The University of West Alabama baseball team used a six run, sixth inning to knock off #2 Columbus State on Friday afternoon at Tartt Field. The win was the first season opening victory since the 2006 season, when UWA (1-0) defeated William Carey 5-4.
The Red and White scored its first run of the contest when Nick Wheeler was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Jeremy Finney. Wheeler became the fourth hit batsman in the inning, including Clint Moody, Finney and Rob Dahlberg, by CSU (0-1) reliever Jason Weaver.
With the bases still loaded, Tres Avans doubled to center field, scoring Wheeler, Dahlberg and Jake DeRoy. One Tiger batter later, Matt Busbee singled to left center, with two outs, to score Avans, making the score 5-1. Moody then returned to the plate and placed a shot back up the middle to score Busbee and conclude the scoring in the sixth inning.
The Red and White's final dent in the scoreboard came in the bottom of the seventh, as DeRoy hit the first homerun of the season for UWA, with a blast to left field.
Mike Schmitt received the win on the mound in his first appearance for the Tigers, throwing six full innings, allowing one run on four hits with five strikeouts. Clint Smith saw 2 1/3 innings of action on the hill with one hit allowed and two strikeouts, as Cole Thornton pitched the final 2/3 innings of the contest with a hit and two K's.
The nationally ranked Cougars only run of the afternoon came in the fourth inning off a homerun by Rodney Rutherford.
Weaver received the loss on the mound with 2/3 innings pitched, allowing six runs, all earned, on two hits. CSU starter Korey Noles threw five solid innings, allowing only one hit in the contest, while fanning five.
West Alabama returns to action on Saturday, February 2, as the Tigers host Columbus State in the second contest of the three-game series. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m. The game can be followed at athletics.uwa.edu.