Bama bats break out

TUSCALOOSA -- The University of Alabama baseball team scored in each of the first four innings and posted a 13-3 win over the Southeastern Louisiana Lions in front of a paid crowd of 4,378 fans at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on a chilly Friday night.

The Crimson Tide scored a season high 13 runs en route to its fourth consecutive win. Alabama also added 10 hits in the win and has 48 hits in its last four games. Bama managed only 34 hits in its first four games of the 2004 season. The top three hitters in the UA lineup -- Matt Grooms, Allen Rice and Carlos Sosa -- combined for eight of the 10 hits against six Lions pitchers.

Grooms, a junior from Montgomery, snapped a season-long 0-for-14 slump at the plate with three hits and two RBI in Friday's win. Grooms first hit of the season was a stand-up, two-run triple to center field to highlight a three-run second inning for the Crimson Tide.

Rice, a junior from Pelham, added three more hits and one RBI to extend his hitting streak to eight straight games. Rice singled in each of his first three at-bats for Alabama and scored two runs in the game.

Sosa, a senior from Vera Cruz, Mexico, added two hits and two RBI, collecting RBI singles in the first and fourth innings.

Junior left-hander and preseason All-American Brent Carter (3-0) won for the third time this season with eight innings on the mound. The Americus, Ga., native allowed three runs and six hits in his longest outing of the season, with no walks and five strikeouts.

Junior right-hander Eric Mennen pitched a scoreless ninth inning in his season debut on the mound.

Alabama (6-2) scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI single by senior designated hitter Carlos Sosa and sacrifice fly junior first baseman Zac Welch. Welch's sac fly ended his streak of nine consecutive times on base over the last two games.

SE Louisiana (3-1) cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the second inning when Colby Tyler ripped a double off the right-center field wall and scored on Randy Roth's one-out single.

The Crimson Tide answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 5-1 game. The inning was highlighted by junior center fielder Matt Grooms' two-run, stand up triple to center field. The triple was the first hit of the season for Grooms, after going hitless in his first 14 at-bats. Rice capped the scoring with an RBI single to right, scoring Grooms from third base.

Alabama added an unearned run in the bottom of the third inning to take a 6-1 lead. Freshman right fielder Michael McCallister reached on an error by shortstop Jason Waguespack. Senior catcher Nick Richardson followed with a double down the left field line to score McCallister from first base.

The Lions added another run in the fourth when Kyle Spencer doubled, moved to second on an Anthony Girabaldi single and scored on Trent Hebert's sac fly to center, cutting the deficit to 6-2.

Alabama answered with a single run in the bottom of the inning when Rice singled, stole second and scored on Sosa's second hit of the game.

Garibaldi homered off the top of the scoreboard in left field in the top of the seventh to make is 7-3 game.

The game got out of hand from there.

Alabama scored twice in the bottom of the inning and added four runs without the benefit of a hit in the eighth inning for the 10-run win.

The Lions made five errors in the loss and four of those mistakes came in the last two innings.

SE Louisiana starter Jeremy Mizell (0-1) took the loss and allowed five runs and four hits in just two innings on the mound. He added three strikeouts and walked one batter.

The Lions managed only seven hits in the game, including three by Girabaldi. Of the seven hits, SLU had three doubles and one home run.

The two teams play game two of this three-game series on Saturday at 4 p.m. UA freshman lefty Wade LeBlanc (1-1, 1.88 ERA) will pitch against SLU right-hander Rodney Story (0-0, 0.00 ERA).

Saturday is also Little League Day at the Joe and all little leaguers from Taylorville, Duncanville and Moundville will be admitted to the game for just one dollar.


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