Alabama/SLU baseball notes

The Alabama baseball team looks to build in its three-game winning streak Friday night as they host the Southeastern Louisiana Lions in the opener of a three-game series at 6:30 p.m.

The series continues on Saturday, Feb. 28 (4 p.m.) and Sunday, Feb. 29 (2 p.m.) as the Crimson Tide closes out the month of February.

Quick Notes

  • Both Alabama and SE Louisiana were rained out on Wednesday night.
  • The Crimson Tide's game with Centenary was rescheduled for Wednesday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m.
  • The Lions game with LSU in the Wally Pontiff Classic was rescheduled for Wednesday, April 14 in Zephyr Field in New Orleans.
  • Both teams are riding a three-game winning streak entering Friday's game.
  • The UA-SLU series also features two former assistants under former Hall of Fame LSU coach Skip Bertman. Bama's Jim Wells served as a graduate assistant under Bertman from 1987-89, while SLU head coach was at LSU under Bertman from 1991-2002.

Weekend Schedule

Friday, Feb. 27, SE Louisiana at Alabama 6:30 PM CTSM, WRTR-FM (105.5)
Saturday, Feb. 28, SE Louisiana at Alabama 4 PM WACT (1420 AM) Only
Sunday, Feb. 29, SE Louisiana at Alabama 2 PM WRTR (105.5 FM) Only

On the Mound

UA -Brent Carter (LH, 2 GS, 2-0, 2.25 ERA) vs.
SLU - Jeremy Mizell (RH, 1 GS, 0-0, 2.25 ERA)

The Records

Alabama (5-2) is riding a three-game winning streak after its 3-2 win over Cincinnati on Sunday. Alabama has played four, one-run games this season and six of the first seven games have been decided by three runs or less. SE Louisiana (3-0) opened the 2004 season with a sweep of Indiana.

The Coaches

Alabama's Jim Wells is in his 10th season with the Crimson Tide program. He has compiled a 414-178 (.699) record at the helm of the Crimson Tide. Overall, Wells is 606-266 (.695) in 15 seasons at Northwestern State and Alabama. Wells is 7-2 (.778) in his career against the Lions.

SE Louisiana head coach Dan Canevari has compiled a 21-35 (.400) record in his second year in Hammond. Canevari has never faced UA has a head coach.

The Series

Alabama leads the all-time series, 4-0. The Crimson Tide swept a three-game series from the Lions here at the Joe in 2002. The teams first met in 1980 with Alabama posting a 13-0 win over SE Louisiana.

Louisiana Lightning

Alabama has four Louisiana natives on its 2004 baseball roster, in cluding freshmen pitchers Wade LeBlanc and Brandon Belcher, junior second baseman Rocky Scelfo and junior outfielder Gabe Scott.

Who's on First?

The Alabama Crimson Tide opens the 2004 season with many new faces in the everyday lineup, but a lot of familiar faces on the mound.
  • In the projected opening day lineup against New Orleans, the Crimson Tide will have four starters returning from last year's SEC Tournament Championship team, but only two of those will be playing the same position.
  • Junior Zac Welch and sophomore Charlie Lyons return from last year's club as first base and catcher, respectively.
  • Junior Allen Rice and sophomore Evan Bush also return, but at different positions.
  • Rice played second base last year, but has moved to third base for the 2004 season. Rice was also the starting third baseman on the Crimson Tide's 2002 team as a freshman.
  • Bush played third base last year, but moved to left field just two weeks ago in an effort to insert his much improved bat into the lineup.
  • Senior Carlos Sosa, who played third base and shortstop as a junior in 2002, will be the everyday designated hitter. Sosa missed the 2003 season with a torn ACL.
  • Newcomers in the UA lineup this season, include Rocky Scelfo (2B), Mark Haske (SS), Matt Grooms (CF) and Michael McCallister (RF).

On the Mound

The Crimson Tide boasts one of the deepest and talented pitching staffs in school history.
  • The ace of the Alabama pitching staff is junior left-hander Brent Carter, a preseason All-America selection, who set three school sophomore records last year. In that record-setting season, Carter posted a 10-5 record with a 3.30 ERA and set sophomore records for wins (10), strikeouts (105) and innings pitched (122.2).
  • Alabama is also expected to open the 2004 season with two freshmen in the rotation, including Wade LeBlanc and Brandon Belcher.
  • LeBlanc was the national high school co-Pitcher of the Year last season, leading Barbe HS to a 32-6 record.
  • As a senior, LeBlanc posted a 16-1 record and 0.45 ERA. He added a school-record 189 strikeouts.
  • Belcher is another Louisiana native, who posted an 8-5 record with a 0.84 ERA as a senior. Belcher added 123 strikeouts in 69 innings on the mound.
  • The bullpen will consist of senior Seth Johnson, junior Andrew Walker, sophomore Matt Downs and junior Taylor Tankersley.
  • Tankersley and Downs could be a formidable left-right combination as the closer. Tankersley had six saves for Alabama as a freshman, while sharing the role with Brian Reed.

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