Bama-BSC notebook

For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, the No. 29 Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team travels to Birmingham to face the Birmingham Southern Panthers at Scrushy-Striplin Filed on the BSC campus. The game is set for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 17 and marks the first of four road games for the Crimson Tide this week.

It is believed that this is the first-ever game between the two schools on the BSC campus. The Crimson Tide and Panthers played each other at Rickwood Field in 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980.

After the BSC game, the Crimson Tide will travel to Athens, Ga., to open Southeastern Conference play this weekend against the No. 35 Georgia Bulldogs.

Alabama brings a four-game winning streak into tonight's game with Birmingham Southern after dominating the SE Missouri Indians this weekend in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide outscored SEMO 32-1 in the three games and did not allow a run in the final 20 innings of the series. Alabama posted a 20-0 win over SEMO in the series finale, giving the Crimson Tide its first back-to-back shutouts since the 1990 season. The winning streak also includes a solid 9-3 win over No. 18 Southern Miss last Wednesday night in Tuscaloosa.

Freshman left-hander Brandon Belcher (Ruston, La.) was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week by the league office on Monday. Belcher posted two wins last week and did not allowed a run in 13 1/3 innings on the mound.

This Week's Bama Schedule

Wed, Mar. 17 Alabama at B'ham Southern 6:30 PM CTSN, WRTR-FM (105.5)
Fri, Mar. 19 Alabama at Georgia 7:06 PM (ET) CTSN, WRTR-FM (105.5), CSS
Sat, Mar. 20 Alabama at Georgia 4 PM (ET) CTSN, WRTR-FM (105.5)
Sun, Mar. 21 Alabama at Georiga 1:06 PM (ET) CTSN, WRTR-FM (105.5), CSS

On the Mound

UA - RHP Andrew Walker (3 GS, 0-0, 4.66 ERA) vs.
BSC - LHP Wes Letson (5 GS, 2-1, 5.25 ERA)

The Records

Alabama (14-4) has won four straight games and 11 of its last 13 games this season. UA swept SEMO this weekend in Tuscaloosa, winning 10-1, 2-0 and 20-0. Birmingham Southern (11-5) has won 11 straight games after opening the season with a five-game losing streak.

The Coaches

Alabama's Jim Wells is in his 10th season with the Crimson Tide program. He has compiled a 423-180 (.701) record at the helm of the Crimson Tide. Overall, Wells is 615-269 (.696) in 15 seasons at Northwestern State and Alabama. Wells is 3-0 (1.000) in his career against the Panthers.

Birmingham Southern head coach Brian Shoop has compiled a 586-254-1 (.697) record in 15 seasons on the BSC campus. This is the Panthers third year at the Division I level after many successful years as an NAIA participant, which included the 2001 NAIA national championship. The Panthers were 55-11 during that national title season.

Next Game

Alabama opens SEC play this weekend as they meet the Georgia Bulldogs on Friday, Mar. 19 at 7:06 p.m. (ET). The game will be televised by CSS Sports.

Birmingham Southern Series

Alabama holds a 25-14 (.641) lead over Birmingham Southern in a series that dates back to the 1925 season.
  • UA and BSC met on a consistent basis from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s before the series was halted after the Crimson Tide's win in 1981.
  • The series was resumed in 1996 and Alabama has won all three meetings under Jim Wells.
  • The two teams were schedueld to play last season in Tuscaloosa, but the game was rained out. It was rescheduled for later in the season at the Joe, but that game was also rained out.
  • BSC third baseman Connor Robertson is a native of Tuscaloosa and graduate of Central High School.
  • Robertson is 0-for-8 (.000) in his career against Alabama and had his career-long 32-game hitting streak snapped in last year's 4-2 loss to Bama.
  • BSC junior LHP Scott Johnson and Alabama RHP Eric Mennen were all high school teammates at Austin HS in Decatur.
  • Alabama LHP Ryan Beagle and BSC infielder Jared Walker were junior college teammates at Shelton State CC during the 2001 season.
  • Alabama pitcher/outfielder Morrow Thomley and BSC right-hander Michael Repole both played in the National Junior College World Series last year while playing for Bevill State CC.

Scouting Report: BSC Panthers

The Birmingham Southern Panthers bring an 11-5 record into Wednesday's game with Alabama, which includes an 11-game winning streak.
  • After opening the year with five straight losses, the Panthers have won their last 11 games. The five losses to open the season came on the road against Ole Miss (3), UAB (1) and Georgia.
  • BSC is 1-4 (.200) against SEC teams this season, beating Georgia 7-6 in Athens on Feb. 29 for its first win of the season.
  • As a team, the Panthers are hitting .294 (156-for-530) with 12 home runs and 107 RBI.
  • BSC is averaging 7.1 runs and 9.8 hits per game.
  • Those numbers have improved in the last 11 games as the Panthers are averaging 8.9 runs and 11 hits per game during their 11-game winning streak.
  • Tuscaloosa native Connor Robertson is the leading hitter for BSC for the third straight year. In 16 games, Robertson is batting .393 (24-for-61) with five home runs and 23 RBI. He leads the team in nine offensive categories.
  • Senior outfielder Matt Bouge (13 G, .386, 0 HR, 7 RBI), senior shortstop Michael Wynder (16 G, .350, 0 HR, 14 RBI) and senior outfielder Michael Cline (14 G, .340, HR, 10 RBI) are all hitting .340 or higher this season.
  • The Panthers pitching staff has compiled an 11-5 record and 3.37 ERA (136.1 IP, 121 H, 65 R, 51 ER, 57 BB, 119 K) this season.
  • Coach Brian Shoop is expected to send the ace of the staff senior LHP Wes Letson (24 IP, 23 H, 15 R, 14 ER, 8 BB, 23 K) to the hill against Alabama. The Hartselle native is 2-1 with a 5.25 ERA in five games this season.
  • In addition to his hitting prowess, Robertson (6 G, 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K) has also been effective on the mound for BSC this season, posting two wins and one save in six appearances.

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