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March 19, 2013

BASEBALL: Crimson Tide bats stay hot

BIRMINGHAM | The University of Alabama bats stayed hot as the Crimson Tide scored five runs in the first inning and eight runs in the third en route to a 15-7 victory over Samford on Tuesday night.

With 14 hits, Alabama recorded its fourth straight 10-hit game. Eight players had at least one hit and four players had multiple hits.

"Offensively, we've been in a pretty good flow over the last four games," Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. "They helped us a little bit early and walked a couple guys, but I felt that we had pretty good offensive pressure in the front part of the game. Our guys are in a better place than we were in the front part of the season. We're getting guys out there that are getting hit by pitches and talking walks and were taking advantage of mistakes."

Leading the way offensively for the Crimson Tide (12-9) was Austen Smith, who was 3-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to four games. Smith hit his first home run of the season, had a double, a single, three RBIs and three runs scored.

Ben Moore was 2-for-3 with a double and a single to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Moore also walked three times, scored three runs and drove in two. Kyle Overstreet reached base in all five of his plate appearances, and finished the night 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI, a run scored and two walks. Brett Booth was 1-for-5 with a game-high four RBI and has now hit in a team season-high eight straight games.

Alabama starting pitcher Tucker Hawley (4-1) earned the win. Hawley threw three innings, allowing one earned run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Mike Oczypok made his second appearance of the season to close out the game on the mound for Alabama. Oczypok threw two scoreless and hitless innings, with a strikeout and a hit batter.

Samford starting pitcher Patrick McGavin (0-3) took the loss after allowing five runs in the first inning, which was the only inning he threw in the game.

"Hawley had a pretty good start," Gaspard said. "Samford has a good-hitting team and they are a good fastball hitting team. We threw some guys that haven't pitched a lot. Haack had a rough first inning, but settled down and threw well against the meat of their lineup in his second inning. Overall we were pleased with our pitching, but we would like to see them hold them down. We've played some really close games against these guys and it was nice to stretch one out and relax a little bit."

Alabama hosts Jacksonville State at 6:05 p.m. tonight.

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