Tide sweeps SE Missouri

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama baseball team posted its highest run total of the 2004 season with a 20-0 win over the Southeast Missouri State Indians in front of a paid crowd of 4,439 fans at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The Crimson Tide (14-4) won its 12th straight home game with a 10-run, six-hit sixth inning, scoring the runs against three different SEMO pitchers.

The first eight batters reached base and scored in the inning off losing pitcher Mike Fitch (0-2). Senior Carlos Sosa, broke open a close game with a two-run double to give Alabama a 4-0 lead.

The hitting continued as Michael McCallister and Mark Haske followed with RBI singles off reliever Brad Smith, who allowed four runs without recording an out in the frame.

Emeel Salem added an RBI single, his second hit of the inning, to tie an Alabama single game record for hits in an inning. Rocky Scelfo added a sac fly and Sosa recorded his second double of the inning to score another run as UA built an 11-0 lead.

Alabama also benefited from three hit batters and three balks in the inning.

Sosa, who also matched an Alabama record with two doubles in the inning, went 2-for-4 with three RBI in the game.

Haske had his most productive day for the Crimson Tide going 3-for-6 with three RBI in his third straight start at second base. Salem, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, also had his best game for the Tide.

Alabama starter Brandon Belcher capped an impressive weekend on the mound by Crimson Tide pitchers. Belcher (2-1), who won for the second time this week, tossed seven scoreless innings and allowed five hits and struck out eight batters.

In the three-game weekend series, Alabama's starting pitchers worked 23 innings and allowed no run and 11 hits, with four walks and 25 strikeouts.

Taylor Tankersley pitched two perfect innings, with five strikeouts, to complete the shutout for Alabama.

Alabama shutout SEMO in the last two games of the series, marking the first time since 1991 that the Crimson Tide has tossed back-to-back shutouts. In 1991, Tommy Milstead and Mark Roberts pitched back-to-back shutouts in win over Ole Miss in Oxford.

The onslaught continued as Bama added four runs in the sixth inning as freshman Greg Paiml capped the inning with a two-run triple.

Haske and David Ferazza added back-to-back singles in the two-run seventh inning as the Crimson Tide took a 17-0 lead.

Evan Bush capped the scoring with a three-run home run in the eighth inning to make the final 20-0. Bush has a team-leading four home runs this season and 10 RBI. In six career games against SEMO, Bush has collected 10 RBI against the Indians.

Alabama took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on a two-out walk by Michael McCallister and an RBI double into the left field corner by Mark Haske. Nick Richardson followed with a single to center but Haske was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Frankie Montiel.

McCallister was 2-for-2 with three runs scored in the win. He has reached base seven consecutive plate appearances and was responsible for the winning run in all three games with SEMO. The freshman is riding a four-game hitting streak and is 9-for-19 in his last six games to lead the UA offense.

SEMO (4-8) appeared to have loaded the bases in the top of the fifth inning, but two base running blunders ended the threat with a bizarre double play.

Bryan Kurt reached on a lead off single and moved to second on a one-out single up the middle by Keith Wollis. Brady Noll then reached on an error by second baseman Mark Haske, but the Indians ran themselves out the inning with two base running mistakes.

Kurt rounded third base too far and Haske fired to third baseman Allen Rice, who applied the tag for the second out between home and third base. Wollis tried to advance to third on the play, but Rice fired the ball to pitcher Brandon Belcher, who was covering the bag for the double play.

The Indians have lost three straight games and fell to 0-8 on the road this year.

Alabama has won 30 consecutive non-conference home series, including 18 sweeps in the Jim Wells era.

The Crimson Tide will play four games on the road next week, beginning with a 6:30 p.m. game Wednesday, March 17 at Birmingham Southern. Alabama opens SEC play next weekend at Georgia, beginning with a 7 p.m. (ET) game on Friday.

Game 3 Notes

  • Freshman lefty Brandon Belcher made his second start of the season on the mound today for Alabama against SEMO. Belcher's only other career start came on Sunday, Feb. 22 against Cincinnati.
  • Alabama went 30 1/3 innings without an error by second baseman Mark Haske with one out in the fifth inning.
  • Alabama's 10-run fifth inning marks the most runs scored in an inning this season. The previous high was nine runs in the sixth inning in the Crimson Tide's 10-1 win over SEMO in Friday's series opener.
  • Alabama outscored SEMO 32-1 in the three-game series this weekend.
  • Backup catcher David Ferazza collected his first career hit and RBI with a seventh inning single today.

Saturday's Game: Bama 2, SEMO 0

Saturday, March 13, 2004 -- Wade LeBlanc continued his early season success on Saturday afternoon, tossing his third shutout of the season and second in a row, pitching the University of Alabama to a 2-0 win over Southeast Missouri State in front of a paid crowd of 4,614 fans at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

LeBlanc (4-1) blanked the Indians on just five hits en route to his third complete-game of the 2004 season. The freshman lefty added 10 strikeouts and walked only two SEMO batters.

"LeBlanc is very good," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "He wanted to stay out there and he really battles. He was very good today."

The Lake Charles, La., native threw 97 (76.4 percent) of his 127 pitches on Saturday afternoon for strikes.

SEMO (4-7) had only two chances to score against LeBlanc, who extended his scoreless innings streak to 19 consecutive innings without a run. In his last 32 innings, he has allowed just one run as he lowered his season earned run average to 0.92 following Saturday dominating performance.

Frankie Montiel doubled to right center with one out in the fourth inning, but LeBlanc struck out Freddie Lopez and Aaron Fangman to end the inning.

In the fifth inning, the Indians loaded the bases with two outs but also failed to score as LeBlanc got Ernie Bracamonte to line out to Michael McCallister in right field to end the inning.

The fifth was LeBlanc's toughest inning as he threw 28 pitches, including 12 pitches to Eric Horstman, who fouled off six, two-strike pitches before working a two-out walk to load the bases.

McCallister provided the offense for the Crimson Tide, collecting a career-high three hits and scoring one run as Alabama won its 11th straight home game.

Alabama (13-4) broke a scoreless tie with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning off starter Anthony Maupin, who pitched the last two years at Alabama Southern Junior College.

McCallister opened the inning with a single to left field, his second hit of the game and then stole second base. With two outs, Rocky Scelfo delivered a two-out single up the middle to plate McCallister with the first run of the game.

It turned out to be the only run LeBlanc would need as he disposed of 12 of the final 14 batters he faced in the game.

The Crimson Tide doubled its lead with an all-important insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Ryan Beagle drew a one-out walk and moved to third when McCallister ripped a double into the right-center field gap. Brandon Belcher followed with a ground out to second base, scoring Beagle from third to give the Tide a 2-0 lead.

With the win, Alabama has now won all 30 non-conference, home series in the Wells era.

Alabama recorded its third shutout of the 2004 season and LeBlanc has been involved in all three, beating Cincinnati (12-0), Centenary (12-0) and SE Missouri State (2-0).

McCallister had three of UA's six hits in the game, while Scelfo, Belcher and Carlos Sosa added the remaining three hits for the Tide.

Montiel has two of SEMO's five hits in the loss.

Game 2 Notes

  • LeBlanc has been involved in all three shutouts this season. The freshman beat Cincinnati (12-0) on Feb. 21, Centenary (12-0) on March 6 and SE Missouri (2-0) this afternoon.
  • The Alabama single-season record for shutouts is four by Freddy Glass in 1967. LeBlanc is one shy of tying that record in his first five starts for the Crimson Tide.
  • The three shutouts this season are the most by Alabama since 2002 when the Tide posted three shutouts en route to a 51-15 overall record.
  • Senior Ryan Beagle made his first start of the season for the Crimson Tide, playing left field in today's game at SE Missouri State.
  • Sophomore Evan Bush made his first start of the season today at third base. Bush has started 15 of the first 16 games for the Crimson Tide in left field.
  • Bush was hitless in four at-bats on Saturday to see his seven-game hitting streak snapped.
  • Junior Allen Rice did not start today's game against SE Missouri State, marking the first time since May 1, 2002 vs. UAB that the Helena, Ala., native has not started a game. Rice streak ended today at 98 consecutive starts for the Crimson Tide.

BamaMag Top Stories