Carter shuts down North Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- On a night dominated by frigid temperatures and gusty winds, the University of Alabama pitching staff remained hot as freshman left-hander Brent Carter did not allow an earned run over seven innings as the Crimson Tide posted a 2-1 win over North Alabama Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The game begin with temperatures in the low 40s, but a gusty wind all night long kept the wind chill in the low 20s.

Carter, a native of Americus, Ga., shut down the Lions over seven innings as the Crimson Tide won its ninth straight game. Carter allowed one unearned run on five hits over seven innings. He walked one batter and struck out four in his first career start.

"Carter did very well," Alabama coach Jim Wells said. "He gave up five hits, one unearned run and his only mistake was a two-out walk. He did an outstanding job and made them swing the bats, which is what you have to do to win a close game."

Carter threw four innings and allowed two runs and five hits in his first appearance of the 2002 season last Friday night against Arkansas State. He added five strikeouts in the 11-3 win over Indians for his first career save.

"I really did not know what to expect with my first start or how nervous I would be," Carter said. "I wasn't too nervous. I was excited about the start and the main thing is I hit my spots.

"In a 2-1 game the pitcher must stay focused for every pitch of the ball game. Every pitch in this type of game counts."

Sophomore right-hander Jared Woodward struck out the side in the eighth inning and junior right-hander Brian Reed tossed a scoreless ninth for his SEC-leading third save.

Alabama (9-0) tied the school record for most consecutive victories over two seasons with its 13th straight win. The 1907 (9) and 1908 (4) teams also combined to win 13 consecutive games. The Crimson Tide won its final four games of the 2001 season and has won its first nine games this season.

The Crimson Tide did not get its first hit of the game until Peter Stonard's two-out base hit in the third inning. Stonard's single up the middle started the Crimson Tide's two-run rally as UA took a 2-0 lead.

After Stonard's base hit, second baseman Brent Boyd drilled a double over the head of UNA centerfielder Adam Wheeler, scoring Stonard with the first run of the game. The double to center was Boyd's 50th career two-base hit.

Designated hitter Beau Hearod walked to put runners on the corners. Hearod was then put out attempting to steal second base, but Boyd was able to score from third before the tag was made for the final out.

UNA cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning when Nathan Bowden scored from third an error by shortstop Carlos Sosa on a failed stolen base attempt.

Bowden drilled a one-out double down the left field line and moved to third on a bloop single to right by Jeff Cochran. UA left-hander Brent Carter, making his first career start on the mound, picked off Cochran, but Sosa could not on the ball during the run down, allowing Cochran to scamper back to first. Bowden scored from third when Sosa muffed the throw from Spencer Pennington at first base.

UNA (6-5) used six different pitchers in the loss to Alabama, with K.C. West (0-3) taking the loss after allowing two runs in the third inning.

"That kind of disrupts you to a degree," Wells added. "Their pitchers did a very good job. Their game plan was very good and we did not mount any kind of offense at all."

The Crimson Tide will return to action this weekend as they travel to Minneapolis, Minn., for the 2002 Hormel Foods Classic. Alabama will open the three-day round-robin tournament on Friday, Mar. 1 at 12:15 p.m. against the Tennessee Volunteers.


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