Tide Baseball On Road Midweek

The Alabama baseball team will be on the road this week for a midweek game, and then will host Mississippi State in an important Southeastern Conference series this weekend.



Alabama will go to Pearl, Mississippi, to take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in a non-conference game Wednesday. The Tide and USM will play at u p.m. CDT Wednesday at Trustmark Park.

Bama returns to Sewell-Thomas Stadium this weekend to host Mississippi State in SEC competition. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs are scheduled to play single games at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. The Sunday game will be regionally-telecast by CSS.

Alabama is 20-17 overall and 6-9 in SEC play. Midway through conference competition the Tide is tied for second place in the SEC Western Division.

Alabama is coming off a week in which the Tide went 3-2, but unfortunately winning only one of three games in SEC play. Bama was 1-2 at Knoxville, winning the first game at Knoxville by an 11-10 score, then losing 13-5 and 6-4.

Prior to the SEC road trip, Alabama had defeated Mississippi Valley State, 12-4, and Southeastern Louisiana, 7-0, in midweek home games.

Alabama nominated shortstop Josh Rutledge as SEC Freshman of the Week. Rutledge was the Tide's leading hitter, batting .545 (12-for-22) with two doubles, five runs scored and five RBI. He compiled .560 on-base percentage and a .636 slugging mark for the week. He finished the week with four multiple hit games. In the three-game series at Tennessee, Rutledge was 7-for-15 (.467) with a pair of three hit games. He went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and career-high three RBI in the Tide's 12-4 win over Mississippi Valley State. He was also 2-for-3 with two runs scored against SE Louisiana. He is riding a 13-game hitting streak, where he is batting .456 (26-for-57) with 11 runs scored, four doubles and 10 RBI. He has also hit safely in 14 of 15 SEC games this season, including an 11-game SEC hitting streak. During the 11-game SEC hitting streak, Rutledge is batting .453 (24-for-53) with eight runs scored, three doubles and four RBI.

Notes from UofA Media Relations:

*Alabama (20-17, 6-9 SEC) completed the first half of the 2008 SEC season this weekend tied for second place in the SEC Western Division, just three games behind division leader Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide dropped two of three at Tennessee this past weekend and has lost all three road series this year to No. 4 Kentucky, LSU and Tennessee. Alabama has two home series wins over No. 4 Vanderbilt and No. 15 Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide will play three home series and two road series during the second half of the SEC season, including back-to-back series with Mississippi State (April 18-20) and Auburn (April 25-27) the next two weekends.

*The Crimson Tide hit .322 (37-for-115) in the three-game series against the Vols with seven home runs and 19 RBI. The seven home runs were the most by Alabama in an SEC series since the Tide also clubbed seven home runs at LSU (April 15-17) during the 2006 season.

*Alabama matched its season-high with four home runs in the series opener against Tennessee. The Crimson Tide also hit four home runs in a 15-7 win against Youngstown State on March 7 in Tuscaloosa. The Tide and Volunteers combined for seven home runs in the first game of Saturday's double header.

*Sophomore left fielder Brandon May (Marietta, Ga.) hit two home runs in the Tennessee series and now has five home runs this season. May has homered in three of the Tide's first five SEC series, including back-to-back SEC games against LSU (April 6) and Tennessee (April 12). May has also homered in three of his last four SEC games.

*May is also riding a six-game hitting streak, where he is batting .583 (14-for-24) with five runs scored, five doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI.

*Sophomore third baseman Jake Smith (Shannon, Ala.) hit his third home run of the season to give Alabama a 4-1 lead in the second inning. Smith homered in back-to-back SEC games against LSU (April 6) and Tennessee (April 12) and all three of his home runs this season have from the No. 9 spot in the batting order.

*Senior first baseman Matt Bentley and junior catcher Mike Sharp hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning as the Tide took a 9-7 lead. The last time Alabama hit back-to-back home runs was March 7, 2008 when Ross Wilson and Alex Avila hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning in a 15-7 win over Youngstown State. Bentley's two-run home run in the sixth inning gave Alabama an 8-7 lead. It was Bentley's eighth home run of the season, tying Alex Avila for the team lead. Sharp gave the Tide a 9-7 lead with his first career home runs in the sixth inning. Sharp is the 12th different Alabama player to hit a home run this season.

*Freshman shortstop Josh Rutledge (Cullman, Ala.) extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a two-out single up the middle in the third inning in the series finale at UT. During the hitting streak, Rutledge is batting .456 (26-for-57) with 11 runs scored, four doubles and 10 RBI. He has also hit safely in 14 of 15 SEC games this season, including an 11-game SEC hitting streak. During the 11-game SEC hitting streak, Rutledge is batting .453 (24-for-53) with eight runs scored, three doubles and four RBI. For the season, Rutledge is UA's leading hitter with a .387 (59-for-155) with 34 runs scored, six extra base hits and 15 RBI in 35 games. In 15 SEC games, Rutledge is hitting .403 (27-for-67) with three doubles, five RBI and 10 runs scored.

*Alabama suffered its first loss of the season in the series finale against Tennessee when leading after six innings. The Crimson Tide is now 19-1 when leading after six innings. The Tide is also 0-13 when trailing after six innings.

*Alabama and Tennessee's 7-8-9 hitters had big days at the plate on Saturday, going a combined 13-for-23 (.565) with eight runs scored, four home runs and 10 RBI. Alabama's trio was 6-for-12 with six runs scored, three home runs and seven RBI. Tennessee's 7-8-9 hitters were 7-for-11 with two runs scored, one home run and three RBI.

*Alabama rapped out a season-high 18 hits in the win over Mississippi Valley State. The previous high was 17 hits in a 17-2 win at North Alabama on March 11, 2008 in Florence, Ala. In its last three games, Alabama has 31 hits. Junior center fielder Alex Kubal and sophomore third baseman Jake Smith were the only UA starter without a hit on Tuesday.

*Sophomore right fielder Tyler Odle went 3-for-3 with a solo home run and scored five runs in the win over Mississippi Valley State. The solo home run in the third inning was his first of the season and second of his UA career. The five runs scored were a career high and the most by an Alabama player since Casey Lambert scored five runs in a 26-7 win at Kentucky on March 18, 2001. The UA single-game record for runs scored is six held by Craig Shipley in 1984.

*Senior RHP Josh Copeland extended his scoreless innings streak to 16 2/3 innings with two scoreless outings at Tennessee. The senior had not allowed a run since March 8 against Youngstown State, a streak of 10 scoreless relief appearances. He has not allowed a run in last 12 SEC regular season relief appearances, dating back to the 2007 season. He has nine scoreless outings in SEC play this season. Overall, Copeland is 2-1 with four saves and a 0.72 ERA in 14 appearances for the Tide.

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