Alabama Athletics

Chandler Avant’s eighth-inning triple drives in winning run for Alabama

Alabama baseball downs UAB, prepares for No. 8 Ole Miss this weekend

It was like a pop-up into short center field. “I’ve got it! No, you take it!” Alabama took a big lead early at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in a non-conference baseball game against UAB. The Blazers fought back to tie it late. And then Chandler Avant’s triple in the bottom of the eighth scored the winning run as the Crimson Tide took a 7-6 win  despite a rocky performance Tuesday night.

“It was good to come back,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard. “We got a little help there in the bottom of the eighth, but we put pressure on them and that’s what you’ve got to do to win games.”

Alabama improved to 20-13 this year, including a 12-4 record inTuscaloosa.

Alabama will continue its six-game homestand with a Southeastern Conference weekend series against No. 8 Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide and Rebels are scheduled for a 7 p.m. CDT start on Friday, a 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 Sunday.

Tuesday’s game had its share of mistakes.

After giving up a four-run lead in the seventh, the Alabama offense rallied for the winning run in the bottom of the eighth. Hunter Webb reached on an infield single. Chandler Avant hit a long fly ball to left center that eluded two Blazers outfielders, going for a triple and scoring Webb.

Thomas Burrows entered in the ninth to get his eighth save with three strikeouts around a walk. The eight saves are his most since he had 11 as a freshman in 2014.

Matt Foster earned his fourth win of the year with just 1 2/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts as Bama used five pitchers in the game. Brock Love replaced starter Jake Hubbard in the third and pitched a career high 4 1/3 innings.

UAB took a 1-0 lead in the first inning without a base hit. Two walks, a double steal, and a groundout put the Blazers on top.

That lead didn’t last long.

In the bottom of the first, Cobie Vance was hit by a pitch. Chandler Taylor’s single put runners on the corners and Taylor then stole second. A UAB error on Chance Vincent’s ground ball to second scored Vance. Will Haynie walked to load the bases. Georgie Salem’s single to right scored two and put runners on the corners. A balk scored Haynie to make it 4-1.

None of the four first inning Alabama runs were earned.

UAB added one in the top of the second with a pair of singles to narrow the gap to 4-2, but Alabama matched with one of its own in the bottom of the inning to make it a 5-2 affair. A bases-loaded walk from Cody Henry scored Avant, who reached on a fielder’s choice in the second at-bat of the inning.

In the sixth, Webb reached on a two-out error before Avant brought him home with a double to left to improve the Tide’s lead to 6-2. UAB evened things up with a four-run seventh, using five hits and a walk to make it a 6-6 contest.

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