Trio of Freshmen Arms Helps Alabama Baseball Claim 4-1 Win over UAB on Tuesday
The Crimson Tide’s trio of freshmen pitchers in Deacon Medders, Garret Rukes and Davis Vainer combined to limit the opposition to only one unearned run as Alabama baseball defeated UAB, 4-1, at Regions Field on Tuesday evening. The victory moved the Tide to 11-10 overall heading into this weekend’s series in Columbia.
"It feels good to get the win tonight, especially on the road over a good UAB club,” said Alabama head coach Greg Goff. “I’ve got so much respect for coach (Brian) Shoop and their coaching staff, but I’m glad we could get the win. I was really impressed with the poise our guys showed on the mound tonight, and our bats added some really timely hitting.”
In his first career start, Medders tossed 4.0 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out three batters across 53 pitches of work. Garret Rukes (2-1) followed for 3.1 scoreless frames of relief to earn his second win of the season. The left-hander allowed just two hits while striking out a pair before handing it over to Vainer. The Tide closer notched his third save of the season with 1.2 innings, allowing one unearned run and a hit while punching out three.
The Crimson Tide offense was led by Gene Wood’s perfect 3-for-3 night that included one a walk, an RBI and one run scored. Another Tide multi-hit performance came from Hunter Alexander, who finished 2-for-4 with a double and a team-leading two RBI. Connor Short extended his hitting streak with a 1-for-3 night, collecting his second home run of the season, and contributing one RBI and a run scored.
Alabama struck first in Tuesday’s contest, plating one run in the top of the second. Tanner DeVinny led off the frame with a walk before Chandler Taylor moved him up a base with a single to right. Short put both runners in scoring position with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt before a Wood single snuck through the right side to make it 1-0 game.
Short would increase the Alabama lead in the fourth, sending a two-out solo homer to left-center to make it 2-0. In the bottom of the frame, UAB recorded a single and then drew a walk to put two on. The next batter sent a liner to Chandler Avant at shortstop, who caught the ball in the air, then stepped on second and threw it to first for the triple play. The triple play was the Crimson Tide’s first since March 14, 2014, against Kentucky.
The Tide plated one more in the top of the seventh, using a hit and an error to make it a 3-0 game. Wood led off the frame with a single, his third of the evening, before an error at third on a bunt attempt by Chandler Avant put a pair aboard. Kyle Kaufman dropped a sacrifice bunt down to move both runners into scoring position and a Cobie Vance walk loaded the bases. With every base full, Alexander sent a shot to the warning track in right, just missing a home run, but serving its purpose for the sacrifice fly to add one more tally.
Alabama added to its lead in the ninth with one more run. A one-out single by Kaufman gave the Tide life before a two-out double from Alexander scored the man from first to make it 4-0 game, the eventual final.
The Crimson Tide will travel to seventh-ranked South Carolina this weekend for a three-game series. The two teams will begin the SEC pairing on Friday at 6 p.m. CT followed by a 3 p.m. CT first pitch on Saturday. The Sunday finale at Founders Park is set to start at 12:30 p.m. CT. All three games in Columbia can be seen live on SEC Network+.