Alabama Baseball Holds Off Late Comeback by UAB for 6-4 Win on Tuesday
Alabama baseball held off a ninth-inning comeback by UAB, securing the 6-4 win on Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The victory improves the Crimson Tide to 14-19 overall and 12-9 in non-conference matchups. Alabama’s win also completed the series sweep of the Blazers for the 2017 schedule.
“We wouldn’t have won this game if it wasn’t for Zac Rogers going out there and competing, and not getting too big in the moment,” said Alabama head coach Greg Goff. “He went out, threw strikes, had quite a few strikeouts and just threw great. I’m really proud of his performance.”
The Crimson Tide received a strong outing from its starter Zac Rogers. In his first career start, the junior tossed 4.0 innings of hitless and scoreless baseball, issuing two walks while striking out a career-high four batters. Rogers was followed by Garrett Suchey (2-4) who notched his second win of the season with 3.0 innings of scoreless relief. Suchey allowed three hits and did not walk a batter while also striking out four. Davis Vainer and Sonny Potter each worked in relief, before Mike Oczypok collected his first career save in the top of the ninth, recording the final two outs for the Crimson Tide win.
Offensively, Alabama was paced by Cobie Vance, who finished 3-for-4 with a double and pair of runs scored. Cody Henry and Connor Short each contributed two-RBI nights, with Henry finishing 1-for-2 with a run and a walk, while Short added a 1-for-3 night that included one double.
Alabama gained an early advantage in tonight’s game, scoring one in the bottom of the first. Vance kicked things off with a double down the line in right to give the Tide its first baserunner. One out later, Henry tallied an RBI-single to center, scoring the man from second to make it a 1-0 affair.
The two teams went scoreless until the bottom of the sixth, when the Crimson Tide put up a three-spot to make it 4-0. Vance led off the inning with a single for his second hit of the day, but a fielder’s choice put Alexander on and moved Vance off the bases for the first out. Back-to-back walks to Henry and Chandler Taylor loaded the bases before a third consecutive walk, this one to DeVinny, crossed the Tide’s first run of the inning. Following a pitching change, Short delivered with an RBI-double to center to score two more and give UA a four-run advantage.
In the eighth, Alabama added two more to move the lead to six. Sam Finnerty led off the frame with a walk before Vance delivered a one-out single through the left side to put two on. Alexander followed with a walk to load the bases and then Henry sent a sacrifice fly to right to score Finnerty from third. Taylor then sent a single down the line in left to score one more, making it 6-0 heading to the final two innings.
The top of the ninth saw the Blazers rally for four before Oczypok shut them down for the save. UAB began with a pair of singles and then a double to score one before a wild pitch brought in the second run of the inning. A sac fly crossed the third run and a two-out single to right scored the fourth for the Blazers. Oczypok went on to record the final out, a 5-4 fielder’s choice, to end the game and help Alabama complete the series sweep of UAB.
“I’m just really thankful and proud that our guys came out tonight and really responded after a tough weekend,” Goff added of his team. “I think it started yesterday at practice – we came out and had a great day and put in the proper preparations for a tough UAB team. I’m really proud of the way our guys played in this one, and hopefully we can carry this momentum into the weekend.”
The Crimson Tide will remain at home following tonight’s game, playing host to the Texas A&M Aggies this Thursday through Saturday, April 13-15. The first two games of the series are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. CT each night with Saturday’s finale set for a 2 p.m. CT first pitch. All three games of the series will air live on SEC Network+.