Baseball status report

The 2002 Southeastern Conference Western Division champion No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (44-12, 20-10 SEC) opens the 2002 SEC Tournament with No. 7 Mississippi State (33-22-1, 14-15 SEC) on Wednesday, May 22 at 1 p.m. in the second game of session one.

Alabama Status Report

Overall Record: 44-12

SEC Record: 20-10 (Western Division Champs, 2nd Overall)

Last Week's Record: 0-3

May 18 -- LSU 3, Alabama 0 (DH)
LSU 6, Alabama 5 (DH)
May 19 -- LSU 5, Alabama 1

Alabama Opens SEC Tournament with Mississippi State

The first game of the tournament features the No.3 Florida Gators and the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs at 10 a.m. Alabama plays MSU at 1 pm. The two winners will play Thursday, May 23 at 5 p.m., while the losers will square off Thursday, May 23 at 10 a.m.

Alabama and MSU met just two weeks ago with the Crimson Tide sweeping the three-game SEC series at the Joe in Tuscaloosa. It was UA's first series sweep over MSU since 1976. The Crimson Tide has won three straight series with MSU for the first time since the 1973-74 seasons. UA has also won all seven post-season meetings with Miss. State under head coach Jim Wells, including five SEC Tournament tilts.

The Crimson Tide has enjoyed much success in the SEC Tournament since 1995, winning four championships (1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999). The 1995 SEC Western Division Tournament title was UA's first since 1983. Alabama missed the post-season party last year at the Met and is the only league team with a .500 record (15-15) not the make the SEC Tournament under the new format, which began in 1996.

Bama Wins 10th Western Division SEC Title

Alabama concluded the 2002 SEC season with a 20-10 overall record, winning 10th SEC Western Division title. LSU also has 10 Western Division titles to its credit, while Florida is the all-time SEC leader with 17 Eastern Division titles. UA's 2002 divisional championship is the second under coach Jim Wells and first since 1996. Alabama wrapped up its 10th SEC Western Division title with a three-game sweep of Miss. State (May 10-12) in Tuscaloosa. The sweep of the Bulldogs was the first by Alabama in 26 years, dating back to Coach Ron Polk's rookie season (1976) in his first tenure at MSU.

Alabama's SEC Western Division Championships:

1950, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1968, 1973, 1974, 1981, 1996, 2002

UA Ties Record for most Regular-Season Wins

Alabama wrapped up the 2002 regular season with a 44-12 overall record, tying the 1997 for most regular season wins in school history. The 1997 team, which finished runner up to LSU at the College World Series, posted a 44-11 record during the regular season. Only six Alabama teams have won 40 regular season games, with five coming in the Jim Wells era. The only other UA team to win 40 regular season games was the 1981 team (41-15-1). That team is the only UA squad to win 40 games and not make the NCAA Regionals (32-team field at that time).

Alabama's 44 victories gives the school 11 40-win seasons in history. Under Jim Wells, Alabama has won 40 or more games seven times in eight years and averages better than 45 wins per year. Wells has also directed the Crimson Tide to three 50-win seasons.

In his 13 seasons at the Division I level, Jim Wells has posted 11 40-win seasons. Wells directed Northwestern State to four 40-win seasons in five years (1990-94) and has added seven 40-win seasons here at Alabama (1995-2002).

Alabama's 44 wins ranks sixth in school history for most wins in a season. With two more wins, the 2002 squad will tie the 1983 and 1996 teams for fourth place all time with 46 wins. The school record is 56 wins set by the 1997 team.

20-Game Winners

With a 20-10 SEC record, the 2002 squad is the fourth team in school history to win 20 or more SEC games in a season. All of the previous 20-win SEC seasons have come in the Wells era (1996, 1997 and 1999). The 1999 team holds the school record with 21 SEC wins. Alabama had a chance to surpass that record this past weekend but suffered its first sweep of the season at LSU.

LSU Series Loss a Rare Feat

Alabama lost its final regular season series at LSU, marking just the second time under Jim Wells the Crimson Tide did not end the season with a series victory. The only time UA did not win its final series also came in Baton Rouge to end the 2000 regular season. Alabama lost the yd first two games of the series, but did manage a 14-0 win in the series finale, which is the Crimson Tide's last victory over LSU in the series. UA closed out the 1995 (at Auburn), 1996 (Auburn), 1997 (LSU), 1998 (Auburn), 1999 (at Florida) and 2001 (Arkansas) with series wins, including sweeps over Auburn (1996), Florida (1999) and Arkansas (2001).

Alabama closed out the 2002 season at LSU, marking the third time in the last four years the Crimson Tide has ended the regular season on the road. UA also finished on the road in 1999 (Florida) and 2000 (LSU).

LSU Series Costly to Bama

Alabama dropped all three games at LSU this past weekend, which cost the Crimson Tide its league-leading 14th SEC Championship. The Tigers held the Crimson Tide to just six total runs in the three losses, the second-lowest run total in an SEC series under Jim Wells. The previous low was two runs by Alabama, which resulted in a three-game sweep at South Carolina during the 2000 season.

The three-game sweep at LSU marked the second year in a row the Tide was swept by the Tigers. LSU swept UA in Tuscaloosa last year.

Alabama has now lost eight straight games in the series with LSU, matching the longest losing streak in series history. The Tigers also won eight in-row over Alabama from 1987-90.

The Crimson Tide struggled at the plate this weekend with runners in scoring position, collecting only four hits in 23 at-bats (.203) against the Tigers.

Alabama also managed only one two-out RBI in the series, a fifth inning single in the series finale by right fielder Travis Garner.

Senior first baseman Brent Boy really had his difficulties at LSU, going hitless in 13 at-bats with six strikeouts. He also stranded 12 base runners in the three game series.

Getting off on the Right Foot

Winning the first game of an SEC series is a critical to the success of any team. Over the past eight years, it has been significantly crucial for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Dating back to the 1988 season, Alabama has lost 13 straight SEC series when dropping game one of the three-game set. Conversely, Alabama has won 36 of its last 40 SEC series when winning the opener. Alabama was 6-1 in the seven SEC series this season when winning game one, with the only loss coming at South Carolina (Mar. 29-31). UA won the opener in that series 10-6 in 11 innings, but lost games two and three as the Gamecocks took the series in Columbia.

Since 1995, Alabama has won 47 of 54 SEC series when winning the series opener.

When Alabama loses the first game of an SEC series, the Crimson Tide has lost 17 of 24 league series since 1995.

SEC Tournament History

Alabama is 36-33 (.522) all-time in SEC post-season play, dating back to its first appearance in the 1950 SEC Playoffs, a best-of-five series against Eastern Division champ Kentucky.

The Crimson Tide is 26-22 (.542) since the league adopted a tournament format in 1977.

Coach Jim Wells has posted an impressive 22-7 (.759) record at the SEC Tournament, including four post-season titles. Alabama won championships in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999 under Wellls.

At the Hoover Met, the site of the 2002 SEC Tournament, Wells has led the Crimson Tide to a 14-5 (.737) ledger and two titles.

Wells' Tournament Record

1995: 4-1 (.800) (CHAMPIONS)
1996: 5-1 (.833) (CHAMPIONS)
1997: 4-1 (.800) (CHAMPIONS)
1998: 3-2 (.600) (Third Place)
1999: 4-0 (1.000) (CHAMPIONS)
2000: 2-2 (.500) (Fourth Place)

Bama at the Hoover Met

Alabama has compiled a 17-8 (.680) all-time record in games played at the Hoover Met. In SEC Tournament games, Alabama is 14-5 (.737) here at the Met. The Crimson Tide is 3-3 (.500) in six regular season games at the Met. The Crimson Tide played its first game at the Met during the 1989 season, handing UAB a lopsided 14-2 loss.

Alabama's 1999 SEC Tournament Championship game win over Arkansas drew the largest single-game crowd ever to witness a college baseball game in the state of Alabama. A record crowd of 16,165 fans watched Alabama beat Arkansas 9-3 en route to its third title in four years.

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