T.J. Large appeared in 22 games in his Alabama baseball career and made 17 starts on the mound. He was 8-4 (.667) with a 3.41 ERA in his two-years on the Tide pitching staff. The right-hander worked 100 1/3 innings and allowed 74 hits, 52 runs and 38 earned runs runs, with 54 walks and 99 strikeouts.
As a junior (2005), he appeared in 18 games and made 17 starts. Large was 7-4 with a 3.46 ERA. He worked 96 1/3 innings and allowed 72 hits, 50 runs and 37 earned runs, with 50 walks and 92 strikeouts.
The 17th starts tied him for sixth place on the single-season charts at UA. Alabama was 13-4 (.765) in Large's 17 starts during the 2005 season. Large hit a school record 22 batters this season and uncorked 11 wild pitches. He hit at least one batter in 16 of 17 starts, including the last nine in a row.
In addition to Large, four other Crimson Tide signees have inked pro contracts and will not be joining the team this fall. Kyle Cofield (RHP, Southside), Shane Funk (RHP, Panama City, Fla.), Shaun Garceau (RHP, Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Jessie Litsch (RHP, South Florida CC) all signed and are currently playing in the minor leagues.
Cofield was an eighth-round selection by Atlanta and is playing for the Braves in the Gulf Coast League in Florida. Funk, a fourth-round pick, ecently signed with the Rangers and not yet been assigned to a club. Garceau, a 20th round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals, is playing for the Johnson City (Tenn.) Cardinals with the Appalachian Legue, while Litsch is the Pulaski (Virginia) Braves in the Appy League. Litsch was signed by the Braves before the 2005 draft after selecting him in the 2004 MLB draft. Another signee, Jaye Chapman has decided to go to junior college.
Three former Tide players are faring well in rookie ball this summer. Brent Carter is 1-2 with a 2.61 ERA in his four starts for the Eugene (Oregon) Emeralds in the Northwest League. Carter, a 19th round pick by the San Diego Padres, has recorded 20 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings. Trey Shileds, a ninth-round pick by Oakland, has appeared in three games for the Vancouver Canadians in the Northwest League and has 12 strikeouts in nine innings. Morrow Thomley, who signed as a free agent, made his first appearance on the mound recently for the Cubs in the Arizona Rookie League. He had two walks and one strikeout in two-thirds of an inning in his debut.
Six UA players and signees are in the Cape Cod League this summer, headlined by 2006 preseason All-America candidate Wade LeBlanc. The lefty is 3-1 with a 0.99 ERA in four starts for the Wareham Gatemen. LeBlanc has worked 27 1/3 innings and allowed 20 hits, four runs and three earned runs, with 10 walks and 28 strikeouts. He is second in the league in wins and seventh in ERA.
Junior outfielder Michael McCallister and sophomore pitcher Josh Copeland are also in Wareham this summer. McCallister is batting .178 (13-for-73) with two home runs and 13 RBI in 21 games in the wooden bat league. He has also added five doubles. Copeland just arrived after the first summer school semester at UA and tossed one scoreless inning with one strikeout in his lone appearance thus far.
Wareham beat the Brewster Whitecaps 9-0 in Monday, July 11 in a game dominated by the Tide trio. LeBlanc threw eight shutout innings and allowed three hits and fanned five batters. McCallister went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI and Coepland made his Cape Cod League debut with one strikeout in one inning on the mound.
Junior center fielder Emeel Salem is having a solid summer for the Cotuit Kettleers. In 22 games, Salem is batting .239 (21-for-88) with 16 runs scored, two doubles, 10 RBI and 11 stolen bases. He is third in the league in steals.
Jake McCarter, an Alabama signee who pitched the last two years at Navarro College in Texas, has pitched in four games and has no record and 3.72 ERA (9.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 7 K) this summer.
Sophomore catcher Chris Kirkland was another late arrival to Cape and is 1-for-8 (.125) in three games with the Falmouth Commodores.