Matt Malkin woke up UAB pitcher Ryan Ruggles with a long fly ball that sailed afoul of the left field pole on the first pitch of his at bat in the second inning.
He woke the rest of the stadium up three pitches later, when he launched a no-doubt home run off the scoreboard in left field. That shot scored three runs to give Alabama a 3-2 lead.
“My dad always says ‘Make something memorable each game,'” Malkin said. “Like, either rip one really far foul or put it over the scoreboard or something like that. I’m glad I did both today.”
“You didn’t quite get it over the scoreboard…” coach Brad Bohannon reminded him.
“I know,” Malkin said. “I hit the scoreboard. That’s what I meant to say.”
Neither Malkin nor the rest of the roster was done. Alabama kept pushing that lead and finished Tuesday night with a 12-3 win over the Blazers. The Crimson Tide (21-13, 5-7 SEC) got some payback from a 6-4 loss at UAB (14-17, 6-6 CUSA) on March 20. That game started a three-game losing streak in midweek games, which Alabama snapped with the win.
Malkin finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk and six RBIs to go along with his home run. Malkin’s second double, which came in the fifth inning, went down the right field line. He reached second base standing up and might have had a chance to stretch it into a triple.
“I know my speed pretty well,” he said. “I just wanted to keep the day on a positive and not get thrown out at third. I knew Jett (Manning) was going to come up behind me and get me in.”
After Malkin’s homer in the second, Alabama added six runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to secure the win. Alabama’s 12 runs are the most since scoring 14 against Alabama A&M on March 14. Third baseman Cobie Vance went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBIs. Shortstop Jett Manning was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
Bohannon used six pitchers. Starter Sam Gardner threw four innings, allowing three earned runs. Each of the five pitchers that followed threw one inning. Senior Tyler Adams, who pitched a clean fifth inning, picked up the win.
“Offensively we really weren’t sharp early, but once Matt hit the home run we got on a roll, which was really good for us,” Bohannon said. “We’ve won three of our last four and have a big, exciting weekend coming up at Texas A&M. It’ll be a great challenge for us.”
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.