Bama Beats UAB 16-0

Sophomore catcher Ryan Rhoden led the University of Alabama hit parade with a school-record tying five hits to lead the 16th ranked Crimson Tide to a 16-0 win over UAB on Wednesday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Rhoden became the 22nd different Crimson Tide player to log a five-hit game. Kody Valverde was the last player with five hits against Jacksonville State during the 2006 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional. Emeel Salem also had five hits in a game during a 14-8 win over UAB last year at the Hoover Met. The 22 players have combined for 28, five-hit games at UA.

"I saw the ball really well today," Rhoden said. "I just kept getting fastballs and I put the ball in play. This was a good game for the team, we swung the bats well."

Rhoden singled and scored the first run of the game in the second inning. He added another single in the third inning and tacked on his third hit of the game during the three-run, fourth-inning as the Tide built a 6-0 lead. He slapped a two-run double to right center field during Alabama's 10-run, fifth inning and capped his record-setting day with a single in the sixth.

Alabama (9-2) finished the game with 20 hits, including 18 singles.

"Ryan is swinging the bat really well and playing well right now," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "He has improved and is doing a good job for us."

Rhoden extended his hitting streak to eight games on Wednesday and is 8-for-10 in his last two games.

The Crimson Tide took a 6-0 lead through four innings and then put the game away with a 10-run, fifth inning to take a 16-0 lead. The Crimson Tide sent 16 men to the plate in the sixth inning as UAB used three different pitchers.

Sophomore designated hitter Alex Avila had two hits and three RBI in the inning to tie the school record for most hits in an inning. In addition to Rhoden's two-run double, junior first baseman Matt Bentley plated a run with a sacrifice fly and senior center fielder Emeel Salem and junior right fielder Elvin Vargas added RBI singles in the frame.

UAB starter Brandon Wallace (0-2), who pitched last season at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, was charged with the loss after giving up six earned runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.

All nine Crimson Tide starters had at least one hit and one RBI in the win over UAB.

"A lot of things went our way today," Wells said. "We were able to play a lot of guys and we hit the ball well. We were able to get (starting pitcher) Bernard (Robert) out of the game after five innings and not extend him with a long season ahead. It was a good game overall."

Robert teamed with junior left-handers Will Stroup and Brian Griggs for the Crimson Tide's first shutout of the season and first since a 5-0 win over Mississippi Valley State last season. It was Bama's first shutout win over UAB since a 4-0 victory at the Hoover Met in 1998.

Robert (1-0) threw five scoreless innings the win over UAB. He allowed only two hits, walked two and struck out one. Stroup added three scoreless innings, with four strikeouts. Griggs pitched a scoreless ninth.

UAB (2-6) managed only three hits and had only three runners in scoring position in the game. Jonathan Merritt had two of the three hits in the loss.

In addition to Rhoden's hot-hitting, Avila finished the game with three hits and three RBI. Salem added two hits, two runs scored and two RBI. He has scored at least one run in all 11 games this year. Sophomore second baseman Jeff Texada, freshman third baseman Brandon May and senior shortstop Greg Paiml had two hits each for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama will host McNeese State (2-10) in a three-game series this weekend at the Joe. The series opener is Friday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. The two teams will also play Saturday, March 3 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, March 4 at 2 p.m.

GAME NOTES:

*Alabama and UAB met for the 50th time on Wednesday afternoon. The Crimson Tide holds a 37-13 series lead and has won the last six meetings here in Tuscaloosa. The two teams will meet again on Wednesday, April 4 at the Hoover Met.

*Sophomore Kent Matthes (Orlando, Fla.) made his first start of the season in left field against UAB. Matthes is one of three UA players to start all 11games this season and has made starts in right field (9), designated hitter (1) and left field (1). Matthes went 1-for-3 with two RBI before being lifted for a pinch-runner in the fourth inning. Matthes has at least one RBI in all 11 games this season.

*Junior Elvin Vargas (New York, N.Y.) made his second start in right field against UAB. *A pair of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks were in attendance at the UAB-Alabama game on Wednesday afternoon. Kenny Stabler (Oakland, Super Bowl XI) and Mark Rypien (Washington, Super Bowl XXVI) caught the "Business Person's Special" at the Joe on Wednesday. Stabler was an All-American quarterback at Alabama and also played baseball. He led the Raiders to a 32-14 win over Minnesota in Super Bowl XI. Rypien was the MVP of Super Bowl XXVI after leading the Redskins to a 37-24 win over Buffalo.

*Alabama has outscored the opposition 48-4 in the first four innings this season after taking a 6-0 lead through four innings on Wednesday against UAB.

*Sophomore catcher Ryan Rhoden (Tuscaloosa) tied the school record with five hits in the win over UAB on Wednesday. Rhoden is 8-for-10 (.800) in his last two games for the Crimson Tide. He extended his hitting streak to eight games on Wednesday and is batting .469 (15-for-32) during the streak.

*Senior centerfielder Emeel Salem (Mountain Brook) had two hits, two runs scored and two RBI in the win over UAB. Salem has scored at least one run in all 11 games this season.

*Alabama's 10 runs in the fifth inning were the most by the Crimson Tide since scoring 10 runs in the fifth inning against Southeast Missouri State on March 12, 2004.

*Alabama's eight hits in the fifth inning were the most since a nine-hit, seventh inning against Canisius on Feb. 17, 2007.

*The Crimson Tide had 18 singles in the win over UAB. The last time UA had that many singles was against LSU on April 16, 2006 in Baton Rouge. The school record for singles in a game is 20 set against Virginia at the 1996 NCAA South I Regional in Tuscaloosa.

*Sophomore Tyler Odle (Vestavia Hills) recorded his first collegiate hit during Alabama's 10-run, fifth inning on Wednesday.


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