Tide tops APSU with wild comeback

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama baseball team hit a season-high four home runs and overcame a five-run deficit to post a 12-10 come-from-behind win over the Austin Peay Governors Wednesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Senior catcher Jeremy Brown's two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning snapped a 10-10 tie and gave the Crimson Tide a two-run lead. Brown's home run off losing pitch Frank Kunich (0-1) snapped an 0-for-9 slump at the plate for the UA catcher. It was Brown's 10th home run of the season.

It was Brown's second game-winning home run of the 2002 season. He also smacked a two-out solo home run in the Tide's 11-9 win over SE Louisiana on Mar. 10, leading the Crimson Tide back from an 8-1 deficit. Brown also hit a grand slam in the Tide's 13 inning win over South Carolina last weekend to give UA a 10-5 lead en route to a 10-6 win.

Peter Stonard led off the eighth inning with a triple down the right field line. Stonard had three hits, scored three runs and drove in three runs for Alabama.

Alabama (25-5) has won 25 consecutive games when scoring 10 or more runs, dating back to the 2000 SEC Tournament. The Crimson Tide also won its 23rd consecutive home game, moving to within one win of the modern day school record.

Senior Scott McClanahan hit a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game at 10-10. McClanahan's second home run of the game capped an Alabama comeback that saw the Crimson Tide fall behind 8-3 after three innings.

"It feels great," McClanahan said. "It is something I was capable of, but doing it out of the leadoff spot was very nice. We did not play well tonight, but we won the game. It was great to comeback and win."

It was McClanahan's first career multiple home run game at Alabama. The Hartselle, Ala., native finished the game with four hits, four runs scored and three RBI. In addition to his home runs, McClanahan singled and scored in the second and fourth innings.

The two home runs gives McClanahan four home runs on the season.

Alabama has homered in a season-high seven straight games, hitting 13 home runs in those seven games.

Austin Peay scored five runs in the top of the second inning to take a 5-1 lead. Michael Johnson's grand slam to center field gave the Govs a four-run lead. UA starter Landon Brazell was charged with three runs in the inning, leaving the game without retiring a batter in the second inning.

Brazell, making his first start of the season, walked one batter, hit one batter and committed one error before being replaced by freshman left hander Brent Carter.

Alabama scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning to cut the deficit to 5-3. Sophomore shortstop Adam Pavkovich led off the inning with a solo home run, his fourth of the year. McClanahan and Rice followed with back-to-back singles, with McClanahan taking third on Rice's single to center. Stonard followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score McClanahan and the Govs lead to two runs.

APSU (14-13) scored three runs in the third inning to take a 8-3 lead. Ben Fuller was hit by a pitch to open the inning and stole second base. Derrick Dunbar delivered a one-out single to center to score Fuller.

After Dunbar moved to second on a wild pitch, Joseph Peer greeted reliever Jared Woodward with an RBI double to left-center field. Peer scored to make it a 8-3 game when Rice made an error at third base on Johnson's ground ball. Peer's run was the second unearned run of the night for the Govs.

Alabama scored four runs off relief pitcher Dustin Smith in the fourth inning to pull within one run at 8-7. Stonard drove in two runs with a bases loaded double to left field, scoring John Marshall and McClanahan. Jeremy Brown's sacrifice fly to center scored Rice from third base. Hearod capped the scoring with a base hit to left field to score Stonard.

The Governors answered with a run in the fifth inning to extend its lead to 9-7. Matthew Ledbetter and Peer reached on back-to-back singles, with Ledbetter moving to third on Peer's ground ball single to left. Peer stole second base and Johnson reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Ledbetter from third. It was Johnson's fifth RBI of the game. Peer was put out in a run down between second and third base.

UA got an unearned run back in the fifth inning to cut the deficit to 9-8, but had two runners thrown out at third base and runner picked off at second to end the inning. Pavkovich walked to open the inning and scored when Peer dropped a pop up in shallow left field.

A.J. Ellis' solo home run in the sixth inning pushed the Govs lead to 10-8.

Freshman left-hander Taylor Tankerlsey (4-2) entered the game after the home run and shutout the Govs over the final 3 2/3 innings. He allowed two hits, two walks and struck out eight batters.

The Crimson Tide will return to action this weekend when they host the No. 6 Florida Gators in a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The series opener is Friday at 6:30 p.m. The teams will also play Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. The Sunday start time is one hour earlier than normal in an effort to accommodate Florida's travel schedule.

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