UAB’s lineup was supposed to be among the best in Conference USA given everything it returned from last season. Then it started the season by scoring three or fewer runs in four of its first five games, then following that streak by losing a game in which it scored four runs.

The hitting has gotten better for the Blazers lately, but it’s not quite up to what it could be as it hosts Alabama Tuesday night.

Designated hitter Thomas Johns is leading the team with a .333 batting average and six of his 13 hits going for extra bases: four doubles, a triple and a homer. The other two .300 hitters — catcher J Paul Fullerton (.309) and left fielder/first baseman Colton Schultz (.300) — tie for the team lead with three home runs.

Keep an eye on second baseman Chandler Simpson. UAB’s center fielder Jess Davis finished second in the nation last year in stolen bases, but Simpson has more than Davis does right now, eight to six.

This is the first start of the season for UAB’s projected starter Jonah Smith. His line on the season: 6 1/3 innings in six appearances, eight hits and four walks allowed for a WHIP of 1.894, seven runs allowed (six of them earned) for an 8.53 ERA and a .308 batting average allowed.

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