Boyd returns from injury to lead Bama rout

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Senior Brent Boyd started the party with a first inning grand slam and then capped the afternoon with a solo home run in the eighth inning solo home run as the No. 2 University of Alabama baseball team beat the No. 9 Ole Miss Rebels 12-2 Saturday afternoon to even the series at one game apiece.

Boyd, starting his first career game at first base, took all the suspense out the battle of Top 10 teams when he slammed an 0-1 fastball over the wall in left field to give Alabama a 4-0 first inning lead.

It was Boyd's third home run of the season and third career grand slam. Boyd's grand slam was the second of the year by Alabama. Jeremy Brown his a 13-inning grand slam in UA's 10-6 win at South Carolina on Mar. 29. In addition, Boyd's home run was the first in four games for Alabama since homering in a season-high 13 consecutive games (Mar. 24-April 12).

The Ft. Worth, Texas native added a solo home run in the eight inning for his fourth career multi homer game at Alabama. His last two home run game also came against Ole Miss on April 22, 2000.

Boyd tallied three hits and matched his career high with five RBI in leading Alabama to victory on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning, scoring seven runs on six hits to take a 7-0 lead. Brent Boyd, starting his first career game at first base, hit a grand slam in his first at-bat, slapping an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left field.

Following the home run, Allen Rice was hit by a pitch and Beau Hearod followed with a single to right field. Grant Redding singled to left field and Rice was thrown out at the plate by Drew Rogers. Travis Garner followed with an RBI ground-rule double, scoring Hearod and Scott McClanahan's two-run double scored Redding and Garner with the 7-0 lead.

"We talked about the 13 runners left on base and the close game," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "After such a hard-fought game you don't imagine a seven-run inning. We wanted to make some adjustments and then we get the huge home run for Boyd.

Boyd had missed the last five games with an oblique abdominal strain. After a pinch-hit duty Friday night, Boyd was inserted into the starting lineup Saturday at first base. He responded with three hits and five RBI as the Crimson Tide avenged a one-run loss on Friday.

The first-inning lead was more than enough for starter Jeffrey Norris, who recorded his second consecutive complete game for the Crimson Tide. The sophomore from Vestavia Hills limited Ole Miss to two runs (one earned run) and seven hits. He added two strikeouts and walked one batter.

In his last three SEC wins over No. 6 Florida, Kentucky and No. 9 Ole Miss, Norris has allowed just four earned runs in 25 innings on the mound.

"The thing about Norris is that he is a warrior," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "He does not look like one or even pitch like one, but he is a real warrior. This was a good test for him today. Ole Miss did a good job and more time to prepare for him than the last two teams. He knew that and battled hard. He is an amazing story."

Alabama (34-6, 13-4 SEC) added two more runs on the second inning Jeremy Brown's RBI double, scoring Peter Stonard and Hearod's RBI single to score Brown.

Brown's double extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11 straight games for the Crimson Tide. Boyd and Hearod had 10-game hitting streaks earlier this year. Brown has also doubled in four straight games for Bama. In those four games, Alabama has 21 doubles.

Ole Miss (31-9, 11-6 SEC) put their first run on the board in the fourth inning as Chad Sterbens reached on a infield single to score Seth Smith from third base. Smith off with a walk and moved to third on Drew Rogers' double.

Alabama got the run back in the sixth when Redding scored on McClanahan's sacrifice fly to center field. Redding walked and moved to third on Garner's single to right.

UM starter Peter Montrenes (7-3) was lifted after the single to Garner. The Ole Miss starter was tagged for 10 earned runs on 10 hits. He walked three, hit two batters and struck out two batters. After allowing nine runs to the first 13 UA batters in the game, Montrenes settled down and made it to the fifth before being lifted for Nick Bradshaw.

The Crimson Tide added a run in the seventh off Bradshaw as Redding doubled and later scored on McClanahan's infield single. It was McClanahan's third hit and fourth RBI of the game.

Ole Miss cut the deficit to 11-2 with an unearned run in the eighth inning. Jonathan Swearingen's RBI single to right scored Charlie Waite with the unearned run.

Boyd put the icing on the cake with his fourth home run of the year in the eighth inning.

The win snapped Ole Miss' five-game winning streak over Alabama, dating back to April, 2000.

The series finale is Sunday at 2 p.m. (CT) at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Freshman right-hander Alan Horne (2-1, 5.27 ERA) will pitch for Ole Miss while Alabama will send senior right-hander Shane Sanders (5-1, 3.86 ERA) to the mound.

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