Kubal's Double Lifts Tide Past UAB, 6-4
April 1, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
University of Alabama center fielder Alex Kubal's two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning gave the Crimson Tide a 6-4 win over the UAB Blazers Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Kubal ripped a 1-0 fastball of the glove of UAB third baseman Luke Stewart to score pinch-runner Kent Matthes and junior left fielder Tyler Odle to give the Tide its sixth straight win over the Blazers.
Kubal's game-winning hit atoned for his dropped fly ball that allowed UAB to tie the game with three unearned runs in the top of the fifth inning. The game remained tied at 4-4 until Kubal's two-out double in the eighth.
"I told (UA starting pitcher Miers) Quigley, I owed him one," Kubal said after the game. "With runners in scoring position and the game on the line, I was trying to hit the ball hard and drive in the runs."
UAB (9-16) had tied the game at 4-4 with three unearned runs off Quigley in the fifth inning. UAB second baseman Nick Crawford drew a leadoff walk and Bell reached when Kubal dropped a fly ball in center field. The first of two errors in the inning allowed Crawford to move to third base. First baseman Ryan Keedy, who had three hits to extend his hitting streak to 19 games, followed with a ground ball single to right field to score Crawford as UAB cut the lead to 4-2.
After a strikeout, Brint Hardy reached on a throwing error by third baseman Jeff Texada, allowing Bell to score from second base and Keedy to move to third. Austin Taylor's sacrifice fly to center field scored Keedy as UAB has knotted the score at 4-4.
From there Quigley retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced, giving his team a chance at a late-inning win. The left-hander worked eight innings and allowed four runs (one earned) and eight hits, with five strikeouts and three walks. Quigley (3-1) has won back-to-back starts for Alabama for the first time since beating Nebraska (March 9, 2007) and Tennessee (March 16, 2007) last season. In his last two starts, Quigley has allowed only one earned run in 17 innings and has recorded 13 strikeouts.
"Quigley pitched well again," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "We were sloppy on defense, but the pitching was good enough to win tonight."
Freshman right hander Nathan Kilcrease pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first collegiate save.
Benji Waite (0-1) took the loss for the Blazers as he allowed two runs and two hits in two innings of relief.
Alabama (16-12) had taken a 4-1 lead in the game, with a three-run third inning off UAB starter Dustin Colburn, a Tuscaloosa native and former Hillcrest and Shelton State pitcher.
The Crimson Tide loaded the bases with one out singles by Kubal and freshman shortstop Josh Rutledge, and junior catcher Alex Avila was hit by a pitch. Sophomore DH Brandon May popped to short for the second out, before senior first baseman Matt Bentley was hit by a pitch to bring in Kubal from third. Junior left fielder Ryan Rhoden drew a bases loaded walk to score Rutledge and Odle followed with a single to right to score Avila to give the Tide a 4-1 lead. The inning ended when Bentley was easily thrown out at home plate by right fielder Clint Hardy.
UAB scored one run on three hits in the top of the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Keedy led off the inning with a double down the right field line. Cody McMurry followed with a single to center, but Keedy overran the bag at third base and was thrown out by Kubal for the first out. Quigley appeared to be out of the inning without a run, before Stewart blooped a two-out single to right to score McMurry.
Alabama answered right back with a run in the bottom of the second inning when sophomore May drew a lead off and moved to second on Bentley's opposite field single to left. Rhoden grounded out on a slow bouncer to second base to move both runners into scoring position before Odle's sacrifice fly plated May with the Tide's first run to tie the game at 1-1.
Alabama and UAB will close out this two-game midweek series Wednesday, April 2, with a 6:30 p.m. (CST) game at Regions Park in Hoover. The Crimson Tide is on the road this weekend with a three-game series against LSU at Alex Box Stadium. The series opener is Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m.
*Alabama extended its winning streak over UAB to six games.
*Alabama has won seven of its last eight games since March 22.
*Freshman shortstop Josh Rutledge extended his hitting streak to five games with a second-inning single. Rutledge finished the night with two hits and has nine multi-hit games in his last 11 games.
*Alabama improves to 6-1 against in-state teams this season and has won its last six games against Troy, UNA, Samford, Jacksonville State (2) and UAB.