Tide takes LaTech, 6-3

TUSCALOOSA -- The No. 19 University of Alabama baseball team put together enough timely hits and got a strong relief effort from junior right-hander Seth Johnson en route to a 6-3 win over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Wednesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Senior right fielder Beau Hearod and senior center fielder Travis Garner had two hits each for the Crimson Tide, winners of five straight games and 10 of its last 11 dating back to Feb. 23. Senior Al Hecklinski added one hit and two RBI in the win.

Junior right-hander Seth Johnson (2-0) earned his second win of the season with five strong innings in relief of starter Jared Woodward, who last just three-plus innings.

Johnson allowed one earned run and two hits in five innings, while walking three and striking out a season-high eight batters.

"I am pleased to get the win," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "We got some timely hits and we got some good relief pitching, too."

Alabama scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Garner led off the inning with a single to left field and scored on Adam Pavkovich's team-leading 10th double over the head of left fielder Jeff Walker. The double extended the junior's hitting streak to a season-high 12 consecutive games.

Hearod followed with an infield hit that chased Pavkovich to third. Hecklinski then reached on an error by third baseman Kyle Spangler, scoring Pavkovich from third base. In addition to his 12-game hitting streak, Pavkovich has scored in 11 of his last 12 games.

The Crimson Tide added two more runs in the third inning to take a 4-0 lead. Grant Redding extended his hitting streak to seven straight games when he reached on an infield single. Redding later scored on Hecklinksi's two-out double into the right field corner.

Sophomore first baseman Zac Welch followed with a single to left field, scoring Hecklinski from second base. Welch's two-out single extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games and pushes his RBI streak to nine consecutive games. The RBI single was also his team-leading eighth, two-out RBI this season.

Louisiana Tech ace Adam Kirkendall (1-4) was charged with the loss, allowing four runs and seven his in four innings on the mound.

Kirkendall, who beat Alabama in Ruston in 2001, yielded as many runs and hits in four innings to Alabama has he did against No. 1 ranked Rice in 7 2/3 innings in his last start over the weekend.

Tech scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to cut the deficit to 4-2 after five innings.

In the fourth, the Bulldogs loaded the bases with no outs against Woodward, who allowed four hits and four walks in three-plus innings.

Ben Tabor singled to center to lead off the inning and moved to third on an infield single by Kyle Humphreys and a throwing error by UA third baseman Evan Bush. Woodward then walked Wade Robinson to load the bases.

Johnson replaced Woodward and walked Spangler on four pitches to force home Tabor with the first run of the game. Johnson then settled down and retired the next three batters, including two strikeouts, to end the scoring threat.

Louisiana Tech made a 4-2 game in the fifth inning when Farion Allen walked and scored on Humphreys' two-out double to left-center field.

The Crimson Tide scored two more runs in a bizarre sixth inning to extend its lead to 6-2. Evan Bush drew a leadoff walk to chase Mitch Tucker. Lefty Casey Adams was brought in to face left-hander Allen Rice, who was looking for the sacrifice bunt, but instead was hit by pitch to put runners at first and second.

Garner followed with his second hit and first RBI of the game when he slapped a single off the foot of Humphreys, who was charging from first base in anticipation of a bunt. The ball caromed off Humphreys foot and rolled into left field, scoring Bush from second and chasing Rice to third.

Redding capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Rice from third.

Tabor and Humphreys had two hits each to pace the Bulldogs' eight-hit attack.

Alabama opens SEC play this weekend as they host the Georgia Bulldogs in a three-game series beginning Friday night at 6:30 p.m. Tech steps out of conference play this weekend, hosting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.


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