Bama/MSU series notes

The Alabama Crimson Tide (40-9, 17-7 SEC) opens its final homestand of the 2002 regular-season this weekend as they host the Mississippi State Bulldogs (28-19-1, 11-12 SEC) in a three-game Southeastern Conference series that could decide the Western Division championship.

These two old SEC rivals meet for the 350th time in the series opener Friday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m. The series continues Saturday, May 11 (4 p.m.) and Sunday, May 12 (2 p.m.) The 2002 Alabama senior class will be honored in pre-game ceremonies prior to the Sunday game with MSU. The final regular-season home game will be Tuesday, May 14 as Alabama hosts the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils at 6:30 p.m. UA closes out the 2002 regular season next weekend (May 17-19) at LSU.

Alabama enters the weekend 2 1/2 games ahead of LSU and three games up on Ole Miss in the Western Division race. The Crimson Tide could wrap up the division title as early as this weekend, but would need several scenarios to take place. First of all, Alabama would need a three-game sweep of Miss. State. Secondly, a loss by LSU (at Florida) and Ole Miss (vs. Arkansas) would also be needed to clinch the Western Division title. The Crimson Tide could also win the division title even if LSU beats Florida twice, which would actually benefit the Crimson Tide even more in the overall SEC title hunt.

Alabama's Probable Starting Lineup:

  1. # 24 Scott McClanahan, CF .330, 8 HR, 48 RBI Leads the SEC with 20 doubles
  2. # 4 Adam Pavkovich, SS .284, 5 HR, 24 RBI Riding nine-game home hitting strk
  3. # 1 Peter Stonard, RF .407, 4 HR, 31 RBI 6-for-9 in last two games
  4. # 14 Jeremy Brown, C .333, 10 HR, 51 RBI No home runs since April 6th
  5. # 6 Brent Boyd, 1B .292, 7 HR, 41 RBI Compiled .817 slug pct since Apr 20
  6. # 11 Travis Garner, RF .352, 5 HR, 22 RBI Highest avg. (.417) in SEC play
  7. # 5 Beau Hearod, DH .314, 8 HR, 41 RBI Batting .125 (2-16) in last 5 gms
  8. # 27 Grant Redding, LF .452, 1 HR, 12 RBI 2-for9 (.222) since April 24th
  9. # 26 Allen Rice, 3B .252, 0 HR, 14 RBI 3-for-31 (.098) since April 17th

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Alabama: 18 Lance Cormier, RH 13 GS, 8-2, 2.83 Needs two strikeouts for all-time UA record
9 Jeffrey Norris, LH 9 G, 4-0, 2.60 Allowed 3 ER or less in all six starts
16 Shane Sanders, RH 15 G, 7-1, 3.09 Allowed 7 ER in last 32 2/3 IP (1.92 ERA)

Miss State: 28 Paul Maholm, LH 11 GS, 8-2, 3.46 Leads MSU with four CGs
31 Tanner Brock, RH 11 GS, 6-4, 4.39 Team-high six HRs allowed
To Be Announced

Bama Notches 40th Win

The Alabama baseball team won its 40th game of the 2002 season with a 6-4 win over the Georgia on Sunday, May 5. The 2002 squad is the 11th team in school history to post 40 victories. The 2002 season also marks the seventh time in Coach Jim Wells eight-year tenure the Crimson Tide has won 40 or more games.

The 2002 season also marks the 10th 40-win season in Wells' 13-year coaching career.

The 1981 team was the first in school history to win 40 games. They are also the only team in school history to win 40 games and not make the NCAA Tournament.

The 2002 Crimson Tide is also the seventh team in school history to win 40 regular season games, including six under Wells.

The 1997 team holds the school record for most regular-season wins, posting a 44-11 record in 55 games.

Bama Clinches SEC Tournament Berth

The Alabama Crimson Tide is one of three teams to clinch a berth in the 2002 SEC Tournament, joining Eastern Division leaders South Carolina and Florida. All three teams clinched their post-season spots last Sunday, May 5. The SEC Tournament will be held Wed, May 22 through Sun., May 26 at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

PSUEDO RPIs

While the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee does not release its RPI (Ratings Percentage Index), Boyd Nation of Birmingham, Ala., has come up with a formula that is useful in seeing what the committee is seeing while making their choices. Nation is a 1988 graduate of Mississippi State University, currently residing in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife and two children. Nation first released the Iterative Strength Ratings and the pseudo-RPI's in 1998. In real life, he works as an information security analyst for a large electric utility. For more information concerning the Psuedo RPIs go to his web site at www.boydsworld.com for a complete listing of all Division I baseball teams.

In the latest Psuedo RPI rankings, Alabama is 10th with a 40-9 (39-9 vs. Division I schools) overall record.

Bama will play 19 games against the Top 22 RPI teams in the country this season.

The Crimson Tide will play 27 games against the Top 50 RPI, compiling a 13-8 (.619) record thus far. UA has six games remaining against Miss. State and LSU.

The Crimson Tide will play 32 games against the nation's Top 64 RPI, posting a 18-8 (.692) record in those games with the six remaining games with MSU and LSU.

THE 2002 GRIND

The Crimson Tide will play another challenging schedule in 2002, including two teams (Georgia and Tennessee) that played in the 2001 College World Series. In addition, UA will play 30 games against teams that participated in the 2001 NCAA Tournament.

The listing of teams in the 2001 NCAA Tournament includes Auburn, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Georgia, Georgia Southern, LSU, Minnesota, Miss. State, Ole Miss, South Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The Crimson Tide also had seven opponents ranked in the preseason polls by Baseball America, Baseball Weekly and Collegiate Baseball. The list includes Florida, Georgia Southern, LSU, Miss. St., Ole Miss, S. Carolina and Tennessee.

Alabama will also play Division I newcomer Birmingham Southern this year. Last year, the Panthers won 50+ games and captured the NAIA national championship.

Bama Holds SEC Lead With 6 Games Remaining

The Crimson Tide holds a one-half game lead over second-place South Carolina with six games to play in the race for the 2002 SEC Championship. Alabama owns a one-game lead over Florida, 2 1/2 game lead over LSU and a three-game lead over Ole Miss and Georgia as the league schedule heads into the final two weekends. Alabama's last conference championship came in 1996 as it shared the title with Florida and LSU. UA's last outright SEC Championship came in 1968.

In addition, Alabama holds a 2 1/2 game lead over LSU and a three-game lead over Ole Miss for the SEC Western Division Championship. Alabama could wrap up the Western Division championship as early as this weekend, but would need some help from other SEC clubs.

The Crimson Tide could clinch the division title with three wins at home over Miss. State and one loss by LSU (at Florida) and Ole Miss (hosts Arkansas) this weekend. With that scenario, Alabama would have the best conference winning percentage even it got swept next weekend at LSU and Ole Miss swept MSU in Starkville.

The best situation for Alabama would be three wins over Miss. State and two wins by LSU at Florida. That would still clinch the SEC Western Division title (with an Ole Miss loss to Arkansas) and give the Crimson Tide a three-game lead over the Gators in the overall race.

Not Quite Wire-to-Wire

When Alabama dropped an 8-7 decision at Georgia (11 innings) on May 4, it marked the first time all season the team was not in first place in the SEC this season. Through May 6, UA has been in first place or shared first place 23 of the 24 days. The Crimson Tide holds a half game lead over South Carolina with six games remaining on the schedule.

Alabama/Mississippi State Series

The longest running series in the Alabama baseball annals resumes this weekend as the Crimson Tide hosts the Mississippi State Bulldogs here at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide leads the all-time series with the Bulldogs 190-156-3 (.549). The teams have met 349 times since the initial meeting in 1896. In games played in Tuscaloosa, UA holds a 129-77-3 all-time lead. The Crimson Tide has not swept MSU in Tuscaloosa since 1976, while MSU's last road sweep against the Crimson Tide came in 1994.

Alabama has played Miss. State more than any other opponent in school history. The two teams have met every year since 1946.

The 2002 regular-season series opener will mark the 350th all-time meeting between Alabama and MSU.

Alabama is 14-5 (.737) in its last 19 games with Miss. State.

Since 1995, Alabama has won four of the seven series with MSU.

Alabama has won back-to-back series with Miss. State for the first time since the early 1970s, when UA won three straight series in 1973-74.

Alabama took two of three at Miss. State last season, its first series win in Starkville since 1989

MSU head coach Ron Rolk has compiled a 64-40 (.615) all-time record against Alabama. He coached his 100th all-time game against Alabama on Mar. 19, 2000 while the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. UGA won that game, 8-7.

Polk will coach his 100th as MSU head coach against Alabama when the two teams square off in the series finale on Sunday, May 12.

Alabama and Miss. State are the only two SEC schools with 2,000 career wins. Alabama became the 17th school in NCAA history by notching its 2,000th win on March 4, 2001 against Winthrop. Miss. State became the 18th Division I school to record 2,000 wins with a victory over New Orleans on March 13, 2001. Since then, Texas A&M and Fresno State have joined the NCAA list, which now stands at 20 teams with 2,000 all-time wins.

Dating back to 1995, Alabama has won all seven post-season meetings with Miss. State, including two wins at the 1997 College World Series.

Boyd Brings Home Game Winners

Boyd has posted five consecutive game-winning RBI for the Crimson Tide. He is responsible for the winning run in each of Alabama's last five wins, including all three against arch-rival Auburn (April 26-28). He also tallied the game-winning RBI in wins over UAB (May 1) and Geogia (May 5). Four of those game winners have come on sacrifice flies, while another was a walk-off, two-run home run in the ninth inning that beat Auburn (April 27) 6-5.

Cormier Two Strikeouts Shy of All-Time Record

Cormier enters the Miss. State series needing one strikeout to tie the all-time record at Alabama. With two strikeouts he will break the record. The current record is held by Mike Sodders (1985-88) with 274 career strikeouts.

Cormier is already the school's all-time strikeout leader for right-handers, surpassing Joel Colgrove and Chris Eilers school-record of 237 strikeouts for right-handers.

Crimson Tide Team Notes

  • Dating back to May 1, 2001, Alabama has posted a 46-10 (.821) record in its last 56 games, including a 40-9 (.816) mark this year.
  • Alabama is one of only six teams in Division I baseball with 40 wins, joining Florida State (45), Southern (45), Richmond (42), Clemson (40) and San Jose State (40).
  • Alabama is tied with Clemson and San Jose State for the fourth most wins this season among Division I teams.
  • The Crimson Tide has the nation's fifth-highest winning percentage entering its weekend series with Miss. State.
  • Alabama nine losses this season are the fourth-fewest among Division I teams.
  • The Crimson Tide is 28-2 (.933) at home this season, losing its only home series to Ole Miss (April 19-21).
  • In those 30 home games, Alabama is batting .320 (318-for-994) with 32 home runs and 211 RBI. The Crimson Tide averages 7.7 runs and 10.6 hits per game at the Joe this year.
  • Alabama is 28-1 (.966) this season when scoring seven or more runs. UA is 7-1 when scoring seven runs, 3-0 when scoring eight runs, 3-0 when scoring nine runs and 14-0 when scoring 10 or more runs.
  • UA's only loss was an 8-7 setback in 11 innings last Saturday (May 4) at Georgia.
  • Alabama has posted 17 come-from-behind wins this season, with six of those victories coming in its last at-bat.
  • The Crimson Tide has 151 come-from-behind wins under Jim Wells, including 64 in the final at-bat.
  • Brent Boyd (5) and Scott McClanahan (3) have eight of UA's last nine home runs.
  • Travis Garner (2), Boyd (5) and McClanahan (3) have hit 10 of the Crimson Tide's last 11 home runs.
  • The Crimson Tide has recorded at least one extra base hit in 46 of 49 games this year.
  • Alabama is 0-3 (.000) this season without an extra base hit.
  • The Crimson Tide doubled in 15 straight games from April 12-May 1. In those 15 games, Alabama has 53 doubles, an average of 3.53 per game.
  • Since March 24, Alabama has doubled in 25 of 28 games. Overall, UA has doubled in 44 of 49 games this year.
  • Alabama is hitless in its last five at-bats with the bases loaded.
  • Alabama posted a 13-game home run streak, hitting 21 home runs from Mar. 24-April 13. The streak ended in the series finale at Kentucky (April 14).
  • The Crimson Tide scored in nine consecutive innings over two games against Kentucky (April 14) and Samford (April 17). After being held scoreless in the first three innings at UK, Alabama scored in the next five innings to post a 15-4 win. The game was called after eight innings due to the SEC Sunday Travel policy concerning flights. On April 17, Alabama scored in the first four innings in a 14-7 win over Samford.

Pitching Notes

  • Allowed three earned runs or less in 29 of 49 games this season.
  • Alabama is 25-0 this season when holding the opposition to three runs or less.
  • Alabama's weekend starters are 19-3 (.864) this season. Cormier is 8-2, Norris is 4-0 and Sanders is 7-1 for the Crimson Tide.
  • All three SEC starters have at least one complete game this season. Cormier leads the list with five, while Norris has two and Sanders has one CG.
  • Alabama pitchers have recorded at least one complete game in four of its last five SEC series.
  • The pitching staff has posted some incredible numbers at home this year, compiling a 28-2 record and 2.53 ERA (270 IP, 102 H, 57 ER, 57 BB, 215 K).
  • UA pitchers have allowed less than one hit per inning at home this season and averages more than one strikeout per inning at the Joe.
  • In the last two home games, UA pitchers have allowed just one run and nine hits (eight singles, one home run).
  • In the last 22 2/3 innings at home, UA pitchers have allowed only one run and 10 hits (nine singles), compiling an impressive 0.40 ERA in the last 2 1/2 games.
  • The Crimson Tide staff posted a 21 1/3 scoreless inning streak at the Joe over its last three games with Auburn (13.2 IP) and UAB (7.2 IP).
  • Alabama did not allow a walk in its last SEC home game with Auburn on April 28.
  • The Alabama bullpen has stranded 46 of 79 inherited runners this season.
  • The Alabama bullpen has converted 17 of 22 save opportunities this year and leads the SEC with 17 saves.
  • Alabama had only seven saves in 55 games last year.
  • The 17 saves are just two shy of tying the single-season UA record.
  • Nine different pitchers have recorded wins for Alabama this season, including six pitchers with three or more victories.
  • A total of five pitchers have accounted for UA's SEC-leading 17 saves.
  • Only four different UA pitchers recorded a save in 2001, with Cormier and Woodward leading the team with two each.

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