Tide cruises past UAB, 15-8

The No. 16 Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team got two good starts Wednesday night at Jerry D. Young Memorial Field in Birmingham. <br><br>That combination helped the Crimson Tide to an easy 15-8 win over the Blazers in front of 1,738 mostly partisan Bama fans in the Magic City.

The UA offense started the night with nine runs in the top of the second inning in support of starter Jared Woodward.

Woodward (2-0) then went seven innings and won for the third time in his career against the Blazers. The win by the Alabama junior is just the third win by an Alabama starter in the last nine games.

It was the best outing by the Tuscaloosa native this season, who limited the Blazers to five runs and seven hits in seven innings on the mound. He added six strikeouts and did not issue a walk.

With the win at UAB, Alabama has now won nine consecutive starts by Woodward dating back to the 2002 season.

Alabama (19-5) got the majority of its run production against the Blazers from first baseman Zac Welch, shortstop Adam Pavkovich and newfound third baseman Nathan Meiners.

Meiners (3-for-4, 4 RBI) recorded his first career three-hit game for Alabama and added a career best four RBI. Welch (2-for-4, 2B, 4 RBI) tacked on two doubles and four RBI, both career highs for the sophomore. Pavkovich (3-for-5) added three hits, including a pair of doubles, three RBI and scored three runs.

The trio also played a huge part in the nine-run, second inning as the Crimson Tide took the suspense out of the game relatively early.

The Crimson Tide scored nine runs on seven hits in the top of the second inning without benefit of a home run. Meiners started the scoring frenzy with a two-run single to left field. Grant Redding added an RBI single to left to put the Tide in front 3-0. Allen Rice added a two-run single to left field to extend the lead to 5-0 and chase UAB starter Chris Thorup.

Thorup (1-2) lasted only 1 1/3 innings and allowed seven runs and four hits in suffering his second loss of the year. He also walked two and struck out three.

Pavkovich greeted reliever Greg Zarbough with a two-run double down the left field line as UA took a 7-0 lead. Beau Hearod followed with a double and Welch chased home two more runs with a double to right-center field to give the Crimson Tide a 9-0 lead.

"It was surprising, but certainly good to see," Alabama coach Jim Wells said. "We scored a lot of runs early and then maintained that lead throughout the game. I am proud of our guys for the way they played."

UAB (18-6) answered with two runs in the bottom of the second inning on Seth Rollin's two-run home run to left field, his third of the season.

The Crimson Tide padded its lead with three more runs in the fourth inning. Welch collected his second two-run double of the game to give UA an 11-2 lead. Meiners added a sacrifice fly to score Hearod with the 12-2 lead.

Redding led off the fifth inning with his first home run of the season extending the lead to 13-2.

Kyle Leon's seventh home run of the season cut the Alabama lead to 13-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Leon's home run was the second by the Blazers, marking the first time this season UA has allowed more than one home run in game this year.

The Crimson Tide tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning to push its lead to 15-2. Rice was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game and scored on Pavkovich's double to left. Meiners added is third hit of the game with a single to right, scoring Pavkovich with the final run of the inning.

UAB added two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning as Rollin and Brett Tilley reached on back-to-back singles to open the inning. Rollin scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 15-4 and Tilley came on a Mitch Jones' sac fly to center to make the score 15-5.

The Blazers turned a blowout into a somewhat misleading game, scoring three runs and collecting five hits off Jeffrey Norris in the final two innings, cutting the lead to 15-8. Junior right-hander Seth Johnson recorded the final out of the game for the Crimson Tide.

Rollin led the Blazers with three hits and three RBI, while Leon tallied a pair of hits and two RBI in the loss.

Redding, Hearod and Garner also added two hits each for the Crimson Tide, with Garner extending his hitting streak to 14 games.

Alabama returns home this weekend to host the LSU Tigers in the three-game SEC series at the Joe. The series opener is set for 6:30 p.m. on "Pack the Park Weekend". The Alabama A-Day football game is Saturday at 1:06 p.m. and the Crimson Tide and Tigers play game two of their series at 4 p.m. The baseball series wraps up Sunday at 2 p.m.

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