Survive and Advance

Not even a pair of weather delays totaling nearly two hours could keep the No. 16 University of Alabama from advancing to the New Orleans Regional championship game with a 4-3 win over No. 13 UL Lafayette in an elimination game Sunday afternoon at Turchin Stadium.

The Crimson Tide scored two runs in the fourth and fifth inning and held off a late surge by the Cajuns to stay alive in post-season play.

A trio of Alabama pitchers -- T.J. Large, Matt Downs and Jordan Davis -- limited the Cajuns to three runs and seven hits as the Crimson Tide advanced to the NCAA Regional championship round for the eighth time in nine post-season appearances under coach Jim Wells.

Alabama (40-22) notched his 12th, 40-win season in school history and seventh in 11 years under Wells. The Crimson Tide will now play No. 1 Tulane in the championship round.

Large allowed only one base hit in four scoreless innings before a one hour and 36 minute rain delay knocked him out of the game.

Junior right-hander Matt Downs, who faced two batters against No. 1 Tulane on Saturday, pitched a season-high four innings in his first extensive action for the Tide since April 20. Downs (2-0) allowed three runs and six hits in his first career post-season stint, with one walk and four strikeouts.

Junior right-hander Jordan Davis retired all three batters he faced for his third save of the season.

Alabama snapped a scoreless tie by scoring two runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead. Senior left fielder Gabe Scott lead off the frame and was hit by a pitch. After two outs, senior right fielder Morrow Thomley stepped to the plate and laced a two-run home run off the left field scoreboard to put the Tide in front.

It was Thomley's fifth home run of the season.

In the fourth, Gabe Scott was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and later scored on Morrow Thomley's two-out, two-run home run home run off the left field scoreboard to give the Tide the a 2-0 lead.

The Crimson Tide doubled its lead to 4-0 with two more runs in the fifth inning. Sophomore center fielder Emeel Salem led off with a bloop single to left and scored on senior DH Allen Rice's double off the center field wall.

Freshman shortstop Cale Iorg reached on a two-base throwing error by UL shortstop Micah Cockrell and Rice took third on the play. Bush then lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Rice from third with the four-run lead.

UL cut the lead in half in the sixth inning when Dallas Morris drilled a two-run home run to left center field off Downs. It was Morris' 12th home run of the season.

The Cajuns added another run in the ninth when Justin Morgan led off with his fourth home run of the year.

Downs left after the home run to Morris and Davis came on to retire the next three batters for the save.

Rice and Thomley had two hits apiece and accounted for four of the Tide's seven hits in the win.

Jonathan Lucroy and Morgan had two hits each for ULL.

GAME NOTES:

*Alabama and UL Lafayette are playing an elimination game at the 2005 New Orlenas Regional. UL finishes third in the NCAA New Orleans Regional. Southern (0-2) finished fourth with losses to Tulane and UL Lafayette.

*Alabama notched its 12th, 40-win season in school history with its 4-3 win over UL Lafayette on Sunday afternoon. The Crimson Tide's 40 win seasons have taken place in 1981, 1983, 1986, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2005.

*With its win over UL, Alabama has advanced to the championship round of an NCAA Regional for the eighth time in nine post-season appearances under Wells. Alabama played for the regional championship in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2005. UA has won regional titles in 1996, 1997 and 1999.

*Alabama did not trail in its win over UL, marking just the 15th this season the Crimson Tide did not trail in a game.

*The start of the Alabama-UL game was delayed 22 minutes by rain. There was a one hour and 36 minute lightning delay in the bottom of the fifth inning. Both delays totaled one hour and 58 minutes.

*Louisiana Lafayette (14) and Alabama (7) have 21 seniors on their post season baseball rosters. The 21 players make up 42 percent of the rosters for the Cajuns and Crimson Tide.

*UL (6) and Alabama (3) also have nine college graduates on their post-season rosters. Senior LF Gabe Scott (Lake Charles), senior 2B Rocky Scelfo (Youngsville) and senior LHP Brent Carter (Americus, Ga.) all graduated from the Capstone on May 7.

Scott graduated with honors from the UA Business School with a degree in finance. He was named to ESPN The Magazine's Second-Team Academic All-American Team this past week. UL graduates include Micah Cockrell, Justin Morgan, Austin Faught, Jered Salazar, Thad Montgomery and Kraig Schambough.

*Junior RHP T.J. Large added to his school record with his 22nd hit batter in the fourth inning. Large has hit at least one batter in 10 consecutive starts and 15 of his 17 starts this year.

*Large also made his 17th start of the season today against UL and is tied for sixth place on the school's single-season charts. Lance Cormier (2002), Manny Torres (1999), Heath Henderson (1997), Tommy Milstead (1991), Pete Roberts (1986) and Drew Blocker (1975) all started 17 games for the Tide.

*Alabama is 13-4 in Large's 17 starts this season.


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