Bama baseball notes

The University of Alabama baseball team opens its 110th season of intercollegiate baseball at the 2003 Minute Maid Park College Classic (Feb. 14-16) at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Alabama will be making its first-ever appearance at Minute Maid Park College Classic.

The Crimson Tide will open the three-day event on Friday, Feb. 14 against Louisiana Lafayette at 11 a.m. Alabama will also face Houston (Saturday, Feb. 15) and Rice (Sunday, Feb. 16).

2003 MMP College Classic Schedule

Friday, Feb. 14
11 a.m. -- Alabama (home) vs. UL Lafayette
3 p.m. -- Baylor vs. Houston
7 p.m. -- Texas A&M vs. Rice

Saturday, Feb. 15
11 a.m. -- Alabama (visitor) vs. Houston
3 p.m. -- Texas A&M vs. UL Lafayette
7 p.m. -- Baylor vs. Rice

Sunday, Feb. 16
11 a.m. -- Alabama (home) vs. Rice
3 p.m. -- Baylor vs. UL Lafayette
7 p.m. -- Texas A&M vs. Houston

The Records

Alabama (0-0) is playing its 2003 season opener today, while Louisiana-Lafayette (2-2) has played four games, including an 11-2 loss at Northwestern State this past Tuesday night.

The Coaches

Alabama's Jim Wells begins his ninth season with the Crimson Tide today against UL Lafayette. He has compiled a 371-152 (.709) record at the helm of the Crimson Tide. Overall, Wells is 563-241 (.700) as he opens his 14th season as a Division I head coach today. UL Lafayette coach Tony Robichaux has posted a 288-193 (.599) record in his ninth year with the Ragin' Cajuns. Overall, Robichaux is 532-343 (.608) in 16 years at McNeese State and ULL.

Season Openers

Alabama has compiled a 71-37-1 (.656) all-time record in season openers, dating back to the first season of baseball in 1892. span of 46 years.

Season Opener Notes

  • Alabama has compiled a 71-37-1 (.656) all-time record in season openers, dating back to the first season of baseball in 1892.
  • In its first-ever game, Alabama defeated Sewanee 6-3 on July 1, 1892 at Birmingham's Lakeview Park. The Crimson Tide was coached by Shelby Fletcher, making his only appearance as the UA baseball skipper.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette is the 59th different opening day opponent for the Crimson Tide, dating back to the 1892 season.
  • Alabama's most common opening day opponents are Birmingham Barons (11 games), Samford (10 games) and South Alabama (9 games).
  • Alabama has won nine straight season openers, dating back to the 1994 season.
  • Since 1990, Alabama is 12-1 (.923) in its last 13 season openers.
  • Alabama is opening the season on the road for the first time since 1999, when UA defeated Houston 5-1 at Cougar Field.
  • The 2003 season marks just the 21st time since 1945 that Alabama has opened the baseball season away from home.
  • Alabama is 12-9 (.571) in those 21 road openers since 1945.
  • Since 1982, Alabama has opened away from home only six times (1989, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2003).
  • The 2003 Minute Maid Park College Classic marks just the fifth time in school history that Alabama has begun the season with a regular-season tournament. The last time Alabama opened the regular season with a tournament was the 1996 Olive Garden Classic in Kissimmee, Fla., the spring training home of the Houston Astros.

Bama Has Won Nine Straight Openers

Alabama won nine consecutive season openers, the longest streak in school history. The current streak began with a 3-0 win over New Orleans to open the 1994 season at the Winn Dixie Showdown in the Louisiana Superdome.
  • Alabama's 4-0 win over Louisiana Tech to open the 2002 season set the all-time UA record for consecutive opening days victories.
  • The previous record was eight straight opening day wins from 1901-08 under the guidance of coaches Thomas Stouch, Schwartz (first name unknown) and J.W.H. Pollard.
  • Alabama has not suffered an opening day loss since dropping a 4-3 decision to South Alabama at Mobile's Eddie Stanky Field to open the 1993 season.

Wells in Season Openers

Alabama head coach Jim Wells is 12-1 (.923) in season openers, winning his last nine in-a-row at Northwestern State (1994) and Alabama (1995-2002).
  • Wells only loss in a season opener was a 12-6 setback at Rice in 1993.
  • Overall, Wells has forged a 15-4 (.798) opening day record in his 13-year career, sweeping three double headers (1990, 1994 and 2001), splitting two twinbills (1991, 1992) and suffering one sweep (1993).

Alabama-UL-Lafayette Series

Alabama and Louisiana Lafayette have never met in baseball. Alabama head coach Jim Wells is 5-4 (.556) in his career against the Ragin' Cajuns, with all nine meetings coming while the head coach at Northwestern State (1990-94).

Alabama-Houston Series

Alabama holds a 5-4 (.556) series lead over Houston as the two teams will be meeting for the third time since the 1998 season in the second round of the 2003 Minute Maid Park College Classic. The 2003 meeting will be the fourth straight game between the two schools in the city of Houston. The Cougars hosted the Crimson Tide in a three-game set to open the 1999 season and won the final two games to take the three-game series. In 1998, Alabama swept a three-game set from UH in Tuscaloosa. The two schools first met in 1976 with both teams winning one game in Tuscaloosa. UA and UH also met in the 1989 Diamond Club Classic in Mobile, with the Cougars posting an 8-4 win.

Alabama vs. Rice

In the only meeting between Alabama and Rice, the Crimson Tide snapped a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the ninth inning to post a 6-5 come-from-behind win over the Owls in an elimination game at the 1999 College World Series. Sam Bozanich's bases-loaded single provided the winning margin. Alabama trailed 5-4 entering the bottom of the eighth inning but tied the game in the bottom of the frame. Damon Thames two-run home run in the top of the inning gave Rice its only lead of the game at 5-4.
  • Rice sophomore right-hander Josh Baker pitched last season for Alabama. Baker is expected to start Sunday against Alabama.
  • Alabama and Rice were also in the 1997 College World Series, but did not play. Rice lost two games to LSU and Auburn to finish in a tie for seventh place. The Owls had two first-round draft picks on that CWS edition, including right-hander Matt Anderson and outfielder Lance Berkman. Berkman was an NL All-Star last year for the Houston Astros.
  • Alabama coach Jim Wells is 1-2 (.333) in his career against Rice, with both losses coming during the 1993 season at Northwestern State.

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