Bama Takes Series Opener, 4-3

The University of Alabama baseball team gave head coach Jim Wells his school record 488th career victory with another late-inning rally Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Senior second baseman Evan Bush's one-out RBI single scored junior shortstop Greg Paiml with the go-ahead run and sophomore closer David Robertson struck out the side in the ninth inning as the Crimson Tide posted a 4-3 win over Appalachian State.

Alabama (10-3) scored its winning run on three hits in the seventh inning. Paiml led off the inning with a single through the left side of the infield and moved into scoring position on senior third baseman Matt Downs' single to left. Bush then singled up the middle to score Paiml with the winning run and move Wells to the top of the school's win list.

Wells has compiled a 488-228 (.682) record in 12 years at the Capstone to move past Dr. Barry Shollenberger (1989-94) as the school's winningest baseball coach. Shollenberger posted a 487-334-1 (.534) record in 15 years as Bama's skipper.

"I am glad we won the game and continue to find a way to win," Wells said. "We need to generate some more offense and continue to get the good pitching."

Junior left-hander Wade LeBlanc (3-0) won his third straight start for the Tide. He worked eight innings and allowed three runs and six hits, with two walks and 10 strikeouts.

Robertson earned his third save of the year with three ninth-inning strikeouts.

Zack Quate (0-1) was the loser for ASU in relief. He allowed one run and three hits in two innings out of the pen. Bama's seventh-inning rally was needed after Appy State tied the game in the sixth inning when Adam Beasley ripped a two-out home run to left. It was his team-leading second home run of the year.

Alabama (10-3) had regained the lead in the fourth inning when freshman leftfielder Ryan Rhoden lined a single into right field and moved to third on freshman DH Alex Avila's double down the right line. Senior first baseman Spencer Pennington followed with an RBI ground out to score Rhoden and give Bama a 3-2 lead. The rally ended there as Andrew Rodgers struck out and Paiml grounded out.

Alabama grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on Downs' solo blast to left-center field. It was his first career home run.

ASU (5-2) took a 2-1 lead in the top of the second inning as they took advantage of a two-out walk. Kevin Butler led off the inning with a pop-up double to shallow left-center field. After a pair of strikeouts, Nick DeRose drew a two-out walk and Joey Robinson followed with a double just off the glove of a diving Emeel Salem in center field to score both runners and give the Mountaineers a 2-1 lead.

Alabama evened the scored in the third inning when Paiml drew a one-out walk and scored on Salem's triple into the right field corner. Matt Downs was hit by a pitch, but ASU avoided further damage when Bush fouled out and Kody Valverde popped up. The two teams will meet again on Saturday at 4 p.m. Bernard Robert (2-0) is the scheduled starter on the mound for Alabama.

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