Blazers snap Tide's winning streak in extra inningsBy Brett Hudson | 04/10/2012 11:10pm
The UAB Blazers have proven to have the perfect blueprint to beating Alabama this season. After holding Alabama scoreless in a 12-inning game on March 27, the Blazers came to Tuscaloosa and beat the Crimson Tide 9-1.
Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said he thought his team came out flat for the game.
“They just outplayed us tonight in every area of the game,” Gaspard said.
Despite the lopsided score, the game was within striking distance for the Tide going into the top of the sixth inning. At that point, with the Tide down 2-1, Gaspard took starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull out of the game and the bullpen, allowing seven runs in the next two innings.
“When we went to the bullpen the game really blew up there,” Gaspard said. “They had a few big innings and the game got out of hand from there. It was too much to recover.”
Senior Jared Reaves added, “A defensive play here, a walk there and another hit and before you know it they have a two or three-spot on you. When that happens, it always seems to snowball on you.”
Gaspard said he was frustrated seeing the bullpen falter in key moments, especially as it has been a weak point for the Tide for a good portion of the season.
“We’ve found a little bit of a formula to work on the weekends, but we need more,” Gaspard said. “You need eight or 10 of those guys, not six or seven. It’s disappointing right now.
“Some of those guys are getting shots and you have to take advantage or else you’re not going to get those shots.”
It was another frustrating offensive performance for Alabama, as it compiled seven hits with only scoring one run.
“I thought we had some decent at-bats early in the game, and they made some plays,” Gaspard said. “We didn’t string a whole lot together. When you’re behind that much, the focus got lost a little bit. They defended well. We hit into a few double plays, and I thought they made some nice plays.”
Gaspard said that his team has to “wipe it away and go home.” Moving on is especially important for the Tide as it travels to Hammond, La., to take on the Southeastern Louisiana Lions today.
The Lions (22-11, 8-7 Southland Conference) won their last meeting against the Tide (13-20, 4-8 Southeastern Conference) with a 6-2 win in the South Alabama Classic.
Alabama starting pitcher Case Nixon will have to try and keep the bats of Brock Hebert and Cody Gougler tamed. Hebert is first on the team and third in the Southland Conference among consistent starters with a .403 batting average. Hebert has also stolen 28 bases on the season, the second-highest total in the nation. Gougler leads the team in RBIs with 28 so far.
Alabama does have an opportunity to win, however, in facing pitcher Sean Kennel. Kennel, a sophomore, will be starting his first collegiate game against the Tide. Kennel enters the game with a 7.38 ERA.