By: Jake Reichert
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Crimson Tide looked to win game two of the series against the UIC Flames on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. A brilliant performance on the mound from starting pitcher Ben Hess allowed Alabama to do just that.
Hess, put on a show for the rowdy, Tuscaloosa crowd. He threw for 5.2 innings only giving up one hit and no earned runs. Hess also sat down eight batters on strikeouts in his time on the mound.
Hess discussed his view on today’s start.
“Today I had some command issues early, but I got my fastball going a little bit later on and settled in just fine,” Hess said.
The bats for the Crimson Tide were quiet up until the 5th inning. Three runs and three hits gave Alabama the lead in the game after four and a half scoreless innings at The Joe.
Colby Shelton worked his magic once again. He recorded his third and fourth home run of the series. His grand slam in the bottom of the 6th gave Alabama a comfortable lead going into the final third of the game.
Today marked the second time in program history where Alabama has hit three grand slams in three consecutive games. Last time this was done was May in the 2000 season. Shelton was asked on his approach knowing he had a chance to do damage and make history.
“I just went up there and tried to have a good at bat. I wanted to see some good pitches and get a good swing on one,” Shelton said.
The bottom half of the lineup was able to string a few hits and a run together for the Tide to keep the bats rolling right before the monster slam by Shelton.
Pinch hitters came in for the Tide and took over the game to seal their win over the Flames. Something head coach Brad Bohannon praises is the quality of at bats through the entire lineup. Alabama was able to do that again today with productivity from all spots, one through nine.
Starting pitcher for the Flames, Brandon Bak, gave the Flames a fighting chance up until the 5th inning. Bak shut down the Tide until giving up two earned runs and five total hits.
The Flames will need another strong performance from their starter tomorrow as they look to avoid the sweep in game three of the series.