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New Orleans picks up 8-5 win over Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Something had to give on a windy Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, and it was the visiting University of New Orleans that finally had something to smile about.

The Privateers got a strong start from senior Stephen Whalen, and UNO used a pair of three-run innings to take an 8-5 win at Alabama.

Josh Vander Hey went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, and Johnny Giavotella added two hits and an RBI to help UNO (9-7) snap a five-game losing streak.

Whalen (2-2) tossed six innings and gave up just four hits and one earned run. The effort came three days after the right-hander did not get out of the second inning during a 19-13 loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.

“The numbers may not show it, but Stephen’s been getting better and better,” said UNO head coach Tom Walter. “His velocity is getting better, and we made a few mechanical adjustments, and he’s throwing his breaking ball better. He deserved a strong outing tonight, and that’s exactly what he gave us.”

Mike Sharp went 2-for-3 with an RBI for Alabama (9-9). The Crimson Tide lost their fourth straight game and also saw a five-game win streak at home snapped.

Former Mandeville High School standout Casey Kebodeaux (2-2) got the loss, and Ryan O’Shea, his former teammate, picked up his third save of the year.

The Privateers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning thanks to an RBI double by Jeff Lanning and a two-run double by Mark McGonigle.

The Tide got single runs in the second and fourth innings to cut the margin to 3-2, but UNO got another three-spot in the fifth.

Giavotella got the scoring started with an RBI double to right, and Vander Hey got the second run in on an RBI groundout. Giavotella later scored on a balk to make it 6-2.

The Privateers managed a two-out rally to plate two more runs in the eighth to make it 8-2 before Alabama came back with a two-out rally of its own to cut the deficit to 8-5.

But O’Shea retired the Tide in order in the ninth to help UNO pick up its first win since an 11-5 win at Middle Tennessee on March 9.

The two teams will wrap up the two-game series at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

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