LeBlanc Shines In Bad Year

Last week was pretty much business as usual for the Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team. For the 11th straight Southeastern Conference series dating back to last year and eighth in a row this year, Bama lost two of three games to the opposition. But as poor as the season has gone, freshman left-handed pitcher Wade LeBlanc has been outstanding.

Alabama pitcher Wade LeBlanc, a 6-3, 180-pounder from Lake Charles, Louisiana, is once again a candidate for SEC Pitcher of the Week honors. In Friday's series-opener against nationally 10th-ranked Florida, LeBlanc tossed his league-leading seventh complete game of the season. He continues to make a push for both SEC and National "Freshman of the Year" honors.

 *LeBlanc tossed this third shutout of the 2004 season with a 2-0 win over the Gators in the series opener on May 7 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium

 *The lefty held the high-powered Florida offense to four singles in nine innings and did not allow on Gator to reach third base.  He added nine strikeouts and walked only one batter

 *Florida entered the game with the SEC' seccond highest batting average (.316) and was the league's second best run-producing team, with 372 runs and 331 RBI

 *LeBlanc's third complete-game shutout of the year leaves him one shy of the single-season record at Alabama held by Freddy Glass in 1967.  LeBlanc has recorded complete-game shutouts against Centenary, SE Missouri State and No. 10 Florida this year

 *He has also been involved in four of the Crimson Tide's six shutouts this season, leaving him one shutout shy of the single-season for most combined shutouts.  Bernie Strawn holds that record with five combined shutouts in 1974

 *LeBlanc nine strikeouts and walked only one in the win over the Gators and set the UA single-season freshman record for strikeouts in the process.  LeBlanc now has 85 strikeouts this season surpassing the previous record of 79 strikeouts set by Al Drumheller in 1991

 *Florida managed only seven base runners in the loss to Alabama and only two base runners reach base in the same inning only once.  That came in the fifth inning when the Gators missed out on their only chance to score off LeBlanc

 *Shortstop Justin Tordi opened the fifth inning with a push-bunt base hit on the infield and then No. 8 hitter and catcher Matt LaPorta drew a four-pitch walk

 *LeBlanc then settled down and retired the next three batters on infield pop ups to strand two runners on base and the Gators never threatened again

 *In fact, Florida had only one more base runner as Corsaletti led off the seventh inning with a single to right field.  LeBlanc then retired the last nine UF batters in order for the his seventh win of the year and second in a row against a Top 10 team.

*For the season, LeBlanc is now 7-4 with a 1.57 ERA in 14 appearances and 13 starts for the Tide.  He has worked 97 2/3 innings, also a UA freshman record, and allowed 70 hits, 28 runs, 17 earned runs, with 22 walks and 85 strikeouts.  He also logged his team-leading 10th quality start (6 IP, 3 ER or less) in the win over Florida  

*In his last three starts, all complete games, LeBlanc has allowed one earned run (0.35 ERA) and 16 hits in 26 innings against No. 9 South Carolina, No. 6 LSU and No. 10 Florida.  Those three teams are also the top three hitting teams in the SEC.


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