Baseball and BBQ

The 28th annual GrandSlammers preseason barbecue highlights a busy weekend for the University of Alabama baseball team. In addition to the preseason barbecue, Alabama will hold its final three scrimmages this weekend.

The team will scrimmage Friday, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 5 at 9:30 a.m. All scrimmages are free and open to the public.

The preseason barbecue will be held this Sunday, Feb. 5 from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. in the Scholarship Room at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The cost is $10 per person.

"This is one of the highlights of the season," Alabama Head Baseball Coach Jim Wells said. "The GrandSlammers do a tremendous job and we really appreciate their efforts at this event and throughout the entire season."

Fans attending the barbecue will have the opportunity to meet the 2006 Crimson Tide baseball squad and getting a detailed scouting report on the upcoming season from Coach Wells. Alabama baseball posters, schedule cards and season ticket brochures will also be available.

Those attending the barbecue will have the opportunity to purchase 2006 official Alabama GrandSlammers merchandise, including t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, golf shirts, pullovers and caps. A silent auction will also be held at the event.

Alabama GrandSlammers memberships are still available for $100 per person, which includes two free tickets to the barbecue.

Fans attending scrimmages this weekend will notice a few improvements at the Joe this season. A new sound system was installed and additional speakers have been added to cover the entire ballpark. Fans will also be able to utilize handrails this season in the upper and lower levels of Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Alabama will open the 2006 season next weekend when it hosts No. 28 Winthrop at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The season opener is set for Friday, Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. The two teams will also play Saturday, Feb. 11 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. Winthrop, the defending Big South Conference champions, opens the 2006 this weekend at Miami, Fla., in the newly renovated Alex Rodriguez Park.

The National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association announced today that University of Alabama sophomore right-hander David Robertson was named to the preseason watch list for the organization's second annual "Stopper of the Year Award", presented to college baseball's best closer.

Robertson, the guy who begins his wind-up like he's looking down the barrel of a rifle, led Alabama with 32 appearances last season and was named Freshman All-SEC and Freshman All-American by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

As a freshman, Robertson posted a 7-5 record with eight saves and a 2.92 ERA. He worked 74 innings and allowed 48 hits, 28 runs and 24 earned runs, with 36 walks and 105 strikeouts.

He established the UA rookie record with those 105 strikeouts, breaking the previous mark of 98 set by Wade LeBlanc in 2004. Robertson also set the UA single-season record with 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, breaking the previous record of 12.6 held by Alan Dunn in 1981.

Robertson led the SEC in opponents' batting average (.183) and fewest hits allowed (48) and ranked fourth in games finished (23) and saves (8), fifth in appearances (32), sixth in relief appearances (29), eighth in strikeouts (105) and 10th in ERA (2.92).

Of the 30 pitchers who make up the initial 2006 watch list, 21 were ranked among the nation's Top 50 in saves at the end of the 2005 season.

The 2006 NCBWA "Stopper of the Year" Watch List
David Robertson (RHP, So., Alabama) Daniel Best (RHP, Sr., Southern Miss)
Gerard Breslin (RHP, Jr., LaSalle)
Tyler Chambliss (RHP, Jr., Florida State)
Bryce Cox (RHP, Sr., Rice)
Don Czyz (RHP, Sr., Kansas)
Milan Dinga (RHP, Jr., Army)
Blair Erickson (RHP, Jr., UC Irvine)
Kevin Gunderson (LHP, Oregon State)
Brian Halford (RHP, Sr., Louisville)
Jonathan Hovis (RHP, Sr., North Carolina)
Brett Jensen (RHP, Sr., Nebraska)
Paul Koss (RHP, Jr., USC)
Casey Lambert (LHP, Jr., Virginia)
Ryan LaMotta (RHP, Baylor)
Daniel Latham (Jr., RHP, Tulane)
Mike McBryde (RHP, Jr., Florida Atlantic)
Mark Melancon (RHP, Jr., Arizona)
Rory Meister (RHP, So., Ohio State)
Mark Murray (RHP, Jr., Evansville)
Darren O'Day (RHP, Sr., Florida)
Vinnie Pestano (RHP, Jr., Cal State Fullerton)
Chris Perez (RHP, Jr., Miami, Florida)
Scott Reese (RHP, Jr., Creighton)
Steve Richard (RHP, Jr., Clemson)
Will Savage (RHP, Sr., Oklahoma)
Kevin Schneider (RHP, Sr., Monmouth)
Damon Sublett (RHP, So., Wichita State)
Eric Walker (RHP, Sr., UNC Charlotte)
Sean Watson (RHP, Jr., Tennessee)

compiled from UA Media Relations.

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