Baseball BBQ set for Sunday

TUSCALOOSA -- The annual Alabama Grand Slammers preseason barbecue and baseball "Fan Day" will be held Sunday, Feb. 8 from Noon until 2 p.m. in the Scholarship Room at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The event is free to all 2004 Grand Slammer members. There is a $10 admission charge to for all non-members. However, fans are encouraged to join the Grand Slammers, and receive two free barbecue tickets with an individual membership and four free tickets for a family membership.

Alabama head coach Jim Wells, assistant coaches Todd Butler, Jim Gatewood and B.J. Green, along with the members of the 2004 Alabama baseball team will be introduced to the crowd and Coach Wells will address the group about the upcoming season.

"The Grand Slammers barbecue is also a highlight of the preseason," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "Our team really appreciates the hard work that the Grand Slammers do in preparation for this event. It is also exciting because it means the season is just around the corner."

The 2004 season opener is this Friday, Feb. 13 as the Crimson Tide hosts the New Orleans Privateers in a 6:30 p.m. game at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Coach Wells and the UA team will be available for pictures and autographs at the annual "Fan Day" Event. There will be free posters and numerous door prizes throughout the day. In addition, there will be silent auction for autographed merchandise and various gifts.

In celebration of Coach Wells' 10th anniversary with the Crimson Tide, a special video will be shown throughout the event with highlights from each of Wells previous nine seasons. The video is narrated and produced by David Crane, the play-by-play voice of Crimson Tide baseball.

In addition, the 30-man All-Jim Wells 10th Anniversary Team will be announced at the barbecue. Also, the top 10 vote getters in the four-week long process will also be revealed on Sunday.

Following the barbecue, the Alabama baseball team will hold a full intra-squad game at the Joe beginning at approximately 3 p.m. The team will also scrimmage on Monday and Tuesday of this week in preparation for its season opener on Friday night.

A veteran pitcher and a pair of newcomers shined on the mound for the University of Alabama baseball team in a couple of recent scrimmages at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Senior right-hander Seth Johnson (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K) tossed five shutout innings with eight strikeouts in his most impressive outing of the preseason camp to date.

Junior college transfer Andrew Walker (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) also tossed six shutout innings, allowing only two singles as he and Johnson combined for 11 shutout innings in a 14-3 win for the White team over the Red team on Wednesday afternoon.

"Johnson bounced back from a tough outing last time and really pitched well," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "He and Walker were the real highlights to me. Walker continues to pitch well and threw better than he did last week."

The White team pounded out 18 hits in Wednesday's win, led by junior second baseman Aaron Tennyson's three hits. Freshman center fielder Brandon Belcher had two hits, including his first home run of the preseason. Junior Allen Rice added two more hits and four stolen bases.

Sophomore Evan Bush homered and drove in three runs and freshman Greg Paiml also homered in the win.

"Rice is swinging the bat better," Wells added. "If we played tomorrow, we would probably run him out there at third base. Bush is doing fine, too. Rice gives us something that we really need in the infield."

Freshman Michael McCallister hit a two-run home run for the White team on Wednesday, who managed only five hits in the game.

In addition to his hitting performance on Wednesday, Belcher also continued to be impressive on the mound in Tuesday's scrimmage.

The Ruston, La., native worked six innings and allowed one unearned and three hits, helping the White team to a 7-6 win on Tuesday.

"Belcher swinging the bat better now," Wells said. "If he was not pitching, he'd probably be that third outfielder a lot. He is a tough kid and is going to be a good player for us. He will be a two-way guy for us. We are just trying to protect him (now) because of the pitching. He could be playing a lot more. I just don't want him to get his arm run down.

"Coming out of this week, we have Belcher, Johnson and Walker all pitching well. Belcher is in a position to be a Sunday starter, middle of the week starter or a guy out of the pen. He is good."

Junior Rocky Scelfo had two hits and two RBI for the White team on Tuesday, while junior first baseman Zac Welch added a two-run home run in the first inning.

Trailing 4-0, the Red team scored all six of its runs in the final five innings only to fall by a run when Scelfo doubled home the game winner in the bottom of the 12th inning.

Senior Carlos Sosa and sophomore Matt Downs led the Red squad with three hits each, while freshman Matt Bentley and junior Matt Grooms had two hits each.

Alabama will hold two more intra-squad games this Sunday, Feb. 8 and Monday, Feb. 9 at the Joe.

The Sunday game will begin at 3 p.m., following the annual GrandSlammers preseason barbecue at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The barbecue and "Fan Day" will be held from Noon until 2 p.m. in the Scholarship Room on the east side of the stadium. Admission if free to GrandSlammer members and $10 each for non-members.

The Monday intra-squad game will begin at approximately 2:30 p.m.

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