Bama Baseball Spikes Canisius

he No. 20 University of Alabama baseball team scored three runs in each of the first two innings and then erupted for eight runs in the seventh inning en route to an easy 18-2 win over Canisius College on a frigid night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The 18 runs scored were the most by Alabama since beating McNeese State 23-1 on March 6, 2005.

Senior center fielder Emeel Salem led the Crimson Tide's 17-hit attack with two hits and matched his career high with four RBI in the win. He had a two-run single in the second inning and scored three runs.

Sophomore right fielder Kent Matthes and junior designated hitter Matt Bentley had two hits and two RBI each. Senior shortstop Greg Paiml added two doubles and scored two runs in the win. In all, 13 different Alabama players tallied at least one hit in Friday night's win.

Alabama (4-1) scored three times in the first and second innings to take a 6-0 lead. In the first inning, Alabama took advantage of three straight walks by Canisius starter Matt Weber to open the game. Weber then hit sophomore first baseman Alex Avila to force in a run with the bases loaded and Matthes capped the inning with a two-run single to right.

Alabama doubled its lead to 6-0 in the second inning on Salem's two-run single and a sacrifice fly by Jake Smith.

Weber (0-1) lasted four innings and allowed six runs on four hits, with seven walks and no strikeouts in the loss.

Canisius (0-1) plated a two unearned runs in the fifth inning to chase Alabama starter Casey Kebodeaux. A two-out walk and back-to-back errors put the Griffins on the board. Alec Cabello walked and scored on second baseman Jeff Texada's throwing error and Perry Silverman singled and later scored on Paiml's error at short.

Kebodeuax allowed one unearned run and four hits in 4 2/3 innings, with two walks and six strikeouts. He was not involved in the decision.

Sophomore right-hander Austin Hyatt (1-0) earned his first career win in relief of Kebodeaux. The Marietta, Ga, native threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings and added two strikeouts. He has not allowed a run in three outings this season out of the pen.

The Crimson Tide offense put four runs on the board in the fifth inning to take a 10-2 lead. Matthes and Rhoden greeted reliever Mike Boag with back-to-back singles and Bentley followed with a two-run double into the right field corner to give Alabama an 8-2 lead. Paiml's one-out RBI double scored Bentley and Salem's infield ground out chased Paiml home with the 10-2 lead.

Alabama sent 13 men to the plate in an eight-run, eight-hit inning that produced five extra base hits. Freshman second baseman Brandon May and freshman third baseman Jake Smith each had triple in the inning, while sophomore first baseman Wes Henderson, sophomore left fielder Kyle Moore and freshman designated hitter Del Howell had RBI doubles in the inning. Texada and Salem had RBI singles in the inning, while Smith added an RBI triple.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday at 3 p.m. (CST). Sophomore right hander Tommy Hunter (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his second start of the season for the Crimson Tide, while Canisius will counter with sophomore right hander Alex MacKenzie.

GAME NOTES:

*The temperature at game time was 35 degrees with a five mile-per-hour wind (WSW), making the wind chill 31 degrees. The temperature in Buffalo, N.Y., the home of Canisius College, was 14 degrees at first pitch with snow.

*This was the first meeting between Alabama and Canisius. Alabama improves to 4-0 all-time against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference teams, including a three-game series sweep of Niagara in 1999. The Alabama game marked the first time Canisius has faced an SEC team. The Golden Griffins will also play at Kentucky on March 13-14.

*Alabama has scored in the first inning in all five games. The Crimson Tide has outscored its first five opponents 10-0 in the first inning this season.

*Alabama scored a season-high eight runs in the seventh inning and had tallied five extra base hits, including three doubles and two triples.

*The 18 runs scored were the most by Alabama since a 23-1 win over McNeese State on March 6, 2005.

*Alabama used a total of 21 players in the win over Canisius.

*Canisius pitchers walked nine batters in the loss and did not record a strikeout.

*Senior center fielder Emeel Salem (Mountain Brook) matched his career-high with four RBI in the win. Salem also had four RBI in last year's 13-1 win over Jacksonville State in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional.

*Sophomore first baseman Wes Henderson (Oxford) had an RBI double in his first at-bat of the season during the Tide's eight-run seventh inning.

*Freshman Del Howell (Tuscaloosa) made his Alabama debut and collected an RBI double in his first collegiate at-bat in the seventh inning.

*Freshman Brock Bennett (Tucker, Ga.) made is Alabama debut and stroked a first-pitch single to right field in the eight-run seventh inning.

*Left-hander Brian Griggs (Melbourne, Fla.) made his Alabama debut on the mound with two scoreless innings of relief. He allowed two hits and struck out one batter.


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