LeBlanc pitches Tide to win

TUSCALOOSA -- The left arm of freshman Wade LeBlanc was pretty much all the University of Alabama baseball team needed Saturday afternoon in a 6-1 win over Southeastern Louisiana in front of 5,007 fans at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The Lake Charles, La., native pitched seven-plus innings for his second consecutive win of the season. He no-hit the Lions for 5 1/3 innings and carried a shutout into the seventh inning leading the Crimson Tide to its fifth straight win.

"LeBlanc pitched very well today," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "We made a few plays behind him, but he was the key today."

LeBlanc (2-1) worked seven plus innings and allowed one run and four hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Senior right-hander Seth Johnson pitched the final two innings in a non-save situation for the Crimson Tide. Johnson retired all five batters he faced, including an inning-ending double play in the eighth inning.

Alabama (7-2) scored all the runs it would need in support of the left hander in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Crimson Tide loaded the bases without benefit of a hit as Evan Bush walked, Rocky Scelfo was hit by a pitch, and Gabe Scott walked.

SLU left-hander Rodney Story then got Nick Richardson on an infield pop up to first baseman Trent Hebert and then struck out Greg Paiml. But Story could not close the door.

Matt Grooms followed with a two-out single to right field to score Bush and Scelfo with the first two runs of the game. After Grooms stole second, Allen Rice followed with a two-run single to score Scott and Grooms to give Alabama a 4-0 lead.

The run support was more than enough for LeBlanc, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He retired the first nine batters he faced be walking Russell Taylor to lead off the fourth inning.

LeBlanc pitched around an error in the fifth and then got some nice glove work from Bush in left field, who made a diving catch on Jason Waguespack's long fly ball to open the sixth. Taylor then followed with a double to break up the no-hitter.

Alabama picked up an unearned run in the sixth to take a 5-0 lead. Richardson reached on an error by Hebert at first base and Paiml reached on a throwing error by third baseman Anthony Garibaldi, sending Richardson to third. Rice followed with a base hit to right field to extend the lead.

Rice had two hits and three RBI in the game for Alabama to extend his hitting streak to nine consecutive games.

SLU (3-2) broke up the shutout in the seventh when Colby Tyler led off with a double and scored on Hebert's single to left field.

Story (0-1) took the loss for the Lions, allowing five runs and four hits in six innings. He added five walks and struck out six.

The Crimson Tide capped the scoring in the bottom of the seventh off Mark Weinmunson. Scelfo doubled down the left field line and later scored on Richardson's sac fly to right. Scelfo's double extended his hitting streak to five straight games.

SLU managed only four hits and no player had more than one.

Alabama has now won all 28 non-conference home series under Wells and will look for its second straight sweep on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Junior right-hander Andrew Walker (0-0, 2.89 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Tide, while the Lions are expected to counter with Paul Garner (1-0, 1.80 ERA).


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