Alabama hits the road again

The road warriors are at it again, as the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team plays all four games on the road this week, starting with Wednesday's non-conference tilt with the UAB Blazers at Jerry D. Young Memorial Field---NOT the Hoover Met. The April 10th game is set for 7 p.m.

Third-ranked Tide hits the road again

Following the UAB game, Alabama travels to Lexington, Ky., this weekend to faced the Kentucky Wildcats in a three-game SEC series. With the four road games this week, Alabama will have played 11 of its last 16 games away from home. The Crimson Tide is 6-5 away from home this year, including two neutral site wins, and just recently completed a seven-game, 11-day road trip to Arkansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina (Mar. 22-31).

Alabama (28-5, 9-3 SEC) is a perfect 22-0 at home this season and riding a school-record 26-game home winning streak. The Crimson Tide is coming off a perfect 5-0 week, including four wins over ranked teams. Alabama won its 10th straight game over Southern Miss (April 2) and then swept the Florida Gators this past weekend, extending its winning streak over Florida to 11 games. It was UA's sixth straight series win over the Gators and third consecutive sweep.

Following this week's road trip, Alabama will return home Wednesday, April 17 against Samford and will play eight of nine games at the Joe through May 1st. UAB (9-22) snapped a 10-game losing streak this weekend with a 8-3 win at St. Louis. The Blazers have lost 13 of 15 games since Mar. 15th. UAB swept a two-game series from Alabama last year for the first time since 1990.

Game times switched for gymnastics

The game times for the Ole Miss series next week have been switched around to accommodate the NCAA Gymnastics championships.
Friday 4 PM
Saturday 2 PM
Sunday 2 PM

Alabama's probable starting lineup:

  1. # 24 Scott McClanahan, CF .328, 5 HR, 29 RBI
  2. # 4 Adam Pavkovich, SS .298, 4 HR, 14 RBI
  3. # 1 Peter Stonard, RF .398, 3 HR, 20 RBI
  4. # 14 Jeremy Brown, C .321, 10 HR, 42 RBI
  5. # 5 Beau Hearod, DH .347, 7 HR, 32 RBI
  6. # 6 Brent Boyd, 2B .287, 2 HR, 23 RBI
  7. # 11 Travis Garner, LF .318, 3 HR, 10 RBI
  8. # 26 Allen Rice, 3B .254, 0 HR, 6 RBI
  9. # 12 Zac Welch, 1B .224, 1 HR, 6 RBI
  10. Pitcher: # 38 Jared Woodward, RH

Bama equals record for best start

Alabama has posted a 29-5 record through 33 games, equaling the best start in school history. The 1997 College World Series team also posted a 29-5 record through its first 33 games. Alabama has won five straight games, including a sweep over Florida this past weekend.

Following its 17-3 win over No. 17 Oklahoma, Alabama set the school standard for best record after 25 games. The Crimson Tide went 22-3 in its first 25 games.

Bama off to best SEC start in over 20 years

Alabama's three-game sweep of the Florida Gators gives the Crimson Tide a 9-3 record in league play through its first 12 games. The 9-3 mark the is the best record under Jim Wells and the best record by any Alabama nine since the 1981 team opened with a 9-2-1 slate after 12 games. That team finished with a 17-6-1 record and shared the SEC Western Division title with Miss. State. Overall, the 1981 team boasted a 41-15-1 ledger, but did not qualify for the 32-team NCAA Regionals. It is the only team in school history to win 40 games and not play in the post-season.

The previous best record under Wells was an 8-4 mark through 12 games in 1996 and 1997.

The 1981 team also ran its record to 12-2-1 following a three-game sweep of Ole Miss to post the best 15-game SEC record in the modern era.

Alabama's 9-3 SEC record is two games better than last year's 7-5 mark through 12 games. Also, the 9-3 ledger is a five game improvement from the 2000 team's 4-8 record.

Tide Among Nation's Best Teams

Following a perfect 5-0 week, including four wins over ranked opponents, the Alabama baseball team has vaulted into the Top 5 in the nation in all four baseball polls. Alabama is ranked third by Collegiate Baseball, fourth by Baseball America and NCBWA and fifth by Baseball Weekly. It is the highest ranking for the Crimson Tide since opening the 2000 season ranked third in the country.

Alabama's 28 wins equal the third-most in the nation through Monday, April 8. Florida State is the only team with 30 wins, while Florida Atlantic is second with 29 wins. FAU has won 21 straight games since its 8-3 loss to Alabama on March 3 in the final game of the Hormel Foods Classic in Minneapolis, Minn.

Scouting the opposition: UAB

Alabama will play in-state rival UAB on Wednesday night at Jerry D. Young Memorial Field before traveling to Lexington, Ky., this weekend to face the Kentucky Wildcats in a three-game SEC series. UAB -- The Blazers have struggled much of the 2002 season and enters Wednesday night's game with a 9-22 overall record.

As a team, UAB is hitting just .223 (227-for-1020) in 31 games this season with 11 home runs and 112 RBI. UAB averages just 4.2 runs and 7.3 hits per game. Freshman outfielder Chad House (26 G, .284, 0 HR, 9 RBI) and junior transfer outfielder Kyle Leon (23 G, .278, HR, 6 RBI) are the offensive leaders. The Blazers have been without catcher Al Hecklinski (.269, HR, 4 HR), who played just eight games before season-ending injury. The senior was the hero last year for the Blazers in their two-game sweep of Alabama, the first since 1990. In those two wins, Hecklinski batted .429 with one home run and seven RBI as UAB posted 10-6 and 6-5 wins over the Crimson Tide in back-to-back games.

The pitching staff has held its own with a 4.88 ERA in 269 1/3 innings of work. Blazer pitchers have allowed 146 earned runs and 317 hits this season, with 128 walks and 237 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .298 (317-for-1,064) against UAB this year. A trio of pitchers could see action against Alabama on Wednesday night, including freshman Ryan Huffman (RH, 7 G, 1-3, 6.20 ERA), junior Ryan Burgett (LH, 7 G, 0-2, 8.36 ERA) and senior Andre Parks (RH, 8 GS, 1-6, 9.00 ERA). Defensively, UAB averages more than two errors per game (65, .947) this season.

Scouting the opposition: Kentucky

The Bats Cats are 13-17 overall and 3-9 in SEC play entering the Alabama series. UK snapped a six-game SEC losing streak this past Sunday with a 6-1 win over Tennessee in Knoxville. The Cats have won at least one game in every conference series with the exception of Ole Miss, a team that swept them in Lexington two weeks ago.

As a team, UK hits just .254 (257-for-1,013) with 27 home runs and 148 RBI. In 30 games, the Cats average 5.4 runs and 8.6 hits per game this season. Sophomore infielder Spencer Greater and sophomore outfielder Caleb Stewart are the leading hitters for coach Keith Madison's squad. Greater is hitting .337 (32-for-95) with two home runs and 18 RBI. Stewart is second in the club with a .333 (37-for-111) average, adding three home runs and 17 RBI. The power source for the 2002 Bats Cats is junior outfielder/pitcher Seth Morris (,293, 34-for-116), who leads the club with 10 home runs and 26 RBI.

On the mound, UK has posted a 5.55 staff ERA, allowing 159 earned runs and 312 hits in 257 2/3 innings this season. The Cats have added 89 walks and 235 strikeouts. The weekend trio of Joseph Blanton, Scott Wade and Cory Hahn have pitched well, but have been victims of shaky defense and lack of run support. Blanton (RH, Jr., 8 GS, 3-4, 3.32 ERA) has posted some incredible numbers. In 57 innings, he has allowed 21 earned runs and 52 hits, while striking out 80 and walking only 16 batters.

Wade (RH, Jr., 8 G, 3-6, 6.53 ERA) has yielded 44 runs and 63 hits in 51 innings this season, adding 42 strikeouts and just nine walks. Hahn (RH, 3 GS, 3-4, 3.51), a newcomer to the rotation, has allowed 16 runs and 31 hits in 33 innings this season. He has added 29 strikeouts and eight walks.

On defense, UK has made 60 errors in 30 games for a .948 fielding mark. The numbers in SEC play are lower than the overall stats, as UK hits just .237 (95-for-400) with eight home runs and 48 RBI in 12 league games.

Greater is the leading hitter in SEC play with a .405 (15-for-37) clip, while Morris still supplies the power with six home runs and 17 RBI.

The staff has compiled a .6.40 ERA in 12 league games, allowing 74 earned runs and 140 hits in 104 innings of work. The Cats have made 25 errors in 12 conference games.

Alabama/UAB series

Alabama owns a 28-12 (.700) lead over UAB in a series that dates back to the 1974 season. The two schools have met every year since 1989, usually on a home-and-home basis. UAB won both meetings last year, claiming a 10-6 win in Tuscaloosa and a 6-5 win in Birmingham. It marked the first time since 1990 the UAB had beaten Alabama twice in the same season.

Alabama/Kentucky series

Alabama holds a 39-24 (.619) all-time lead with Kentucky in a series that dates back to the 1925 season. Alabama has won 11 of the last 13 meetings with Kentucky, dating back to the 1996 season. The Crimson Tide has also won four straight series with the Wildcats, including a three-game sweep of UK in Lexington during the 2001 season. It was Alabama's first sweep over the Cats since 1990. Bama won the first five games in the series, while UK's first series win came in 1931. Alabama and Kentucky met in the 1950 SEC Playoffs, with Alabama winning the best-of-five series to advance to the NCAA District III Playoffs.

Since 1990, Alabama and Kentucky will have played 29 times, including this weekend, with 18 of those meetings taking place in Lexington.

Alabama is playing in Lexington for the second consecutive year. The Crimson Tide swept the Wildcats last year at Cliff Hagan Stadium, by scores of 3-1, 11-1 and 26-7. The 26 runs in the series finale are the most ever scored by a team in this series.

The last time Alabama played back-to-back years in Lexington was 1992-93. In fact, from 1992-96, Alabama played three straight series with UK here in Lexington.

Alabama-Kentucky Series File

at Tuscaloosa: Alabama leads, 21-11
at Lexington: Alabama leads, 15-11
Neutral Sites: Alabama leads, 3-2

Alabama's Road Record

Alabama has compiled a 79-74 (.000) road record under Coach Wells. Alabama won only six road games in 20 attempts last year. The Crimson Tide's best road record under Wells was a 15-6 mark in 1996. Alabama is 4-5 (.444) in actual road games this season and 6-5 (.545) overall counting the two neutral site wins.

Stiff competition

Playing it toughest competition of the season to date, Alabama recently completed a nine-game stretch (Mar. 26-April 7) in which it played eight ranked teams. The Crimson Tide won seven of those nine games, including six of the eight against ranked teams. The difficult stretch began last week at No. 17 Oklahoma and continued with a weekend series (Mar. 29-31) at No. 3 South Carolina. Alabama played four of five games last week against Top 25 clubs, including an SEC series with No. 6 Florida in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide swept the Gators for the third consecutive time.

Alabama played back-to-back SEC weekend series against Top 10 opponents, wining four of six games from at No. 3 South Carolina (USC won two of three) and No. 6 Florida (UA swept series).

Alabama is 132-90 (.595) against ranked teams under Jim Wells.

The Crimson Tide is 6-2 (.750) this season against Top 25 clubs, with four games being played on the road.

Alabama entered the 2002 season having lost seven of its last eight games to teams ranked in the Top 25, but that streak was snapped with a resounding 17-3 win over the Sooners.

Last year, Alabama suffered through a 12-13 (.480) season against teams ranked in the Top 25.

Over the last two years (2000-01), Alabama was 24-29 (.453) against ranked teams.

From 1996-99, Alabama posted four consecutive seasons of 20 or more wins against ranked teams, winning 85 total games against nationally ranked clubs. UA's best season under Wells was 1996, when the Tide went 20-8 (.714) against ranked teams.

Road Warriors

With four road game this week, Alabama will have played 11 of its last 16 games on the road, dating back to March 22. The Crimson Tide plays at UAB on Wednesday night and then travels to Lexington to face the Kentucky Wildcats this weekend. This will be the Crimson Tide's third significant road trip of the 2002 season.

Alabama won the 2002 Hormel Foods Classic, played Mar. 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) to claim the title.

The longest road trip since the 1994 season took place Mar. 22-31, as UA traveled to Arkansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina for a seven-game, 11-day trip. Alabama posted a 4-3 record on the trip, which included a series win at Arkansas and road wins at No. 17 Oklahoma and No. 3 South Carolina.

The Crimson Tide batted .298 (79-for-265) with 49 runs, nine home runs and 49 RBI in its 2002 spring break trip. Alabama averaged seven runs and 11.3 hits per game. UA opponents hit .289 (74-for-256) and averaged 5.4 runs and 10.6 hits per game.

Junior LF Travis Garner was the leading hitter on the last road trip, batting .500 (11-for-22) with two home runs and three RBI. He also scored seven runs and compiled an .818 slugging percentage.

Senior catcher Jeremy Brown hit .367 (11-for-30) with six runs, one home run and 13 RBI. He averaged nearly two RBI per game on the road trip.

On the mound, freshman lefty Taylor Tankersley compiled a 2-1 record with one save and 3.12 ERA, appearing in four of the seven games.

Overall, Alabama is 6-5 (.545) away from home this season, including a pair of neutral site games. The Crimson Tide is 4-5 (.444) in actual road games.

Bama successful against in-state foes

Alabama has enjoyed a great deal of success against in-state teams, compiling a 419-215 (.661) all-time record against teams from the state of Alabama. Jim Wells is 61-25 (.709) against in-state opponents in his eight-year career at the Capstone. UA struggled against in-state foes last year, finishing with a 5-5 (.500) record. The Tide lost a two-game home and home series with the Blazers for the first time since 1990. Auburn swept Alabama in a three-game series at Plainsman Park for the first time since 1990.

Alabama has compiled a 2-1 record against in-state foes this year, beating North Alabama (2-1, Feb. 26) and Bham Southern (4-2, March 13) and losing at South Alabama (10-4, March 6).

Alabama will play a total of 11 games against in-state teams this season, with games remaining against Jacksonville State (April 24), UAB (April 10 & May 1), Samford (April 17) and Auburn (April 26-28).

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