Bama Slips Past UAB

In a game sandwiched between two Southeastern Conference series against teams ranked number one in the nation going in, Alabama scored three runs in the first inning and one run in the seventh to clip UAB, 4-3, Wednesday night game at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

"Just survive on the Wednesday games, I guess," Alabama Coach Jim Wells said. "You'd like to play sharper."

Jake McCarter (4-0, 1.72 ERA) started for Alabama and pitched six innings in the win. He allowed three hits and two runs, handing UAB its 10th straight loss.

Six pitches into Wednesday evening's game UAB had its first run, leadoff speedster Steven Turner tripled on a 2-2 fastball and Jorge Gutierrez drove him in with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Turner scored all three of the UAB runs in the game, going one for three with two walks.

"Sometimes it's tough to get up for mid-week games," McCarter said. "Giving up a leadoff triple opened my eyes a little bit. After that I got kind of comfortable."

Alabama (23-9 overall, 7-2 SEC) jumped on UAB (13-17 overall) starter Lyle Norhtington in the bottom of the first with six hits and three runs.

It didn't take Emeel Salem long to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. The Tide center fielder led off the game for Alabama bouncing a single through the right side of the infield.

Salem is hitting .359, more than 40 points ahead of Bama's next closest every day player.

An experimental Alabama lineup featured Brandon Belcher in the two-hole paid off as he and Evan Bush both singled to load the bases in the first with no outs.

David Ferazza drove in Bama's first run, cueing the ball off the end of the bat just over the pitcher's head for a hit after Pennington struck out hitting in the clean-up spot. Matt Downs singled to right to drive in another run, and Ryan Rhoden singled again to right to score another run.

Downs was thrown out 9-1-4-6 as he got caught in a run-down trying to advance to third on an errant throw by the right fielder. The only problem with Downs' aggressiveness was that David Ferazza was already standing at third with no opportunity to advance.

Alabama's only other run of the game came in the eighth when Rhoden doubled to lead off the eighth and Matt Bentley striped a pitch on the ground down the right field line to score Rhoden. That gave Bama a two-run lead and chased UAB's Mitch Thorn, who side-armed his way to his longest outing of the year, a five-inning, one-run performance in relief.

"UAB played well and their pitching was outstanding," Wells said. "The sidearm guy (Mitch Thorn), we couldn't get anything off of him."

McCarter coaxed two more fly balls to end UAB's half of the first inning.

and Spencer Pennington in the clean-up spot. Catcher Kody Valverde once again took the mid-week game off, resting a banged up shoulder. He is expected to play against South Carolina this weekend.

Lyle Northington was the losing pitcher for UAB.

McCarter gave up a game-opening triple to Steven Turner to start the game, and Turner scored on a sacrifice fly by Jorge Gutierrez to give UAB the lead after just six pitches. McCarter coaxed the next two batters to pop up to end the inning.

Kent Matthes grounded out to end the first.

Turner scored again in the third after walking and stealing second. He advanced to third and scored on separate wild pitches by McCarter.

Josh Copeland went an inning and a third giving up one hit, one earned run, one walk and one strike out in his first action since in his first work since March 10th.

"He did well," Wells said. "The walk scored but when a guy hasn't been out there in a while it's tough."

Jordan Davis' 13th appearance was lucky. He got the save in one and two third innings of work.

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