Quigley Shuts Out Jacksonville State

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – The combination of dominant pitching, timely hitting and near flawless defense propelled The University of Alabama baseball team to 5-0 win over Jacksonville State in front of 1,992 fans at Rudy Abbott Field Wednesday night.



Junior left-hander Miers Quigley pitched a complete shutout, the first by an Alabama pitcher since Wade LeBlanc blanked Florida International on Feb. 24, 2006. It marked Alabama's first shutout since beating Nebraska 8-0 on March 9, 2007.

Quigley held the Gamecocks to four singles en route to his first career complete game for the Tide. He struck out a season-high eight and added three walks and two hit batters. He improved to 2-1 on the season as the Tide won its fourth straight game.

"Quigley pitched very well," Alabama Coach Jim Wells said. "He is a very capable pitcher. He filled up the zone and threw all of his pitches for strikes. He kept the ball down in the zone and mixed his pitches very well."

JSU (9-13) rapped into double plays in the sixth and seventh innings and Quigley escaped a bases loaded jam in the eighth inning, by striking out pinch-hitter Jay Harrington.

The Gamecocks loaded the bases on two Alabama errors and a hit batter in the eighth, prompting a visit from Wells.

"Coach Wells told me it was mine to keep," Quigley said. "He mainly came out to tell me about the pinch hitter. He wanted me to stay off speed and things worked out well."

Alabama (13-11) gave Quigley all the run support he would need with a three-run third inning off losing pitcher John David Smelser, a Tuscaloosa native and Hillcrest High School graduate.

Junior designated hitter Ryan Rhoden, sophomore third baseman Jake Smith and freshman shortstop Josh Rutledge opened the third inning with three straight singles, with Rutledge's RBI single to right scoring Rhoden with the first run. After a balk on Smelser, freshman Ross Wilson followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Smith with the second run. Junior catcher Alex Avila capped the inning with an RBI single up the middle to score Rutledge as UA took a 3-0 lead.

Smelser (1-2) lasted three innings and gave up three runs on four hits, with two strikeouts, two walks and two balks for the Gamecocks.

Alabama increased its lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning on Rutledge's two-out single to right to score junior center fielder Tyler Odle. The inning began with Odle's single to left field, which extended his hitting streak to seven games. He later stole second base and scored on Rutledge's base hit.

Senior first baseman Matt Bentley's fifth home run of the year to straight-away center field pushed the Tide's lead to 5-0 in the eighth inning.

Jax State managed only four singles in the loss.

Alabama returns home to host the Ole Miss Rebels in a three-game Southeastern Conference series, beginning Friday, March 28 at 6:35 p.m. (CST). The series opener will also feature a post-game fireworks show as "Friday Night Fireworks" continue at the Joe.

GAME NOTES:

*Miers Quigley improved to 2-1 on the season with his first career complete-game shutout against Jacksonville State on Wednesday night. It was the first complete-game shutout by an Alabama pitcher since Wade LeBlanc shutout Florida International on Feb. 24, 2006. It also marked Alabama's first shutout since beating Nebraska 8-0 on March 9, 2007.

*Quigley struck out a season-high eight batters in the win and logged UA's second complete game on the mound in the last five games.

*Alabama junior center fielder Tyler Odle extended his career-best hitting streak to seven games with a lead off single to left field to open the fourth inning. Odle is batting .409 (9-for-22) during the streak.

*Alabama junior first baseman Wes Henderson returned to his native Calhoun County to take on the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. Henderson was a three-time all-state selection at Oxford High School, which is located about 12 miles from the JSU campus. Henderson batted .411 with 36 home runs and 154 RBI in his prep career. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2003 Calhoun County Baseball Tournament, played in Jacksonville.

*Jax State freshman John David Smelser is a Tuscaloosa native and graduate of Hillcrest High School. He led the Patriots to the 2006 Class 6A state championship after hitting .469 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI as senior. He also added 23 doubles. For his efforts he was named Mr. Baseball by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

*JSU freshman first baseman Jake Welch is the younger brother of former Tide first baseman Zac Welch. Jake has not seen action for the Gamecocks this season and appears headed for a redshirt season. His older brother, Zac, hit .305 (198-for-650) during his four-year career at Alabama with 16 home runs and 135 RBI. Welch played in 198 games for the Tide.

*Jax State third base coach Travis Janssen worked for two years (2002-03) under UA assistant coach Mitch Gaspard, while at Northwestern State. Gaspard was the head coach at NSU from 2002-07. Janssen was also the volunteer coach at Arkansas from 1998-2001. He was a part of the Razorbacks 1999 SEC Championship team that posted a 22-8 league record (Alabama was 21-9 that year).

*JSU volunteer coach Shayne Kelley is a 2006 Alabama graduate and was an assistant coach for the Tide under Jim Wells from 1996-99.

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