Matthes Caps Spectacular Week with 2 Homers

It was an incredible week of baseball for starting Alabama outfielder Kent Matthes.

On Sunday, Matthes hit two home runs to cap a week in which he went 7 for 15 with 10 RBI, four home runs, including and inside-the-park home run, and one triple.

His efforts Sunday helped Alabama to an 8-5 win over Canisius in the final game of the series. Alabam swept Canisius and improved its record to 6-1 on the season.

"Matthes is doing a nice job," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said after Sunday's win. "He is hitting the long ball and making great defensive plays. He is the guy we need to hit in the middle of the line up for us to be successful."

In addition to his work at the plate, Matthes robbed a Troy State hitter of a home run in the right-center field gap on Wednesday momentarily preserving a tie game.

Matthes is batting .414 on the year for Alabama (12 for 29) and has more hits in the second week of play as a sophomore (12) than he did in his entire freshman season (11).

Sophomore left-hander Miers Quigley threw five scoreless innings with a career-high eight strikeouts Sunday.

Quigley held the Griffins to one base hit in five scoreless innings for his first win of the season. The Roswell, Ga., also added a career-high seven strikeouts in the win.

The Crimson Tide (6-1) offense used a two-out rally and the long ball to take a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Freshman left fielder Brandon May drew a lead off walk and later scored on junior second baseman Kyle Moore's safety squeeze bunt to give UA a 1-0 lead.

Sophomore first baseman Alex Avila ripped a two-out, two-run double into the right field corner to score senior center fielder Emeel Salem Moore to extend the lead to 3-0. Matthes then hit his first of two home runs as he blasted a 2-0 fastball over the wall in left field to make it a 5-0 game.

Alabama added a run in the fourth on Salem's RBI triple to score senior shortstop Greg Paiml to make it a 6-0.

Matthes hit his second home run to give Alabama an 8-0 lead after five innings. Avila doubled into the left fielder corner to open the inning and then scored on Matthes' blast to right field. Canisius (0-3) scored two runs in the sixth inning of freshman left-hander Del Howell, who was making his pitching debut on the mound.

After Kevin Reimer drew a leadoff walk, Howell quickly retired the next two batters before Alex Cabello singled and Ian Choy reached on a fielder's choice as UA second baseman Kyle Moore failed to retire the runner at second base on Choy's ground ball.

Branson Joseph then stroked a two-run single up the middle to score Reimer and Cabello to cut the UA lead to 8-2. Howell walked Kevin Mahoney to load the bases before striking out pinch hitter Bryan Gibbs to end the inning.

The Griffins added three more runs off Howell to close the gap to 8-5 in the seventh inning. Reimer's RBI double cut the lead to 8-3 and Ryan Asis made it an 8-5 game with a two-run home run to left.

Howell allowed a base hit to Alec Cabello before leaving the game with one out in the seventh. The freshman allowed five runs and six hits in 1 1/3 innings in his UA debut.

Sophomore right-hander Austin Hyatt, who has four scoreless appearances out of the bullpen, wriggled out of the jam in the seventh inning and threw a scoreless eighth before turning the game over to junior right hander Josh Copeland.

After allowing a leadoff single in the ninth, Copeland retired the next three Griffins for his first career save.

After a rare midweek open date, Alabama will return to action this weekend when the Crimson Tide hosts the Villanova Wildcats in a three-game series beginning Friday, Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m. (CST). The teams will also play Saturday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 25 at 11 a.m.


*At 6-1, Alabama is off to its best start since the 2002 Crimson Tide team opened the season with a seven-game winning streak.

*Alabama built a 6-0 lead through four innings and has not outscored its opponents 36-1 in the first four innings this season.

*Junior Elvin Vargas (New York, N.Y.) made his first collegiate start on Sunday in right field. Vargas went 2-for-3 with a double and single in the win.

*Senior center fielder Emeel Salem (Mountain Brook) recorded his 11th career triple in the fourth inning to tie Allan Stallings (1982-85) and Andy Phillips (1996-99) for second place on the school's all-time list. G.W. Keller (1997-99) holds the UA career record with 12 triples. *Sophomore right-fielder Kent Matthes (Orlando, Fla.) went 2-for-4 in the series finale with two home runs and four RBI. It was his career multi home run game and the four RBI were also a career high. Matthes went 7-for-15 in four games this week, with four home runs and 10 RBI for the Crimson Tide. Through seven games, he is batting .414 (12-for-29) with four home runs and 14 RBI. He leads the club in hits, runs scored (9), home runs and RBI. He is the only UA player with at least one hit in all seven games.

*Sophomore left hander Miers Quigley (Roswell, Ga.) picked up his first win of the season with five scoreless innings and a career-high seven strikeouts. In three appearances this season, Quigley is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA. He has worked 12 innings and allowed six hits and one earned run, with five walks and 12 strikeouts.

*Alabama starters are 5-0 with a 0.49 ERA this season. UA starters have logged 36 1/3 innings and allowed four runs, two earned runs and 22 hits, with eight walks and 38 strikeouts.

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