Tide travels to South Alabama

The Alabama Crimson Tide hits the road again this Wednesday (Mar. 6), travelling to Mobile and Hank Aaron Stadium for an in-state, non-conference matchup with the South Alabama Jaguars. The first pitch is set for 6:05 p.m.

Recent events

Alabama (11-1) won the 2002 Hormel Foods Classic this past weekend in Minneapolis, Minn., posting a 2-1 record. The Crimson Tide defeated Tennessee 9-0 in the opener before losing its first game of the year on Saturday to the host Golden Gophers (5-2). On Sunday, Alabama rebounded with an 8-3 win over Florida Atlantic and coupled with Tennessee's win over Minnesota, claimed its first regular-season tournament championship since 1972.

Alabama posted a season-high 15 hits in wins over Tennessee and FAU, and finished the tournament with .361 (39x108) batting average. The Crimson Tide averaged 6.3 runs and 13 hits in the three-game tourney. Senior catcher Jeremy Brown, mired in a season-long slump, collected five hits in the final two games and led the Crimson Tide with a .500 (5x10) batting average.

The pitching staff also turned in another fine weekend, compiling a 2.42 ERA. The staff was anchored by Lance Cormier's (8 IP, 5 H, 11 K) career-high 11 strikeout performance in the opener against Tennessee. Jared Woodward (RHP) makes his second career start Wednesday against the Jags.

ALABAMA'S PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP:

  1. # 11 Travis Garner, RF .286, 1 HR, 4 RBI Season-high 4-gm hitting streak
  2. # 26 Allen Rice, 3B .182, 0 HR, 2 RBI Career high two hits vs. FAU (3/3)
  3. # 6 Brent Boyd, 2B .306, 1 HR, 13 RBI SEC Player of the Week (Mar. 4)
  4. # 5 Beau Hearod, DH .341, 2 HR, 11 RBI Three-game hitting streak
  5. # 14 Jeremy Brown, C .278, 1 HR, 9 RBI Five hits in last two games
  6. # 24 Scott McClanahan, CF .311, 1 HR, 11 RBI Leads SEC with two triples
  7. # 27 Grant Redding, LF .429, 0 HR, 2 RBI Career high four-game hitting strk
  8. # 12 Zac Welch, 1B .333, 1 HR, 2 RBI First career home run vs. FAU
  9. # 4 Adam Pavkovich, SS .154, 0 HR, 1 RBI Recorded first hit of year vs. Vols

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP:

Alabama: #38 Jared Woodward, RH 5 G, 0-0, 2.00 CG win vs. BSC in only other career start

Alabama State: #34 Clark Girardeau, RH 5 GS, 4-1, 2.58 Leads team in ERA, IP and Ks this year

BRENT BOYD NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Senior second baseman Brent Boyd has been named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week (March 4) as announced by the league office. It is the first time the senior has been honored as SEC Player of the Week in his four-year career. In addition, he is the first Alabama position player to win the award since Sam Bozanich was named SEC Player of the Week during the next to last regular season weekend in 2000. Current UA pitcher Lance Cormier was twice named SEC Pitcher of the Week during the 2001 season.

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Boyd batted .412 (7x17) in four games last week with six runs scored, one home run and five RBI. He collected one hit and one run in all four games. In addition, he added two doubles and posted a .786 slugging mark. He posted a .462 (6x13) average at the Hormel Foods Classic, with one home run and four RBI. Also added five runs, one double and compile a .769 slugging mark.

Boyd is currently riding season-high nine game hitting streak, also the longest by a UA player this year. Scott McClanahan opened the year with an eight-game hitting streak. During the streak, he is batting .378 (14x37) with nine RBI. In addition, he has scored at least one run in career-high seven straight games for Alabama, totaling 10 runs. Through 12 games this season, Boyd is batting .306 (15x49) with one home run and 13 RBI. He leads the team in runs scored (13), total hits (15), doubles (6), RBI (13) and game-winning RBI (5).

Bama Captures Hormel Foods Classic

Alabama posted a 2-1 (.667) record to capture the 2002 Hormel Foods Classic, played March 1-3 at the HHH Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. The Crimson Tide defeated Tennessee (9-0) and Florida Atlantic (8-3) and lost to Minnesota (5-2) in the three-game, round-robin event. The Crimson Tide and Volunteers had identical 2-1 records on the weekend, but UA won the championship trophy by virtue of its 9-0 win over UT in the opening round. The tournament championship is the first regular-season tourney title won by Alabama since claiming its own Joe Sewell Classic in 1972.
  • Alabama led the tournament in batting average (.361) and ERA (2.42) and was second in defense (.974). The Crimson Tide averaged 6.3 runs (19) and 13 hits (39) per game.
  • Alabama placed four players on the All-Tournament team, including catcher Jeremy Brown, pitcher Lance Cormier, center fielder Scott McClanahan and third baseman Carlos Sosa.
  • Alabama had seven of the tournament's top 15 hitters, including Brown (T2nd, .500), Sosa (T2nd, .500), Brent Boyd (5th, .462), Travis Garner (10th, .357), Beau Hearod (T11th, .333), McClanahan (T11th, .333) and Grant Redding (T11th, .333).
  • Cormier was second among pitchers with 11 strikeouts to Tennessee's Patrick Hicklen (12 Ks).
  • Boyd ranked first in runs scored (5), second in hits (6) and third in total bases (10).

ALABAMA-USA SERIES

The Crimson Tide holds a 46-44 (.511) lead over South Alabama in a series that dates back to 1967. The two teams have met every year since 1977 with the exception of 1990, 1992 and 1994. Alabama enters the 2002 season riding a six-game winning streak and has won 10 of the last 11 meetings, dating back to a 5-0 win in 1995. South Alabama's only win in the last 11 games was an 8-7 decision at Stanky Field in 1997. A win on Wednesday would give Bama a seven-game winning streak, the longest in the series by either team.

BAMA, FLORIDA SEC'S WINNINGEST TEAMS

Alabama (11-1) and Florida (11-2) are the SEC's two winningest teams heading into the second week of March. Alabama opened the year with a 1-game winning streak, while Florida won its first 11 games. LSU and Auburn are both 10-4 heading into Tuesday, March 5, while Ole Miss and South Carolina are both 9-2. USC opened the year with nine straight wins before losing a pair at Clemson this weekend.

PITCHING STAFF IMPRESSIVE

The Alabama pitching staff continues to post impressive numbers through the first 12 games of the 2002 season. Alabama leads the SEC with 11 wins and six saves, and ranks second in ERA (1.93), pickoffs (4) and fewest walks allowed (20). The Tide has also posted the third-lowest opponents batting average (.231) this season.
  • The Alabama starters are 11-1 this year and have compiled an impressive 1.87 ERA. The starters have worked 77 innings and allowed 65 hits, 16 earned runs, 13 walks and 64 strikeouts.
  • The Alabama bullpen has appeared in all 12 games and recorded six saves and a 2.10 ERA. The pen has logged 30 innings and allowed 28 hits, seven earned runs, seven walks and 34 strikeouts.
  • Lance Cormier has been the ace of the staff once again, compiling a 4-0 record and the SEC's fourth-best ERA (0.62) in four starts. The Lafayette, La., native has logged 29 innings and allowed 23 hits, two earned runs, three walks and 27 strikeouts.
  • Shane Sanders has won all three starts for UA (3-0) and compiled a 2.41 ERA this season as the No. 3 starter. The Cullman, Ala., native has worked 18.2 innings and allowed 17 hits, five earned runs, three walks and 12 strikeouts.
  • Junior closer Brian Reed is a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities and has appeared in seven games overall. In eight scoreless innings, he has allowed nine hits, one walk and fanned 10 batters.
  • Freshman left-hander Brent Carter added his name to the successful pitching list on Feb. 26 with seven strong innings against North Alabama (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, BB, 4 K). In two appearances this year, Carter is 1-0 with one save and a 1.64 ERA.
  • Through 12 games, Alabama has recorded six saves. The staff had only seven saves in 55 games last year.

TOSSING ZEROES

Alabama has recorded two shutouts in its first 12 games this season, most recently against Tennessee (9-0) in the first round of the Hormel Foods Classic on March 1 at the HHH Metrodome. The Crimson Tide's other shutout was a 4-0 win over La. Tech on opening night (Feb. 12), the first opening day shutout since 1994. Lance Cormier was the starting pitched in both shutouts this season, tossing seven scoreless innings against Tech and eight against Tennessee.

Cormier has now been involved in four of Alabama's last five shutouts, dating back to last season. He had two complete-game shutouts in 2000 (Oklahoma and Winthrop) and has been involved in both shutouts this year. The other shutout was a 17-0 win over Jacksonville State (May 1), a combined effort from BJ Green and Landon Brazell.


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