Scoring Alone Not Enough On Wednesdays

If this is Wednesday, it must be time to score a lot of runs. Alabama, however, must also find a way to keep the opponent from scoring more runs. As of post-practice Tuesday, the Crimson Tide had not settled on a pitcher to try to stop the mid-week bleeding. Bama has scored 29 runs in the past two Wednesday games and has a 0-2 record to show for it.

Alabama closes out a brief four-game home stand when the Crimson Tide hosts the South Alabama Jaguars on Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. CDT at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide has only one other non-conference game left on the schedule and that comes May 12 against Jacksonville State.

Alabama (29-15, 12-9 SEC) has won five of six and nine of its last 12 SEC games, but will look to put an end to a two-game non-SEC losing streak on Wednesday night. Alabama has scored 29 runs and had two players hit for the cycle in its last two midweek games, but have suffered losses to Samford (14-13, 10 innings) and South Alabama (21-16) the previous two Wednesday nights.

Following the South Alabama game, Bama gets back into Southeastern Conference play going to Mississippi State for games this weekend.

The Crimson Tide and the Jaguars played a nearly four-hour game last Wednesday night at Stanky Field. The teams combined for 37 runs, making it the highest scoring game in series history. The previous high was 33 runs when the Tide posted a 17-16 win in Tuscaloosa during the 2003 season. The Jaguars scored 10 runs in the third inning last Wednesday night for its third straight win over the Tide. USA third baseman Jake Overstreet had four extra base hits, including a three-run home run and three-run triple in the third inning. Alabama shortstop Josh Rutledge went 4-for-5 with four runs scored and hit for the cycle in the loss. Third baseman Jake Smith hit for the cycle in the Tide's loss at Samford on April 15.

South Alabama (21-22) will send left-hander Chris LaGrow (12 G, 1-0, 8.8 ERA) to the mound on Wednesday. LaGrow started last week against the Crimson Tide and gave up five runs and four hits in two-plus innings before leaving with a 5-4 deficit. Alabama had not settled on starting pitcher at the close of practice on Tuesday.

After is series win over Kentucky at Sewell-Thomas Stadium this past weekend, Alabama held steady in the national rankings released on Monday. Alabama is ranked 22nd by Baseball America, its highest ranking of the week. The Tide is also ranked 23rd by Collegiate Baseball newspaper and 27th by the NCBWA.

Alabama senior right fielder Kent Matthes (.379 23 HR, 67 RBI) continues to lead the nation with 23 home runs. Bryce Bentz (Middle Tennessee) is second with 21 homers, followed by Rich Poythress (Georgia) with 20 home runs. South Alabama has faced the nation's top two home run hitters in their last five games and yielded only one home run to Bentz in the series opener last Friday night in Mobile. Matthes has homered in 19 of 42 games this year, with multi-homer games against SE Missouri State (Feb. 22), Texas A&M Corpus-Christi (March 7), Mississippi (March 22) and Troy (April 7). He has homered in all seven SEC series.

Sophomore second baseman Ross Wilson (.337, 9 HR, 39 RBI) is riding a five-game hitting streak, the longest active streak by a Tide player. Wilson had an RBI single in the Tide's 3-2, series-clinching win over Kentucky on Sunday.

Junior third baseman Jake Smith (.357, 15 HR, 43 RBI) has a career-high 15 home runs this season, including a team-best two grand slams.. He hit a go-ahead grand slam in the Tide's 11-6 win over Kentucky on April 24. Smith's grand slam gave the Tide an 8-6 lead and highlighted a seven-run inning.

Freshman Taylor Dugas (.370, 18 2B, 2 HR, 24 RBI) continues to lead the league in doubles. Dugas is also UA's leading hitter in non-SEC games, with a .417 average.

The NCAA stats were released on Tuesday and for the sixth straight week, the Crimson Tide offense is among the national leaders in a number of categories. Alabama is among the Top 10 teams in the nation in home runs (5th, 88), home runs per game (5th, 2.0), runs scored (5th, 409), doubles (6th, 114), slugging percentage (6th, .587), hits (9th, 534) and doubles per game (10th, 2.59).

The Crimson Tide continues to field one of the most productive offenses in the nation and leads the SEC in 10 offensive categories, including hitting (.336), slugging (.587), on-base percentage (.420), runs scored (409), hits (534), RBI (381), doubles (114), total bases (94) and plate appearances. The Crimson Tide ranks second in the league with 88 home runs. Alabama has three of the league's top 12 hitters, including Matthes (2nd, .379), Dugas (4th, .370) and Smith (12th, .357). The Tide also has three of the league's top five players in runs scored, including Dugas (3rd, 54), Matthes (4th, 52) and Rutledge (4th, 52). Matthes leads the SEC in home runs (23) and total bases (143), while Dugas paces the league in doubles (18) and ranks second in hits (66).

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