Tide Baseball Gets Win Over Vols

Alabama junior first baseman Brandon May hit his second grand slam of the season and senior right-hander Austin Hyatt took a perfect game into the sixth inning as the Crimson Tide defeated Tennessee 9-2 in the Southeastern Conference series opener at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Friday night.

May had two hits and broke open a close game with a grand slam in a five-run fourth inning that gave the Tide a 6-0 lead.

Hyatt (5-1) turned in his first complete game of the season en route to the win. He held the Vols to two run on three hits, with six strikeouts and one walk. He retired the first 15 batters he faced before allowing two runs and three hits in the sixth inning, the only inning in which UT had more than one base runner.

"May gets the big hit and Hyatt pitched the best he has all year," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "He had a good rhythm and threw a lot of strikes. We had one inning that almost got away from us, but he did a good job and made some good pitches to their best hitters."

Alabama (18-10, 4-6 SEC) had seven base runners in the first three innings, but managed only one run on senior designated hitter Tyler Odle's RBI single to right to put the Tide in front 1-0 in the second inning.

The Tide's hitting fortunes changed in the fourth inning when May hit his second career grand slam to put the Tide up 6-0. Senior center fielder Alex Kubal and freshman left fielder Taylor Dugas reached on back-to-back one-out singles and sophomore shortstop Josh Rutledge walked to load the bases. Sophomore second baseman Ross Wilson followed with an RBI single to left to score Kubal and give the Tide a 2-0 lead.

Wilson's base hit chased UT starter Aaron Tullo out of the game and May greeted reliever Stephen McCray with a grand slam down the right field line to make it 6-0. It was May's fourth home run of the season.

"It was big hit," May said. "It was a fastball away and I put a good swing on it," May added. "We are a good offensive team and we know we are going to score runs. It might not be in the first four innings, but we know we are going to get our runs."

Tullo (1-4) worked 3 1/3 innings and gave up five runs and four hits, four strikeouts and three walks. He also hit one batter and had one throwing error.

Vin DeFazio stroked a solo home run to left to lead off the fifth inning to push the lead to 7-0. It was his fifth home run of the season.

Hyatt (5-1) retired the first 15 Tennessee batters before the Vols scored two runs on three hits in the sixth inning to cut the lead to 7-2. Mike Hornsby drove in the first run with a bases-loaded single to right and Josh Liles plated the second run with a sacrifice fly.

"For the most part, I just threw fastballs," Hyatt said. "They are a pretty free-swinging team. I got a lot of pop flies and the defense made the plays behind me. I was able to keep the pitch count down pretty well because I was able to get ahead in the count."

Tennessee (12-17, 1-9 SEC) had only one other base runner in the game when Cody Grisham drew a leadoff walk in the eighth inning, before being quickly erased on Zach Osborne's ground ball double play.

Alabama added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to make it 9-2. Junior Clay Jones opened the inning with a pinch-hit single and Kubal reached on an error by UT pitcher Will Laconte, to send pinch-runner Cal Tinsley to second base. Dugas moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt before Rutledge plated the first run with a sacrifice fly to right field. Wilson followed with an RBI double off the left field wall to score Kubal with the final run.

Alabama and Tennessee will play game two of their SEC series on Saturday, April 4, at 4:05 p.m. (CDT). Tickets are available online at www.RollTide.com or at the Sewell-Thomas Stadium box office two hours prior to game time.


*Alabama hit two home runs in the series opener and now has 59 home runs this season.. The 59 home runs are the most by an Alabama team in school history through 28 games.

*Junior first baseman Brandon May (Marietta, Ga.) hit his second grand slam of the season in the series opener against Tennessee to give the Tide a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning. He also hit a grand slam against Georgia on May 14..

*Senior right-hander Austin Hyatt (Marietta, Ga.) turned in his third career complete game and first of the 2009 season in Friday's opener. He held the Vols to two runs and three hits in nine innings, with six strikeouts and one walk. He needed only 115 pitches for the complete-game gem.

*Hyatt is 8-1 in his last nine decisions for Alabama, dating back to the 2008 season.

*Freshman left fielder Taylor Dugas (Lafayette, La.) extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a third inning single. Dugas was 1-for-2 against Tennessee with two walks and one sacrifice bunt.

*Sophomore second baseman Ross Wilson (Hoover, Ala.) extended his hitting streak to seven games with a third inning RBI single. Wilson went 2-for-5 with an RBI single in the fourth and an RBI double in the eighth.

*Alabama scored five runs in the fourth inning and has scored five or more runs in an inning 12 times this season.

*Junior third baseman Jake Smith went 0-for-2 in the series opener to end his career-high 10-game hitting streak. Smith was hit twice by a pitch and scored UA's first run in the second inning. Smith also turned in three defensive gems at third base in the win.

*Alabama played its 14th error-less game of the season on Friday night.

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