By: Jake Reichert
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The weather was hot, but the bats were hotter in game three of the Alabama versus UIC series. Illinois-Chicago kept with the Crimson Tide throughout the game, but didn’t have enough in the tank to hand Alabama their first loss of the season.
Colby Shelton has proved himself as a stud on the Alabama roster. In the bottom of the second inning, Shelton gave the Tide the lead with a grand slam. He has hit grand slams in now back-to-back games. This series he has recorded five home runs, two of them being grand slams.
Shelton discussed his success at the plate after the game.
“I just try to go up there every at bat with the same mindset. I try to do anything I can do to help the team,” said Shelton.
Shelton’s grand slam made program history on Sunday afternoon. It is the first time in history that Alabama has hit four grand slams in four consecutive games.
The second inning is what gave the Tide the advantage in this game. With the Shelton grand slam and a solo shot from first base slugger Drew Williamson, it looked like Alabama was on its way to another seven inning mercy rule win.
The Flames kept their hopes alive with an impressive fourth inning that had five total hits that brought across four runs to bring the score back to 7-6.
It did not take long for the Crimson Tide to extend their lead in the bottom half of the fourth. With back to back RBI singles from senior fielding star Jim Jarvis and left fielder William Hamiter, Alabama was able to hold a comfortable three run lead.
The Flames brought the pressure back in the beginning of the 8th inning by pushing a run across to make it a two run game. Relief pitcher Braylon Myers was able to shut down the Flames before they could tighten the game up.
UIC’s bats were not to be forgotten in this game’s offensive battle as they pushed across seven runs on 15 hits. They had Alabama fans worried they might see their team drop their first game of the season.
The bullpen for Alabama performed at a high level after starting pitcher Jacob McNairy was pulled after 3.2 innings. The five relievers gave up a combined seven hits, but only allowed one run to score.
Alabama will head on the road for the first time this season to face Samford on March 7.
Coach Brad Bohannon talked about going on the road for the first time this season and what the team’s approach will look like.
“Our approach better not change at all. I really believe in going on the road a couple times before going into league play,” said Bohannon.
They look to continue their winning streak as they edge closer to SEC play which begins in the middle of the month.