Tide completes sweep of Bearcats

TUSCALOOSA -- The offense did not put up the big numbers like happened Saturday, but the result was still the same as Bama downed Cincinnati, 3-2 to sweep the series.

The University of Alabama baseball won another one-run game, posting a 3-2 win over Cincinnati to complete a three-game sweep Sunday afternoon in front of a paid crowd of 4,553 fans at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Sophomore left fielder Evan Bush tied an Alabama record with two sacrifice flies and junior left hander Taylor Tankersley, making his 2004 debut, recorded his first save of the season as the Crimson Tide won its third straight game.

Alabama (5-2) trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, but scratched out two runs off losing pitcher Tom Maynard (0-1) to post its second one-run win of the young season.

Junior Allen Rice led off the sixth with a sharp single to center and moved to third base when senior Carlos Sosa singled up the middle. Sosa took second on the throw to third base, putting two runners in scoring position.

Bush followed with his second sacrifice fly of the game, scoring Rice with the tying run. Junior Zac Welch followed with a single to center, plating Sosa with what proved to be the winning run.

Maynard allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings for the loss. He added one walk and two strikeouts.

Junior right-hander T.J. Large (1-0) benefited from the two-run sixth inning and picked up his first win at Alabama. Large worked 1 1/3 innings and allowed one hit, two walks and fanned three batters.

The Seminole, Fla., native worked out of trouble in the sixth and seventh innings to give the Crimson Tide a chance to win the game.

Large relieved Allen Ponder with runners at second and third with two outs in the sixth inning and struck out Aaron Moll to end the scoring threat. He also worked out of a jam in the seventh inning, pitching around a one-out walk and his own throwing error to strand Erik Eitel at third with the tying run.

Cincinnati (1-5) had a taken a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning on a pair of two outs hits and balk by Ponder.

Elliott Salcedo slapped a two-out single to left field and moved to third on a double into right field by Brian Szarmach. Ponder then was called for a balk, allowing Salcedo to score the go-ahead run to give UC a 2-1 lead. Ponder then walked Steve Pickerell before turning the game over to Large.

Senior Seth Johnson pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, with two strikeouts before allowing a two-out single to Eitel in the ninth. Tankersley came in and allowed a single to left-hander Brian Beltz before ending the game when Drew Saylor popped up to Rocky Scelfo at second base.

Alabama took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but let a chance for the big inning slip away.

Emeel Salem, making his first career start, led off the game with a sharp single to center and moved to third on Rice's double down the left field line.

Carlos Sosa then grounded out to third base before Bush lifted his first of two sac flies to left field to score Salem. Welch drew a two-out walk before Scelfo grounded out to end the inning.

Alabama collected 11 hits and stranded seven base runners in the game. The Crimson Tide also hit into two double plays.

Cincinnati, losers of five straight games, also has its share of troubles on offense, leaving 10 base runners. UC stranded five runners at third base and six in scoring position against five UA pitchers.

Rice, who extended his hitting streak to seven games, led UA with three hits. Salem, Welch and Scelfo also had two hits each.

Including Saturday's career-high, four-hit game, Welch has reached base nine straight times in the last two games, with six hits and three walks.

Eitel, Beltz, Salcedo and Szarmach had two hits each for the Bearcats, who tallied 10 hits in the loss.

Alabama returns to action this Wednesday, Feb. 25 as they host the Centenary Gentlemen in a 6:30 p.m. non-conference game at the Joe.

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