Tide Rolls Smoothly Along

Alabama's 11th-ranked baseball team had a two encouraging pitchers' outings and a pushed across five runs Wednesday night in its shutout win over Mississippi Valley State (20-21) Friday night.


Jake McCarter started the game for Alabama (28-12 overall, 10-5 SEC) and gave up just four hits in seven innings, picking up his sixth win of the season.

"That was the best he's pitched all year, so it was a good first step," Alabama Coach Jim Wells said.

Wells envisions McCarter possibly working his way into the weekend bullpen rotation. Mid-week play ends in a week with Alabama's final non-conference game against UAB at the Hoover Met next Wednesday.

"Jake threw better and got the ball down," Wells said. "You'd like to have had a bigger lead to take him out."

Alabama could use the help in the bullpen. Jordan Davis and David Roberston have been the only two relievers to pitch for Alabama in the past two weekends.

Josh Copeland, who was expected to be a top pitcher out of the bullpen when the year began, also had an encouraging two innings of work for the Crimson Tide Wednesday night. He went two innings without giving up a hit, and was a strike away from closing the game before he issued two walks in the ninth.

Copeland came back and struck out the last batter of the game after the walks.

Alabama freshman Jeff Texada took full advantage of his first start of the season with three hits in three at-bats. Texada started at shortstop in place of Greg Paiml. Texada was one of three subbing for regular starters, as Matt Bentley got the start at first (in place of Spencer Pennington) and David Ferazza started behind the plate (in place of Kody Valverde).

Leadoff man Emeel Salem had three hits in the game after a four-hit outing Sunday at LSU, and Alex Avila followed his four-hit performance at LSU on Sunday with two hits Wednesday, which included a two-run double extending the Tide's lead to 4-0.

Alabama hosts Vanderbilt in a three-game series beginning Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

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