Tide Edges Southeast Louisiana, 5-4

Alabama made the most out of just four hits, while senior second baseman Evan Bush and freshman designated hitter Alex Avila each hit home runs leading the eighth-ranked Tide baseball team past Southeastern Louisiana 5-4 in Hammond on Wednesday night.

Box Score

Avila smashed a one-out solo home run in the sixth inning off losing pithcer Chad Catalano to break a 4-4 tie and give the Crimson Tide a one-run lead. Avila's second home run of the season cleared the wall in right center field on a 0-1 pitch.

Catalano (0-1) pitched a career-high 6 1/3 innings and allowed five runs and four hits, with three walks and no strikeouts. The four hits equaled the fewest of the season by Alabama.

"We hung on to win another middle of the week game," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "Avila and Bush hit home runs and accounted for three of our five runs tonight."

SE Louisiana put the would-be tying runs on base in each of the last three innings, but could not muster the tying run against starter junior right-hander Jake McCarter and senior right hander Jordan Davis.

McCarter (5-0) held the Lions to four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings for his fifth win of the year. He added three strikeouts and walked one batter.

Davis pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings for his second save of the season. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck out three batters. Davis stranded a one-out double in the eighth and got defensive help in the ninth when senior catcher Kody Valverde threw out Brian Frichter in an attempt to steal third base for the second out. Davis then whiffed Richard Imhoff to end the game.

SE Louisiana (14-18) scored three runs on four hits in the bottom of the first inning to take a 3-0 lead. Kyle Ginn plated the first two runs with a two-out double to right field. Will Peay followed with sharp single up the middle to give the Lions a 3-0 lead.

Alabama (26-10) got a run back in the top of the second inning when sophomore first baseman Matt Bentley doubled into the right field corner to open the inning. Bentley took third on a passed ball by SLU catcher Tony Suarez and scored on senior third baseman Matt Downs ground out to shortstop to make it a 3-1 game.

The Crimson Tide scored three runs in the top of the third inning, with two runs crossing the plate on Bush's two-run home run, to take a 4-3 lead. Junior shortstop Greg Paiml led off the inning with a triple to right center and scored on junior center fielder Emeel Salem's ground out to second base. Junior left fielder Brandon Belcher walked and scored on Bush's fourth home run of the season.

The Lions tied the game in the bottom of the ininng when Ryan Spencer doubled to right to lead off the inning and scored on Ginn's one-out single up the middle. Ginn was 3-for-4 with three RBI in the loss.

Avila then gave the Tide the lead for good with his second home run of the year.

Alabama continues its seven-game road trip with a three-game series at No. 20 LSU this weekend at Alex Box Stadium. The series opener is Friday, April 14 at 6:30 p.m.

GAME NOTES:

*Alabama played its first-ever game in Hammond, La. on Wednesday night. The Crimson Tide leads the all-time series with the Lions 8-0 and seven of the first eight games were in Tuscaloosa.

*Junior RHP Bernard Robert (Denham Springs, La.) was a two-time All-Southland Conference pitcher at SE Louisiana in 2004 and 2005. He made his collegiate debut at Alabama during the 2004 season.

*Paiml led off the third inning with his team-leading fourth triple of the season.

*Chad Catalano made his first start of the season against Alabama. He entered the game with no decisions this season in just seven games. Catalano had pitched 9 1/3 innings and allowed 13 hits, 12 runs and nine earned runs, with eight walks and six strikeouts.


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