Bama Baseball Hosts UAB Wednesday Afternoon

The Alabama baseball team is 8-2 through its first ten games, and is scheduled to host UAB (2-5) Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

Tickets to the "Business Person's Special" afternoon game are $1.

Bernard Robert, who made his 2007 debut on the mound Friday against Villanova is scheduled to start Wednesday's game.

"Bernard did well. He's a competitor," Alabama Head Coach Jim Wells said. "He hasn't had a whole lot of work but gave us a few innings and battled."

Robert appeared in relief for Tommy Hunter, pitching four innings and giving up three hits, two earned runs and walking a batter while striking out five men. He threw a total of 67 pitches.

"I thought I threw well for the first time out," Robert said. "There's always a few things you want to improve on: throwing more fastballs for strikes and pitching inside and outside more consistently. The goal for us is to work on getting better in locating pitches and getting ready for the SEC. That's when you want to be your best."

Wells is anxious for Robert and the rest of his starters to build the endurance necessary to go deeper into games as the season moves along.

Health is also an issue for the Alabama pitching staff. Brandon Belcher, a presumed weekend starter, has not pitched since the first weekend of the season when he felt a strain in his elbow. He is expected to return to the mound, but not this weekend. Wells said Belcher is currently able to throw long toss but is not pitching off the mound.

Freshman third baseman Jake Smith strained a knee ligament in practice a week ago and will not play against UAB, but should be back in the lineup soon.

"It was supposed to two weeks (recovery time) but there's a chance he could be back this weekend if needed," Wells said.

Alabama, who hosts McNeese State in set of games this weekend, is ranked 16th in the Baseball Writer's poll and unranked in the two others, Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. The Crimson Tide faces its first big challenge next week when it hosts Southern Miss (currently 8-1) Wednesday night and Nebraska for a weekend series.

Nebraska is ranked 18th in Baseball America's poll, 7th in the Collegiate Baseball poll and 13th in the Baseball Writer's poll.

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