Bama baseball bashes Belmont

TUSCALOOSA -- The University of Alabama baseball took advantage of two big innings early in the game and cruised to an 18-4 win over the Belmont University Bruins on a rainy Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Alabama matched its season-high with 19 hits, including a season-high seven doubles and two triples in the win. The Crimson Tide did not hit a home run against Belmont, snapping its seven-game homer streak.

It was the first loss of the season for Belmont, who beat Vanderbilt 1-0 last Thursday in Nashville.

UA scored five runs and six hits in the bottom of the first inning off losing pitcher Dennis Gomez and then added six runs and seven hits in the fourth inning off relief pitcher Kevin Murphy to post its third double-digit win of the season.

Senior Grant Redding and junior Adam Pavkovich paced the Crimson Tide's season-high 19-hit attack with three hits each. Redding added three runs and three RBI, while Pavkovich chipped in two runs and two RBI for the Crimson Tide.

Pavkovich also extended his hitting streak to season-high nine games, the second-longest active streak by Alabama this year.

Senior Al Hecklinski and sophomore Allen Rice had two hits and two RBI apiece for Alabama. Senior Beau Hearod added three hits and two RBI.

Alabama (9-3) used all 16 position players in the win over Belmont Tuesday night, and 15 of those players reached base and scored one run.

The Crimson Tide started the scoring parade quickly in the first inning as three of the first four batters reached base and scored.

Travis Garner reached on an infield single and later scored on Al Hecklinski's double to left field. Beau Hearod singled to left, moved to third on Hecklinski's double and scored on Grant Redding's infield single. Charlie Lyons followed with an RBI double to right-center to score Hecklinski from second base. Evan Bush walked to load the base and Allen Rice followed with an infield single to first base, scoring Redding and Lyons to give UA a 5-0 lead.

Adam Pavkovich doubled and scored on Hecklinski's ground out in the second inning to extend the Tide's lead to 6-0. With the double, Pavkovich has hit safely in nine consecutive games the second-longest active streak on the UA team this season.

Belmont (5-1) pushed a run across the plate in the third inning when Ryan Pettit reached on an infield single and scored on Dan Soukup's two-out double.

Alabama increased its lead to 12-1 with a six-run, seven-hit fourth inning. Hearod had two doubles, one RBI and scored one run in the inning. The two doubles tied an Alabama for record for doubles in an inning.

In addition to Hearod, sophomore Zac Welch had an RBI single to extend his career-best hitting streak to 10 games, the longest by an Alabama player this year. Freshman centerfielder Brandon Avalos added a two-run double in the six-run frame.

Josh Brummett's solo home run made it a 12-2 game in the fifth. Belmont added two runs in the sixth inning as Stephen Sundstrom scored on a wild pitch and Mat Meade scored on Jason Warpool's two-out RBI single.

Junior right-hander Jared Woodward (1-0) earned his first win of the 2003 season, allowing four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings for Alabama. He added seven strikeouts and two walks.

Sophomore Eric Mennen worked the final 3 1/3 innings for Alabama, allowing three singles to earn the rulebook, three-inning save. Mennen added three strikeouts to give UA 10 strikeouts in the game for its fourth straight double-figure strikeout game for the first time since 1999.

Alabama added one run in the sixth inning, three in the seventh and two more in the eighth to claim the 14-run win.

The Crimson Tide continues its busy schedule with a 6:30 p.m. game Wednesday night against Birmingham Southern. Junior right-hander Seth Johnson (3 G, 1-0, 0.96 ERA) will make his second start of the season for Alabama.

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