Freshman Smith Powers Tide Win

Freshman Jake Smith led a parade of Alabama batters to the plate with four of the Crimson Tide's 17 hits, as Alabama outslugged the Vols for a 9-7 win at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in the Southeastern Conference opener Friday night.

Smith's first inning blast over the scoreboard gave Alabama a 2-0 lead, and was followed by a solo home run by sophomore Alex Avila to give Alabama an early three run advantage.

Smith had been in a 5 of 22 slump before the Samford game earlier this week when he got three hits.

"He may struggle but you're going to see an adjustment," Alabama Head Coach Jim Wells said. "He's not going to get out the same way over and over. He made an adjustment tonight. The guy was all over the plate with curveballs and change-ups, and Jake Stayed back and waited on it. He's not getting out on the same pitches he was 10 days ago."

Bama scored two runs in the second inning and single runs in the fourth through seventh innings for a 9-2, then had to withstand a late rally from Tennessee, who had 12 hits in the game.

Left handed sophomore Miers Quigley started for Alabama and pitched all of his six-plus innings with a lead. He held the Vols to two runs through six but was touched up for three runs in the seventh inning forcing him from the game. By that time, however, Bama still had a 9-5 lead that would prove to be insurmountable.

Josh Copeland and Will Stroup each pitched two thirds of an inning, with Stroup giving up two runs before Tommy Hunter entered. He inherited two runners who scored on a base hit, but then got the final five outs to close out the game and earn his first save. Hunter struck out four men and allowed one hit while hitting a batter.

"Fastballs," Hunter said. "I got them out with fastballs. They hit the curveball when I threw it."

Emeel Salem went 3 for 5 in the game with three RBIs and a stolen base, the 69th of his career which set a new Crimson Tide record for stolen bases.

Matt Bentley was 3 for 4 in the game with two RBIs, while Jeff Texada and Brandon Belcher had two hits apiece. Eight men in Bama's lineup got at least one hit. Ryan Rhoden was shut out.

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