Tide Baseball Blasts Nebraska

The 13th ranked University of Alabama baseball team scored in each of the first three innings and sophomore left-hander Miers Quigley held the University of Nebraska to just three hits over seven scoreless innings as the Crimson Tide won 8-0 to take the series opener Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Sophomore left fielder Ryan Rhoden and senior center fielder Emeel Salem homered in the win for Alabama. Freshman third baseman Jake Smith had two extra base hits and drove in the first run of the game with an RBI double in the first inning.

Alabama (13-4) built a six-run lead after three innings, which was more than enough support for Myers Quigley, who allowed three hits in seven shutout innings for his third win of the season. He walked four and struck out four in the 118-pitch effort.

Junior right-hander Josh Copeland retired six of the seven batters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings to preserve the Crimson Tide's second shutout of the season.

"Things went our way tonight," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "We scored some early runs and Quigley pitched really well. This was a good team win tonight."

Nebraska (6-5) put a runner on base in eight of the nine innings, but only advanced five of their 11 base runners into scoring position.

Alabama took a 1-0 lead just two batters into the game in the first inning. Salem singled to right field to lead off the game and scored on Smith's double down the right field line. Sophomore designated hitter Alex Avila's ground out moved Smith to third base, but he was stranded at third when Kent Matthes and Matt Bentley grounded out to end the inning.

The Crimson Tide used a pair of triples to score four runs in the second inning to take a 5-0 lead. May led off the inning with the triple down the right field line and scored on Avchen's RBI single to left to give UA a 2-0 lead. Paiml reached on an error by Nebraska catcher Jeff Lanning and Salem walked on four pitches to load the bases. After Smith popped up to right field, Avila tripled over the head of center fielder DJ Belfonte to clear the bases and put the Crimson Tide in front 5-0.

"Avila had the big hit in the second inning that broke the game open for us," Wells added.

Rhoden's one-out, solo home run in the third inning gave the Crimson Tide a 6-0 lead.

Alabama added two more runs in the sixth to take an 8-0 lead. Salem's one-out solo home run to right field gave UA a 7-0 lead. Smith followed with a double to chase NU starter Tony Watson. Relief pitcher Tim Scott then hit Avila to put runners on first and second with one out, before Bentley greeted reliever Mike Harmerlink with an RBI double to score Smith and push the Tide's lead to 8-0.

Watson (1-1) gave up eight runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings to take the loss for the Huskers.

DJ Belfonte had two of Nebraska's three hits in the loss.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday at 4 p.m. Sophomore right-hander Casey Kebodeaux (2-1, 1.42 ERA) is the scheduled starter for Alabama. Nebraska will counter with sophomore right hander Charlie Shriek (1-2, 5.93 ERA).

GAME NOTES:

*Alabama posted its second shutout win of the season tonight against Nebraska. The Crimson Tide also shutout UAB 16-0 on Feb. 28 in Tuscaloosa. The 8-0 win over Nebraska is the 41st shutout by the Crimson Tide under head coach Jim Wells and the first against a nationally ranked team since a 4-0 win over LSU during the 2005 season.

*Nebraska's 200-game scoring streak came to end on Friday night. The Huskers have scored in 531 of their last 532 games. The 8-0 loss at Alabama marked the first time since 1998 Nebraska has been shtuout on the road.

*The Crimson Tide scored five runs in the first two innings against Nebraska, which is one more run than Alabama scored in the three-game series at Nebraska last season. The Cornhuskers outscored the Crimson Tide 13-4 in the three-game sweep. Alabama's four-run second inning equaled the number of runs the Crimson Tide scored last year in Lincoln.

*Sophomore catcher Ryan Rhoden (Tuscaloosa) hit his second career home run and first of the season with one out in the third inning. The home run ended a drought of 66 games and 216 at-bats without a home run for Rhoden. His only other home run came last year against Birmingham Southern. Rhoden had two hits in the win over Nebraska and has reached base safley in all 16 games this year.

*Senior center fielder Emeel Salem (Mountain Brook) had two hits, including a solo home run, in the win over Nebraska. Salem has reached base in all 17 games this year for Alabama.

*Freshman third baseman Jake Smith (Hueytown) had two doubles in Friday's win and has reached base in all 12 games he has played this year.

*Sophomore left hander Miers Quigley (Roswell, Ga.) threw seven scoreless innings against Nebraska for his second straight quality start. He lowered his to 1.15 after Friday's win.

*Alabama and Nebraska are playing the back end of a home-and-home series. The two teams met last season at Haymarket Park in Lincoln, with the Cornhuskers winning all three games. Alabama (14) and Nebraska (6) have combined for 20 conference baseball championships and eight trips to Omaha in their baseball history. In football lore, Nebraska (43) and Alabama (21) have won 64 conference championships and 17 national titles, including 12 by the Crimson Tide.


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