Bama's Robert Shuts Down Vols Offense

For six innings Alabama pitcher Bernard Robert flirted with a no-hitter en route to a complete game four-hit performance which led Alabama to a 9-1 victory over Tennesee at Sewell-Thoms Stadium in Tuscaloosa Saturday afternoon.

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Alabama, who scored a 9-7 win over the Vols Friday night, will go for a sweep in the Southeastern Conference opening series Sunday at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on CSS.

"He did what he had to do and it was beautiful," Alabama Head Coach Jim Wells said. "Probably the best game he's pitched here. We needed him to go deep into it and he did it. It was a team effort but he spearheaded it."

Robert is known as a off-speed pitcher, but on Saturday he added more fastballs into the mix along with a change-up and curveball.

"It's not necessarily stuff with him, but command," Wells said, "and he trusted his fastball more today."

He faced one over the minimum number of batters through six innings before Tennessee's Danny Lima lined a single through the middle to lead off the seventh inning.

"The more you attack it with the fastball the fewer pitches you're going to throw and that's what I needed to do to go deep in the game today," Robert said. "We're kinda injured with some pitchers and my goal was to try to get into the ninth inning today."

After giving up the first hit in the sixth, Robert cruised through the next eight batters until Lima picked up another hit with one out in the ninth inning. Yan Gomes and Tony Dellmonico followed with singles to drive across Tennessee's only run of the day before Robert finished off the next two batters for the complete game.

Robert struck out seven men, walked two batters and hit one man in 118 pitches, improving his record to 3-3 and lowering his ERA to 3.64. It was the longest outing of his Alabama career, but it was his second complete game since he threw a complete game in a seven inning affair at South Carolina last season.

The Alabama bats stayed warm on the heels of a 17-hit performance Friday night, following up with 12 hits (including two home runs, a triple and a double) Saturday.

Bama had big innings were the seventh and the fourth, scoring four and three runs respectively. First baseman Matt Bentley hit a two-out, two-run homer deep over the right field wall to give Alabama a 9-0 lead, following up on Jake Smith's two-run shot in the trees outside of left field three batters earlier.

In the fourth, Alabama sent seven men to the plate and scored three runs of four singles and a walk.

The Crimson Tide manufactured runs early in the game, starting when Emeel Salem walked to lead off the game and scored on a Kent Matthes two-out triple.

Greg Paiml singled and stole second in the third inning before scoring on a single by Alex Avila.


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