March 22, 2011
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Two-out scoring was the difference Tuesday night as the UAB baseball team dropped a 6-3 midweek contest at Alabama.
The Crimson Tide (14-7) scored five of their six runs with two outs, while the Blazers (11-9) struggled to get key hits and stranded 11 runners on base.
Even when the Blazers looked like they would break through, an Alabama defender was standing right in the way of a would-be hit.
Jamal Austin had already drawn a bases-loaded hit by pitch to cut Alabama's lead to 5-3 in the top of the eighth inning when Nick Crawford stepped to the plate against Crimson Tide reliever Jonathan Smart. Crawford laced a line drive that looked like it might sneak through to continue the scoring, but Alabama shortstop Jared Reaves stabbed it to end the threat.
"We're leaving lots of guys on base right now, but that at-bat by Nick was about as good as you can have," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "He hit the ball right on the button, but it was right at him. There's not much you can do about that."
Alabama tacked on another two-out run in the bottom of the eighth inning, and Smart retired UAB in order in the ninth for the three-run victory.
Alabama's Austin Smith led all players with a 3-for-4 effort and two RBI. UAB's Ivan De Jesus, John Frost and Harry Clark tallied two hits each.
Frost drove in Crawford for the first two UAB runs, one in the first inning on a sacrifice fly and one in the fifth with an RBI single after Crawford had doubled to lead off the frame.
Alabama also plated runs in the first and fifth frames but did its scoring in bigger bunches than UAB.
The Crimson Tide scored two runs on four hits in the first, including RBI singles by Smith and Jon Kelton. Alabama then did all of its fifth-inning with two outs. Smith drove in another run, while Brock Bennett and Andrew Miller also had RBI singles in the inning.
"They got hits with two outs, and we weren't able to do that tonight," Shoop said. "We have to keep getting guys on base and eventually we'll start to score some more runs."
Alabama's Charley Sullivan earned the win, allowing two runs on six hits in five innings. Smart picked up the save for the Crimson Tide.
UAB's Blake Huddleston took the loss. After UAB tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth, Huddleston was charged with two of Alabama's three runs in the bottom of the inning as the Crimson Tide regained the lead.
The Blazers are now set to begin Conference USA play this weekend. UAB travels to Charleston, W. Va., for a three-game series with Marshall starting on Friday. UAB and Alabama will meet again next Tuesday, March 29 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.