Tide Takes Advantage In Baseball Victory

The University of Alabama baseball team took advantage of 11 walks and three errors to post a 12-6 win over Jacksonville State in a marathon game at Sewell-Thomas Stadium Tuesday night in Tuscaloosa. The teams play again tonight in Jacksonville.



Alabama junior right fielder Kent Matthes went 2-for-3 with five RBI to lead the Tide offense. Junior DH Alex Avila was 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored. Junior center fielder Tyler Odle had one hit and two RBI for the Tide.

Alabama and Jacksonville State used a combined six pitchers and the team's combined for 19 walks, eight wild pitches, five errors and one hit batter in the game. The teams also turned five double plays, including four by Alabama.

"It was a sloppy game to say the least," Matthes said following the game. "When you put up 12 runs, you don't really have to have a lot of pitching."

Alabama (12-11) scored quickly with four runs in the bottom of the first inning, taking advantage of some wildness by JSU starter Justin King, who walked four batters and uncorked two wild pitches. After freshman second baseman Ross Wilson reached on a one-out infield single, before King walked the next three Alabama batters as the Tide took a 1-0 lead. Senior first baseman Matt Bentley's bases loaded walk scored Wilson.

Avila scored from third on a wild pitch and Matthes' sac fly to right scored junior left fielder Brandon May with the third run. Bentley and junior center fielder Tyler Odle, who also drew a walk, executed the double-steal with Bentley stealing home to give the Tide a four-run lead.

JSU cut the lead to 4-1 in the third inning when John David Smelser, a Tuscaloosa native and Hillcrest High School graduate, drew a lead off walk and scored when Andrew Edge rapped into a double play.

Alabama scored four more runs in the bottom of the third inning, taking advantage of two JSU errors. The Tide scored two runs on a throwing error by Smelser at shortstop and added another run on an error by third baseman Matt McLaughlin. Odle drove in a run with an RBI single to right-center field to give the Tide an 8-1 lead.

King (1-2), who originally signed with Alabama, gave up six runs and two hits in two-plus innings. He also walked five batters.

Jax State (9-13) cut the lead to 8-3 in the top of the fourth inning on Daniel Adamson's two-run double with the bases loaded. Bert Smith walked to reload the bases with no outs and chase UA starter Del Howell. Junior right-hander Jamie Manning replaced Howell and struck out three straight JSU hitters to end the inning as the Gamecocks left the bases loaded for the second time in four innings.

Matthes delivered a two-run single to left in the bottom of the fourth inning to score May and Bentley to put the Tide in front 10-3.

The Gamecocks scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning was Manning allowed a single and three straight walks. Leach walked with the bases loaded to chase Manning and Adamson and Bert Smith had RBI ground outs off Nathan Kilcrease to cut the lead to 10-6.

Kilcrease (2-0) earned the win with five scoreless innings of relief and allowed five hits and struck out one.

The Crimson Tide doubled its lead to 12-6 with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Matthes had an RBI single and Odle drove in a run with ground out.

Alabama and Jax State will close out this two-game, home-and-home series with a 6:30 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday, March 26 at Rudy Abbott Field in Jacksonville, Ala.

GAME NOTES:

*Alabama junior Kyle Moore (Wetumpka, Ala.) made his first start of the season at catcher against Jacksonville State. Moore started 22 games behind the plate last season, including the final 20 games of the season.

*Alabama sophomore left-hander Del Howell (Tuscaloosa) made his first career start on the mound for the Tide.

*Alabama senior first baseman Matt Bentley (Huntsville, Ala.) stole home in the first inning for the second time in his career. Bentley also stole home in the Tide's 5-3, 10-inning win at No. 1 Vanderbilt on April 8, 2007 in Nashville. Bentley stole home off Vandy closer Casey Weathers to give the Tide a 4-3 lead.

*Tyler Odle extended his hitting streak to six games. He is 8-for-18 (.444) during the streak.

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