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UNA Wins at The Joe for Only the Second Time in Program History

Alabama baseball fell behind quickly and took a 9-5 home loss to the Lions.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — This wasn't the way that the Alabama baseball team wanted to go into its weekend series with Binghamton. 

Riding a four-game winning steak, the Crimson Tide's performance Wednesday afternoon matched the weather: cold and uninspiring. With Alabama's pitchers spotting North Alabama an early five-run lead, the Lions were able to hold on for a rare victory at Sewell-Thomas Stadium 9-5.  

"They came in here and took it to us, totally outplayed us," Crimson Tide coach Brad Bohannon said. "It's really a bad loss for us.

"Really an all systems failure."

This was the 25th time the teams have met over the years, with the Crimson Tide holding a 22-2 edge, 20-1 at The Joe. 

Previously, the Lions' only win here was in 1985, 4-3. Overall, North Alabama improved to 7-44 all-time against SEC schools in baseball.

Freshman right-hander Ben Hess (0-1) struggled in his first collegiate appearance, giving up two runs on three doubles in the first inning. 

Senior right-hander Jacob McNairy didn't fare any better. Despite coming in with a 2-0 record and 0.69 ERA this season, he yielded four runs over two innings, including a three-run home run to junior second baseman Drew Hudson. 

Alabama (9-5) chipped away at the deficit, with junior left fielder Owen Diodati, junior shortstop Jim Jarvis and junior third baseman Zane Denton all hitting home runs, but without anyone on base.

Down 7-3, the Crimson Tide had the potential tying run batting with two outs in the sixth inning and the bases loaded for senior cleanup hitter Drew Williamson. However, after getting ahead 2-0 on the count he flew out to deep left-center against sophomore left-hander Jacob James (1-0).  

The out seemed to snuff out Alabama's comeback chances, especially after North Alabama quickly rallied in the top of the seventh. After loading the bases with no outs, senior catcher Luke Harper slapped a two-run double to left. 

It proved to be significant, as Alabama rallied for two runs in the ninth inning and had two on base before sophomore left-hander Steve Emener was able to record the final out for the Lions (5-5).

"Well, we did show some fight late which is always positive," Bohannon said. "Maybe we need to play the first inning like it's the ninth, or the fourth inning. That's something we've talked about with our kids."

Harper finished with four hits. He and Hudson both had three RBIs. 

Alabama stranded 13 runners on base. 

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Sophomore second baseman Caden Rose suffered an ankle injury on a hit-by-pitch in the sixth inning. He tried to continue playing on it, but was pulled after advancing to second base. 

Bohannan said he'll be X-rayed on Thursday. 

"Couldn't move very well."

Alabama left fielder Owen Diodati
Alabama pitcher Ben Hess
Alabama third baseball Zane Denton
Alabama shortstop Jim Jarvis