shift was on for UAB towards the right side of the diamond. Auerbach stole second for the second time in as many innings; then, with no Blazers covering third base, sprinted into the bag to earn two steals in one pitch. The senior is now 12 for 14 on steal attempts this season.

“I could’ve done it in the first inning and when I got to the dugout they said, ‘Hey, next time you do that, take third,’” Auerbach said. “I said, ‘Alright,’ stole second, and then the shortstop said ‘Get to third,’ and I just took off and beat him there.”

Praytor took the sole lead in home runs on the team with a three-run, 386-foot homer into the left-field bleachers in the fifth inning to make it 10-0, Alabama. Williamson, who earned four walks in the game, scored Diodati, and Reeves’ RBI single added two more Crimson Tide runs in the seventh. Tate added an RBI of his own the following inning. Alabama amassed 11 walks, and four of its innings began with a pass.

Alabama used seven pitchers on Tuesday night to help set up its weekend rotation against Missouri. Four of the seven runs the Blazers scored were unearned. Redshirt junior Garret Rukes, who pitched three innings of one-hit baseball, went the longest stretch for any Crimson Tide pitcher and was credited with the win.

“Luckily we got out to a 10-run lead and were able to get some guys in there that [haven’t] gotten [many] opportunities,” Bohannon said. “Not everybody was sharp and it was a sloppy day but we got the win.”

Alabama turns its attention to SEC play now, with Missouri coming to Tuscaloosa on Friday for a three-game series.

“[Our confidence] is really high and we’re in a really good spot,” Auerbach said. “We’re going to take it to Missouri this weekend and give them all we got and we’re looking forward to it.”