Bama tops Southeast Missouri State, 7-4

TUSCALOOSA, AL- Utilizing the arm of Jeffrey Norris and a balanced offensive attack, Alabama (50-14) defeated Southeast Missouri State (37-20) by a score of 7-4 to advance to the Tuscaloosa Regional Championship Round.

Alabama, the region's No. 1 seed, and the No. 3 seed nationally, must defeat the region's No. 3 seed, Florida Atlantic, twice tomorrow in order to advance to next weekends NCAA Super Regionals.

Norris improved his record to 6-1 after pitching eight strong innings allowing only four runs and tying his career high with eight strikeouts. Alabama had a solid offensive attack collecting 12 hits and scoring in three consecutive innings to eliminate Southeast Missouri State from the Tuscaloosa Regional.

Alabama broke through first in the fifth inning after both teams went scoreless through the first four innings of the game. With one out in the sixth inning, senior Scott McClanahan singled to left center field to drive home freshman Allen Rice who had reached on a double. Sophomore Peter Stonard plated McClanahan with a double down the left field line. Stonard came in to score when senior Jeremy Brown singled through the left side of the infield to round out the scoring at 3-0.

The Indians rallied in the bottom of the fifth to score an unearned run and make the score 3-1.

The Tide bats got the run back, however, as sophomore Chad White scored on a single from shortstop Adam Pavkovich to push the lead to 4-1.

White continued his hot hitting in the top of the seventh as he drove in Stonard and Brown with a single to right field. Senior Brent Boyd scored on an infield single by Carlos Sosa to end the Tide's scoring for the night and give Alabama a 7-1 cushion.

Although Norris allowed a three-run eighth inning home run to Southeast Missouri's Vern Hatten, the Indians would come no closer as Alabama head Coach Jim Wells brought in freshman Taylor Tankersley in the ninth to collect his second save of the day.

The win gives Alabama 50 wins for the fourth time under the tutelage of Wells.

Donnie Fuller took the loss for the Indians dropping his record to 3-2. Southeast Missouri finishes the season having tied their school record for victories with 37.

Alabama and Florida Atlantic are scheduled to play at 2:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon. If Alabama wins then a second game between the two teams will be played 45 minutes after the completion of the first game. Tickets still remain and can be purchased at the stadium.

ALABAMA BASEBALL POST-GAME NOTES

Saturday, June 1, 2002 -- Alabama 7, SE Missouri State 4
  • Alabama's 7-4 win over Southeast Missouri State sends the Crimson Tide to the championship game of the 2002 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional against the Florida Atlantic Blue Wave. Alabama must beat FAU twice on Sunday to advance to the Super Regionals next weekend.
  • The Alabama-FAU championship game begins at 2 p.m. (CT). In addition, Alabama has advanced to the championship round in every NCAA Regional under Jim Wells. Alabama has also never won fewer than three NCAA Regionals games under Wells. The Crimson Tide is 2-1 this year entering its Sunday date with FAU.
  • Alabama is 9-3 in NCAA Regional elimination games under Wells, winning two games today against Auburn and SE Missouri State. The Crimson Tide is 39-17 all-time in NCAA Regional play, including a 15-1 record here at home in NCAA Regional action.
  • Alabama won its 50th game of the season tonight, its fourth 50-win season under Wells. The Crimson Tide also won 50 games in 1996 (50-19), 1997 (56-14) and 1999 (53-16). The 56 wins in 1997 is the single-season school record.
  • Senior catcher Jeremy Brown walked three times in the win over SEMO to set the UA single-season record with 68 walks. The previous record was 66 walks held by Bret Elbin in 1983. Brown tied the record with a walk in the fourth inning and set the record when he walked in the seventh inning.
  • Alabama scored three runs on four hits in the fifth inning to take a 3-0 lead over SEMO. Prior to the inning, the Crimson Tide had only one hit in 13 at-bats in the tournament with runners in scoring position. In the fifth inning, UA was 3-for-3 with three RBI.
  • Sophomore second baseman Peter Stonard recorded two hits in the game to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Stonard extended the streak with an RBI double in the Crimson Tide's three-run fifth inning.
  • Sophomore left hander Jeffrey Norris tied his career high with eight strikeouts in the win over SEMO. Norris also recorded eight strikeouts in a win over Mississippi Valley State on Mar. 12. The MVSU game was his first career start for Alabama.
  • In three post-season appearances, Norris is 2-0 with one save and allowed only five earned runs in 18 2/3 innings on the mound.
  • Freshman left hander Taylor Tankersley saved both games on Saturday for the Crimson Tide. Tankersley recorded the final two outs in the win over SEMO for his seventh save of the 2002 season. Earlier in the day, he pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to beat Auburn 6-3. He escaped bases loaded jams in both the seventh and ninth innings against the Tigers.
  • Sophomore left fielder Chad White had three hits and two RBI in the win over SEMO. His two-run bases-loaded single in the seventh inning gave the Crimson Tide a 6-1 lead.
  • SEMO second baseman Clemente Bonilla extended his hitting streak to 20 games with an eighth inning single.

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