Hearod's homer lifts Bama over UAB

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The No. 3 ranked University of Alabama baseball team got solid pitching from three pitchers and junior designated hitter Beau Hearod slammed a three-run home run in the fifth inning to lead the Crimson Tide to a 5-3 win over the UAB Blazers Wednesday night before an overflow crowd of 2,234 fans at Jerry D. Young Memorial Field.

Hearod's three-run smash snapped a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning off losing pitcher Andre Parks (1-7) to give Alabama a 4-1 lead. Hearod's eighth home run of the season cleared the 30-foot green monster in dead center field.

Alabama (29-5), winners of six straight games, sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth inning. Scott McClanahan led off with a single to center and moved into scoring position on Adam Pavkovich's school-record tying sacrifice bunt of the game. After Peter Stonard grounded out to short, Parks hit Brown with an 0-1 pitch to fuel the two-out rally. Hearod, a native of Jennings, La., stepped up and crushed a 2-1 pitch over the monster in center field.

"It was an outside fastball," Hearod said. "With two men on base in a tight game, I was just trying to get a pitch to drive. I got a good pitch to hit and I hit it very well. I had no idea it would clear the center field fence."

The three-run home run was more than enough for Alabama pitchers Jared Woodward, Brent Carter and Brian Reed. Woodward (3-1) worked five-plus innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. He added one walk and five strikeouts.

Carter allowed only one run and one hit in three-plus innings of work, adding four strikeouts. Reed pitched a perfect ninth inning, recording one strikeout, to earn his seventh save of the year.

"Woodward pitched a great game," Wells added. "Carter and Reed pitched well, too. They both came in the game with runners on base and shut them down. It was a good, tight ballgame."

Alabama manufactured a first-inning run to take a 1-0 lead. Scott McClanahan drew a lead off walk and stole second base. Adam Pavkovich's sacrifice bunt moved McClanahan to third. The senior scored on a wild pitch to give UA a 1-0 lead.

The Blazers tied the game in the bottom of the first inning on Kyle Leon's two-out single to left field, scoring Chad House from second base. House led off the inning with an infield hit and moved into scoring position on Matt Womble's sacrifice bunt.

Alabama wasted a pair of scoring opportunities in the second and third innings. The Crimson Tide left the bases loaded in the second inning as Pavkovich was called out on strikes. In the third inning, Brown and Beau Hearod drew back-to-back one out walks to chase starter Rusty McIntyre.

Following the home run, Alabama loaded the bases again as Boyd and Rice were walked and Garner was hit by pitch. Zac Welch grounded out to second base to end the inning. It was the second time in six innings the Crimson Tide stranded the bases loaded.

The Crimson Tide stranded 12 base runners in the game, leaving six runners in scoring position.

UAB put the first two runners on base in the bottom of the sixth inning to chase starter Jared Woodward, but managed only one run. Eric Lyon singled up the middle to open the inning and scored on Kyle Leon's triple to dead center field.

Woodward worked five-plus innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. He added five strikeouts and walked one batter.

Carter, a freshman left-hander, came on to relieve Woodward and held the score a 4-2 in favor of Alabama. Carter struck out Matt Gaulden and then threw out Leon at the plate on a safety squeeze bunt attempt. Mark Garner grounded out to Rice at third to end the inning.

Rice, a freshman from Pelham, delivered a two-strike single in the ninth inning to score Brown from third base with an insurance run as UA extended its lead to 5-2. It was Rice's second clutch base hit in the ninth inning in the last two games. He had a base hit in the ninth inning in Sunday's win over Florida.

UAB tallied a run in the ninth inning when Seth Rollin tripled and scored on Mark Garner's ground out to Rice at third base to make the final score 5-3.

The Crimson Tide remains on the road this weekend as they travel to the University of Kentucky for a three-game Southeastern Conference series. The series begins Friday, April 12 at 6 p.m. (ET) from the newly renovated Cliff Hagan Stadium.

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