Belcher Delivers

After a heartbreaking loss Friday night Alabama was in search of a strong pitching performance to avoid dropping its first home series of the year, and Brandon Belcher delivered, limiting Arkansas to just seven hits in the Tide's 5-2 win Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

"That was a tough loss last night and to come back today was huge," Alabama Head Coach Jim Wells said. "We could have come out today in the best of spirits, but if we didn't have a good pitching performance we would have probably lost the game. Belcher pitched very strong and that's what we needed. That is what we talked about last night."

Alabama (35-17 overall, 15-11 SEC) remains knotted with LSU for first place atop the Southeastern Conference Western Division standings, as the Bengal Tigers beat Tennessee Saturday.

Belcher (5-0) worked eight and one third innings before running out of gas in the ninth when Jordan Davis entered the game to record the save. Belcher pitched four and one thing innings last week against Mississippi State after missing the two previous weeks with a torn oblique muscle.

"Last week I threw a little bit and I had no problems. I wasn't thinking eight (innings). I thought maybe seven, but I'll take it," Belcher said. "Coach Wells said it would help out a lot if I could eat up some innings today."

Belcher kept Arkansas batters off base for most of the day. Belcher got the Hogs out one-two-three in the second, third, fourth and eighth inning, and Arkansas (36-15 overall, 12-14 SEC) had just one baserunner in the first, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

Arkansas shortstop Scott Hode drove in both Arkansas runs, on a solo home run in the seventh inning and a one-out single in the ninth inning.

Rocky Scelfo made the most out of his senior day, blasting a two-out home run in the sixth inning to give the Tide a comfortble 4-0 lead. Alabama scored its first run of the day in the third inning when Cale Iorg lead off with a singe and went station-to-station on the infield single and sacrifice bunt that followed. Evan Bush's sacrifice fly to center field plated Iorg, and the Tide left two men on base in the frame.

Alabama had a chance to blow the game wide open in the third inning when Hog starter Shaun Seibert walked the first two batters of the inning. Devin Collins entered and hit the only batter he faced to load the bases with none out for Gabe Scott. But Scott grounded into a double play and Bush struck out to end the threat with just one run crossing the plate.

Scott batted twice with the bases loaded on Saturday but failed to drive in a run.

Morrow Thomley added an insurance run almost single handedly in the seventh inning when he singled and stole second and third to get himself into scoring position. Thomley tagged up on a Zac Welch fly out to center field and just beat Craig Gentry's throw to the plate.

Seibert (5-2) took the loss for the loss for Arkansas.

Wells said T.J. Large will start Sunday's 11 a.m. game. He said Large will be on a limited pitch-count.

"We're just trying to piecemeal it together," he said.


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