This Is Not A Good Pace

When Alabama dropped a 1-0, 10-inning baseball game to South Carolina in Columbia last Sunday, it kept the Tide on pace. Not a good pace, though. Alabama has lost two of three games in each of Bama's six Southeastern Conference baseball series this year. And while Alabama has been very good in the SEC Baseball Tournament since Jim Wells took over as head coach of the Crimson Tide prior to the 1995 season, Bama must be considered in danger of not even making the tournament field this year.

The SEC Tournament will be held May 26-30 at the Hoover Met in suburban Birmingham. Alabama's record must be among the top eight in SEC play in order to make the field. Bama has four more SEC series this year–at LSU this weekend, home against Florida the weekend of May 7, at Kentucky the weekend of May 14, and home to Miussissippi State the weekend of May 21.

Alabama has only two more non-conference games this year, including hosting Mississippi Valley State at 6:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

In Wells' first season at Alabama in 1995, there was no SEC Tournament. The league played only divisional tournaments, and Bama won the Western Division championship in the tournament at Starkville, Mississippi.

Beginning in 1996 the 12-team SEC began playing a conference tournament. Alabama won that tournament. And the Crimson Tide also won it in 1997, 1999, 2002, and 2003.

That SEC Tournament success has led to invitations to the NCAA Tournament. If Bama fails to make the SEC Tournament field this year, Bama's chances of an NCAA invitation are practically nonexistent.

Here are this week's baseball notes, provided by Barry Allen of The University's media relations office:

Alabama enters the week with a 24-18 (.571) overall record, including a 6-12 (.333) mark in SEC play ... The Crimson Tide has now lost nine straight series dating back to last year ... The Crimson Tide's last series win was a three-game sweep of No. 15 Arkansas on April 25-27, 2003 ... The current streak of nine straight SEC series losses is the longest since the 1993-94 seasons when Bama also lost nine straight SEC series, including all eight SEC series in 1994 ... Alabama has also lost 10 straight SEC road series dating back to the 2002 season ... The 10 series losses have come against Georgia (2002), LSU (2002), Florida (2003), Auburn (2003), Ole Miss (2003), Tennessee (2003), Miss. State (2003), Georgia (2004), Arkansas (2004) and South Carolina (2004) ...

The Crimson Tide dropped two out of three this past weekend at No. 9 South Carolina, its third of five consecutive weekends against Top 25 teams ... Alabama travels to No. 7 LSU this weekend for a three-game series at Alex Box Stadium ... After winning three straight series in Baton Rouge from 1993-96, Alabama has lost its last three series in Baton Rouge, including a three-game sweep in 2002 that cost the Crimson Tide the SEC Championship ... The South Carolina game (April 25) marked Alabama's first extra inning game since May 6, 2002 at Georgia a span of 123 games, which was the fifth longest scoring streak in Bama annals ... The 1-0 loss marked the Crimson Tide's first shutout since dropping a 5-0 decision at Georgia on May 5, 2002, a span of 122 games ...

UA's 7-4 win on Saturday snapped a streak of six straight regular-season losses to the Gamecocks ... Junior CF Mark Haske gave Alabama a 7-4 win on Saturday with his ninth inning grand slam ... Prior to Saturday, Alabama's last series win during the regular season was a 10-6, 13-inning decision at Columbia in 2002 ... Alabama also won that game with a grand slam as Jeremy Brown's 13th inning home run gave the Tide a 10-5 lead ... Haske's grand slam was the first of the season by Alabama and the first in 366 calendar days for the Crimson Tide ... Beau Heaord hit the last grand slam on April 23, 2003 in a win over UAB in Tuscaloosa ... Haske's ninth inning home run was the first game-winning home run by Alabama since Jeremy Brown slugged a two-run home run to beat Austin Peay 12-10 on April 3, 2002 ... The grand slam was Haske's first career home run in 82 at-bats this season for the Tide ... The Crimson Tide has struggled on offense this season and has been shutout through six innings in 10 of its 42 games this season ... Bama has scored one run or less through six innings in 17 of its 42 games this season, including 11 of 18 SEC games ...

Junior LHP Taylor Tankersley continues to be impressive on the mound for Alabama ... Against USC, he worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed eight hits, two walks and struck out eight batters ... Tankerlsey has not allowed a run in his last 19 1/3 innings over his last three starts ... In his last 22 2/3 innings on the mound, Tankersley has 27 strikeouts for the Tide ... Freshman lefty Wade LeBlanc (8 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) logged his SEC-leading 5th complete game ea team-high seventh quality start (6 IP, 3 ER or less) on Friday ... Alabama is 3-2 in LeBlanc's five CGs this season ...

Junior LHP Brent Carter notched his team-leading sixth win of the season on Saturday, with three scoreless innings of relief ... Carter allowed one infield single and struck out three USC batters for his second win out of the pen in 10 days ... The Americus, Ga., native has made four straight relief appearances for Alabama after opening the year as the No. 1 starter ... Alabama did not issue a walk in its 7-4 win over South Carolina on April 24th, marking the fourth time this season UA has not allowed a walk ... Tankersley (1.45) and LeBlanc (1.88) rank first and second in the SEC in ERA this season ...

Alabama homered in a season-high four straight games from April 18-24 ... Bama has 30 home runs this year, including 18 solo home runs ... Eight of UA's 11 SEC home runs have come on the road ... A total of 15 players have accounted for the 30 home runs this season ... Alabama has really been hit by the injury bug this season as 11 players have combined to miss 156 games in 2004 ...

Alabama is the only SEC team without a triple in conference play ...

Alabama had 14-game non-conference winning streak snapped with its 10-5 loss to Samford on April 21st.


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