Bama Unchallenged by MVSU

Mississippi Valley State wasn't talented enough to challenge Alabama Wednesday night, but there were a couple of players challenging for an enhanced role in the second half of the Southeastern Conference schedule which begins this weekend against South Carolina.

"We got some good pitching from Trey Shields. It was the best he has thrown," Head Coach Jim Wells said. "We're trying to find that other arm on the weekends and maybe Shields can give that to us."

Shields (1-0) picked up his first career win in his first career start for the Crimson Tide, giving up just one hit in four innings. Shields struck out three and walked one.

The Tide scored in all but one inning and pounded out 19 hits en route to a 12-6 win at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The first three runs came on solo homers by Gabe Scott, Evan Bush, and Cale Iorg.

Gabe Scott and Evan Bush hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the first inning for the first two runs. It was Scott's eighth home run this season and extended his SEC-leading hitting streak to 26 games.

Iorg's home run, his second of the year, came in the bottom of the second inning to extend Alabama's lead to 3-0.

Spencer Pennington's RBI single in the bottom of the third extended give Alabama a comfortable 5-0 lead. Pennington finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBI, career highs for the Alabama junior. In his last two games, Pennington is 4-for-5 with five RBI.

Pennington got his third RBI in the bottom of the fifth after driving in Matt Bentley, who tripled in the previous at bat.

Wells said Pennington "did well" coming off a key hit in the Tide's ninth-inning comeback win over Florida on Sunday and earned a role as a key pinch-hitter.

Pennington worked in left field Wednesday night, but misjudged a hard hit fly ball in his first game at the position.

Scott continued his impressive hitting display in the bottom of the sixth when he singled to left field to score David Ferazza. Emeel Salem scored on the same play on a Delta Devil fielding error.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Ferazza hit a sacrifice fly to score Pennington. Matt Grooms made the score 10-3, hitting a pinch-hit RBI single to score Iorg.

Casey Kebodeaux, Matt Downs, Austin Hyatt, and Josh Copeland pitched in relief for the Tide, combining to allow the Delta Devils seven hits and six runs.

Denver Williams (1-5), a knuckle-balling left-hander, took the loss for Mississippi Valley State (18-21), giving up four hits and three runs in two innings pitched.

"I've never seen a left-handed knuckle ball guy. I'm glad we we alive long enough to see that," Wells said.

Zach Penprase had three hits for MVSU and Derrick Keeton hit a pinch-hit, three-run home run in the eighth inning of freshman Austin Hyatt.

Alabama looks to stay atop the SEC Western Division standings this weekend hosting the No. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks in a three-game series at the Joe.

All three games will be televised live, beginning with Friday's series opener at 6:36 p.m. on CSS-TV. The Saturday game will be at 3:06 p.m. and televised as the SEC Game of the Week on FSN South. The series finale is Sunday at 2:06 p.m. and will also be shown on CSS.


*Alabama matched its season-high with three home runs in the win over Mississippi Valley State. All three home runs came in the first two innings. The Crimson Tide has homered in 10 of its last 11 games and has 18 home runs in 11 games this month.

*Alabama senior left fielder Gabe Scott ,(2-for-2, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI) and junior third baseman Evan Bush (2-for-4, 2 R, HR, RBI) hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the first inning. Scott's home run was his eighth season, all since April 1. Bush hit his team-leading 11th home run in the game.

*The MVSU game marked just the second time this season Alabama has hit back-to-back home runs Bush and senior OF Morrow Thomley hit consecutive home runs in the fifth inning against Samford on March 2.

*Scott's solo home run came on the first pitch he saw from Denver Williams and extended his hitting streak to 26 consecutive games, the fourth-longest in UA history and the longest since G.W. Keller's 29-game hitting streak over two seasons in 1998 and 1999.

*Scott's 26-game hitting streak is the second-longest in the SEC this season. Ole Miss' Brian Pettway had a 27-game hitting streak earlier this year.

*Of Scott's last nine hits, seven have been extra base hits. He has four doubles and three home runs in the current streak.

*Freshman shortstop Cale Iorg (3-for-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI) led off the second inning with a solo home run, his second of the season.

*Senior DH Allen Rice (2-for-3) extended his hitting streak to nine straight games with a third-inning single.

*Junior Spencer Pennington (3-for-4, R, 3 RBI) earned his first start of the season in left field on Wednesday night and collected three hits and three RBI. The three hits and three RBI are both career highs. Pennington is 4-for-5 with five RBI in his last two games for Alabama.

*Redshirt freshman Matt Bentley (2-for-3) had two hits, including his first career triple, in the win over MVSU.

*Junior RHP Trey Shields made his first career start and notched his first win tonight against Miss. Valley State. Shields worked four scoreless innings in the predetermined start and allowed only one hit, one walk and struck out three batters.

*Alabama used a total of 20 players in the game Wednesday, including every available position player with the exception of catchers Kody Valverde and Charlie Lyons.

*The Crimson Tide used 16 position players in the win and every player reached base at least once with the exception of Thomley (0-for-1) and freshman C Chris Kirkland (0-for-2).

*Alabama had 19 hits in the win over MVSU, including at least one hit by 11 different players.

*Alabama is now 5-0 all-time against MVSU.

*Alabama head coach Jim Wells will be on the "Sonny and Wimp Show" on Thursday, April 21 at 9:20 a.m. The popular show airs on WJOX 690-AM in Birmingham. Wells will preview the Crimson Tide's upcoming series with No. 8 South Carolina.

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