Pitching, Homers Get Tide Two Wins

The University of Alabama baseball team got strong outings from starting pitchers Jimmy Nelson and Taylor Wolfe en route to a doubleheader sweep of Stony Brook on a cool and windy Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Alabama (11-1) posted its second shutout of the season with a 5-0 win in the opener and then hit three home runs for a 13-6 victory in the nightcap. Stony Brook (2-5) has now lost five straight games.

"Overall a good day offensively," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "I thought their pitcher (Nick Tropeano) in game one did a really nice job and kept us off-balance and we found a way to scratch a few runs to build a lead. Nelson was good again. We worked out of jam in the fourth inning when they had runners at first and second with nobody out and pitched really well right there. (David) Head came in and did a really nice job to close out game one. Wolfe made his second start and pitched pretty well again, so he is certainly moving up the chain."

Nelson, a junior from Niceville, Fla., worked six scoreless innings in the opener to extend his scoreless inning streak to 13 1/3 innings over his last three starts. Wolfe, a true freshman from Fortson, Ga.., held the Seawolves to one run and five hits with six strikeouts in six innings. The duo worked 12 innings and allowed one run and nine hits with 13 strikeouts in the doubleheader sweep.

Junior second baseman Ross Wilson was the hitting star going 3-for-6 with three runs scored, two home runs and seven RBI. He stroked a pair of three-run home runs in the nightcap, matching his career high for home runs and RBI in a game. Junior outfielder John David Smelser went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, one double and three RBI.

"Wilson had a big day with two three-run homers in the second game and that is good to see, along with the offense generating a lot of runs today," Gaspard said.

Alabama and Stony Brook close out this four-game series on Sunday, March 14 at 12:05 p.m. CDT.

Game 2 – Alabama 13, Stony Brook 6

Wilson hit two, three-run home runs to lead the Crimson to a 13-6 win over the Seawolves in the nightcap. He hit a three-run home run the seventh inning to give Alabama a 10-3 lead. He added his second three-run home run in the eighth as the Tide took a 13-3 lead.

"It felt good, especially at the end of the game, didn't take off the at-bats, stayed locked in and put some good swings on them. I got some good pitches today. The first guy was pretty good, but I just stayed with it and had a couple of good swings."

Alabama took a 3-0 lead in the third inning on Smelser's three-run double to right-center field. Jake Smith, Brett Whitaker and Chris Smelley drew three straight one-out walks before Smelser cleared the bases with a double.

Stony Brook got a run back in the top of the third inning to cut the deficit to 3-1. Sal Intagliata and Travis Jankowski reached base on consecutive one-out singles. After a successful double steal, Tanner Nivins lifted a sacrifice fly to right-center field that scored Intagliata from third base.

Alabama answered back with two runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 5-1 lead. Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas opened the inning with a double to right-center field and moved to third base on junior shortstop Josh Rutledge's double that fell just in front of Nivins in right field. Dugas scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-1 and Rutledge scored on senior first baseman Clay Jones' sacrifice fly to make it 5-1.

Stony Brook starter Michael Barbot (0-1) was charged with the loss after he allowed four runs and two hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

Alabama added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to extend the lead to 7-1. In the sixth, Jones delivered a two-out single to score Wilson and push the Tide's lead to 6-1. In the seventh, Whitaker ripped a leadoff home run to left field to extend the lead to 7-1. It was Whitaker's first career home run.

The Seawolves edged a little closer with two runs in the seventh inning off reliever Adam Scott. Tanner Nivins, who has six hits in the series, drove in two runs with a double to left-center to cut the lead to 7-3.

Wilson homered in the seventh and eighth innings to extend the lead to 13-3.

Stony Brook scored three runs in the ninth inning off a pair of freshmen pitchers to make the final 13-6. Robert Dyer delivered a two-run single off left-hander Matt Taylor, who made his UA pitching debut in the final inning. Justin Echevarria drew a bases-loaded walk against redshirt freshman Kelby Deerman, who made his UA debut in the ninth inning.

Game 1 – Alabama 5, Stony Brook 0

Nelson and Head combined on a six-hit shutout as Alabama blanked Stony Brook 5-0 in game one.

Nelson (3-0) tossed six shutout innings and ran his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 13 1/3 innings over his last three starts. He allowed four hits and added seven strikeouts and four walks. Head notched his first save of the season with three innings of relief. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out three.

Alabama notched its second straight Saturday shutout. The Crimson Tide shut out College of Charleston 4-0 last Saturday afternoon in Charleston. Nelson, Tyler White and Brett Whitaker combined on the shutout against the Cougars on March 6.

The Crimson Tide offense scored all five runs with two outs in support of Nelson. Alabama was 6-for-13 in the game with two outs and had five two-out RBI.

Alabama scored single runs in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead.

In the first inning, Rutledge singled to left with one out. He then stole second base and moved to third on a throwing error by Stony Brook catcher Pat Cantwell. Wilson followed with a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Rutledge with the first run.

The Crimson Tide manufactured another run in the second inning when Smelser reached on a two-out single, stole second and scored on Kelton's single to left field that gave the Tide a 2-0 lead.

Alabama blew open a close game with three runs in the sixth inning. Senior first baseman Clay Jones ripped a one-out double into the left field corner and scored on freshman right fielder Brandt Hendricks' two-out single to right to make it 3-0. Junior left fielder John David Smelser followed with a base hit to left and sophomore DH Jon Kelton followed with a two-run double to score Hendricks and Smelser to give Alabama a 5-0 lead.

Stony Brook starter Nick Torpeano (1-1) suffered the loss after he allowed five runs and nine hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and no walks.

Game Notes:

*Alabama (11-1) is off to its best start since the 2002, when the Crimson Tide also won 11 of its first 12 games.

*The Crimson Tide has won the first three games of the series with Stony Brook and now owns a 13-game home winning streak, dating back to last season.

*Alabama's two starting pitchers – Jimmy Nelson and Taylor Wolfe, held Stony Brook to one run on nine hits in 12 innings of work today. The duo combined for 13 strikeouts and five walks.

*Nelson (3-0) tossed his second straight shutout in Saturday's opener. The Niceville, Fla., native combine with senior left-hander David Head for the 5-0 win. Nelson allowed four hits in six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and four walks. Nelson also combined with Tyler White and Brett Whitaker in a 4-0 shutout win at College of Charleston on March 6 in Charleston. Nelson has not allowed a run in his last 13 1/3 innings on the mound.

*Wolfe (2-0) picked up his second win of the season with six solid innings and six strikeouts against Stony Brook.

*Junior second baseman Ross Wilson tied his career high with two home runs and six RBI in game two of the doubleheader. It was his third career multi-home run game at Alabama. He also hit two home runs in a game against Mississippi State on April 19, 2008 and Coastal Carolina on May 31, 2008. The six RBI matched his career high set previously against Youngstown State on March 7, 2008.

*The Crimson Tide scored all five runs in game one with two outs. Alabama was 6-for-13 with five RBI in the first game with two outs. Sophomore DH Jon Kelton was 2-for-2 with a double and three RBI with two outs, while junior second baseman Ross Wilson and freshman right fielder Brandt Hendricks had the other two two-out RBI.

*Junior Brett Whitaker made his first career start as the designated hitter in game two and becomes the 20th different player to start a game for Alabama this season. Whitaker also hit his first career home run in the sixth inning to give the Tide a 7-1 lead.

*Redshirt freshman Kent Myer recorded his first career hit with a pinch-hit single to right in the eighth inning of game two.

*Freshman left-hander Matt Taylor made his pitching debut for the Crimson Tide in the second game of the doubleheader. He yielded two runs and two walks in two-thirds of an inning in his debut.

*Redshirt freshman Kelby Deerman made his collegiate debut on the mound in the ninth inning of game two. He faced two batters and issued a bases-loaded walk before getting a game-ending ground out.

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