BIRMINGHAM – UAB took control early, then stopped a Crimson Tide comeback bid. Alabama baseball lost 6-4 on Tuesday night at Regions Field.

Alabama (16-5, 1-2 SEC) fell behind 4-1 in the bottom of the first after starter Sam Gardner gave up a three-run homer to UAB (8-10, 2-1 CUSA) designated hitter Brett Blackwood. The Crimson Tide kept pushing to get back into the game and cut it to 5-4 after the fourth inning, but couldn’t equal the score.

“It was wet, it was windy and it was a tough night to play,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “It was the fourth game in a row that we’ve given up a crooked number in the first inning, so we’ve obviously got to find a way to start differently. We’ve got to play better, and I just told the kids that – if we want to win, we have got to play better baseball.”

Alabama’s best chance to take control came in the top of the seventh, when it loaded the bases with no outs on two walks and a hit by pitch. The Blazers used a fielder’s choice and a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning and preserve a 5-4 lead.

Gardner stayed in the game after the rocky start and gutted out five innings, allowing five runs. He struck out five and allowed nine hits and two walks. Second baseman Cobie Vance led the offense, going 3-for-5. Right fielder Chandler Taylor was 2-for-5 and hit a two-run homer, his ninth of the season.

The loss is Alabama’s first to an in-state team this season and was its first midweek loss in 2018. Alabama’s continues SEC play with a three-game series at Tennessee this Friday before facing Auburn in a midweek game in Montgomery on Tuesday.