Bama baseball notebook

The Alabama Crimson Tide continues its busy week by hosting the Miss. Valley State Delta Devils here at Sewell-Thomas Stadium this Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. The MVSU game will be the fourth game in five days for Alabama.

The Crimson Tide took two of three this past weekend from Southeast Missouri State here in Tuscaloosa. After dropping the opener on Saturday (8-7), Alabama rebounded to win the next two games (16-1 and 9-4) and take the series. Following the game with the Delta Devils, the Crimson Tide will host the Rhode Island Rams in a three-game set here this weekend, beginning Friday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m. With the RIU series, Alabama will play seven games in nine days from Feb. 22 through March 2.

This Week's Schedule

Wed., Feb. 26 Alabama vs. Miss. Valley State 6:30 p.m. WACT (1420 AM)
Fri., Feb. 28 Alabama vs. Rhode Island 6:30 p.m. CTSN (WRTR-FM, 105.5)
Sat., March 1 Alabama vs. Rhode Island 4 p.m. CTSN (WRTR-FM, 105.5)
Sun., March 2 Alabama vs. Rhode Island 1 p.m. WACY (1420 AM)
  • RADIO: The games will be aired locally on WRTR-FM (105.5) or WACT-AM (1420) in Tuscaloosa. David Crane and Chris Stewart will call the action.
  • INTERNET BROADCAST: Live stats (home games only) and audio broadcasts can be found at www.rolltide.com
  • TICKETS: Season tickets are available by calling the Alabama Ticket Office (205-348-2262). Single-game tickets are available for $5 each and the gates will open two hours prior to each game.
  • RANKINGS: Alabama and Miss. Valley State are unranked.

The Records

Alabama (5-2) has won two straight games for the second time this season, after back-to-back wins over Southeast Missouri State on Sunday and Monday. Mississippi Valley State (3-8) also brings a two-game winning streak to Tuscaloosa, after claiming a double-header win at Alabama A&M on Monday.

The Coaches

Alabama's Jim Wells is in his ninth season at the Capstone, compiling a 376-154 (.709) record at the helm of the Crimson Tide. Overall, Wells is 567-243 (.700) in his 14th season as a Division I head coach today. MVSU skipper Doug Shanks is 25-86 (.225) in his three-year tenure with the Delta Devils.

Last Time Out

Alabama overcame six errors to post a sloppy 9-4 win over Southeast Missouri State in the series finale Monday afternoon. The two teams combined for 11 miscues in the nine-inning game. Shortstop Adam Pavkovich continued his torrid hitting in the series, with a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Right fielder Beau Hearod added a two-run single in the eighth inning to extend his team-leading total to 15 RBI in seven games. UA got solid pitching from Jeffrey Norris (1-0), Jared Woodward, Allen Ponder and Brian Reed (Save, 4) for the win.

Bama vs. MVSU

Alabama holds a 2-0 series lead with Mississippi Valley State, with both wins coming during the 2002 season. The first meeting took place on Tuesday, Mar. 12 with the Crimson Tide posting a 19-0 win in the first meeting. The two schools met again on Tuesday, May 12 with Alabama winning by a closer margin, 10-7.
  • In the first meeting last year, shortstop Adam Pavkovich went 4-for-5 with two RBI to lead UA's 21-hit attack. Beau Hearod added two hit and three RBI, including his first career triple.
  • Lefty Jeffrey Norris made his first collegiate start for the Crimson Tide against the Delta Devils and tossed six shutout innings with a career-best eight strikeouts.
  • In the second meeting, Alabama jumped out to an 8-2 lead after three innings and held on for a 10-7 win.
  • No UA player had more than one hit in the game and Hearod was the only player with more than one RBI.
  • The Crimson Tide equaled the school record with nine stolen bases in the win over the Delta Devils.
  • Alabama also tied single-season school records for home wins (32) and regular-season wins (34).
  • Right-hander Eric Mennen made his first career start on the mound for the Crimson Tide, working 4.1 innings and allowing four runs and five hits. He also struck out a career high six batters.

Bama vs. SWAC

Alabama owns a 36-4 (.900) record against the members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Alabama swept a pair of games from Miss. Valley State last season. Prior to the 2002 campaign, UA had not met a team from the SWAC since 1993.

Lefty Streak to End vs. MVSU

For the first time this season, Alabama is expected to send a right-hander to the mound Wednesday night against the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils. Junior college transfer Seth Johnson is expected to make his first start for the Crimson Tide and in the process end a streak of seven straight starts on the mound by a left-hander.
  • The Crimson Tide used lefties in each of its first seven games this season and nine times in its last 10 games, dating back to last year.
  • Johnson's first career appearance for the Crimson Tide was a brief relief stint against No. 13 Houston the Minute Maid Park College Classic in Houston on Feb. 15. Johnson faced three batters and allowed one hit and one walk in one-third of an inning in his debut.
  • The last right-hander to start on the mound for Alabama was Josh Baker against Florida Atlantic in the championship game of the 2002 NCAA Regional (June 2) here in Tuscaloosa.

Weekend Rotation All Left

It is believed that the Crimson Tide made history when three left-handers took the mound in the 2003 Minute Maid Park College Classic (Feb. 14-16).
  • Records are sketchy at best, but in the last 30 years the Crimson Tide has never had a weekend rotation consisting of three left-handers.
  • That changed at the Minute Maid Park College Classic when the trio of Tankersley, Carter and Norris started for Alabama against UL Lafayette (Feb. 14), No. 13 Houston (Feb. 15) and No. 2 Rice (Feb. 16).
  • In 1986 and 1988, Alabama had two left-handers in its weekend rotation, but not three.
  • In 1986, junior Pete Roberts and sophomore Mike Sodders formed two-thirds of UA's weekend rotations. Roberts pitched the opener and Sodders threw game three.
  • In 1988, Sodders and junior David Oropeza made up two-thirds of the UA weekend rotation. Sodders, a senior, pitched the opener and Oropeza followed in game two of the series. Oropeza, a native of Nogales, Ariz., sometimes pitched in relief in game one and then started the final game of the series.
  • Sophomore Ryan Beagle became the fourth straight lefty starter against Centenary (Feb. 19) last Wednesday night.
  • Alabama went with Tankersley, Carter and Norris again last weekend against Southeast Missouri State.
  • The same trio is expected to work the Rhode Island series.

Wells Surpasses Campbell on All-Time Leader List

With his 528th game as head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, coach Jim Wells has surpassed former head coach Tilden "Happy" Campbell (1935-42, 1947-63) for second place on the all-time list for game coached at the Capstone.
  • Wells tied Campbell's mark with this 527th game against Centenary College on Wednesday, Feb. 19 in the Crimson Tide's 4-3 win.
  • On Saturday, Feb. 22, Wells moved into second place ahead of Campbell with his 528th all-time game in the Crimson Tide's 8-7 loss to SE Missouri State.
  • Barry Shollenberger (1980-94) holds the Alabama record with 804 games.
  • In addition, Wells is UA's second winningest coach with 376 career wins at the Capstone. He surpassed Campbell's second-place mark during the 2002 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional. He tied the mark with a win over Auburn (6-3) and then moved into sole possession of second place with a 7-4 win over SE Missouri State.
  • Shollenberger is the school's all-time winningest coach with 487 career wins. Wells is now 111 wins shy of the school's all-time mark for career victories.

Alabama's All-Time Victory Leaders
1. Barry Shollenberger (1980-94) 487
2. Jim Wells (1995-Present) 376
3. Tilden Campbell (1935-42, 47-63) 355
4. Hayden Riley (1970-79) 236
5. Joe Sewell (1964-69) 106

Alabama's All-Time Games Coached
1. Barry Shollenberger (1980-94) 822
2. Jim Wells (1995-Present) 530
3. Tilden Campbell (1935-42, 47-63) 527
4. Hayden Riley (1970-79) 443
5. Joe Sewell (1964-69) 185

Home Cooking

Alabama won the final two games of its three-game series with Southeast Missouri State to win its 23rd consecutive non-conference home series, dating back to 1994.
  • The last time Alabama lost a three-game series at home to a non-SEC team was to Notre Dame in 1994. After winning the opener 5-2, Bama dropped the next two games (5-4, 10-7) to the Irish.
  • During its current streak, Alabama has lost the first game of the series four times and in all four instances bounced back to take the series.
  • In 1995, Alabama lost the first game to Penn State (4-3) before bouncing back to take the next two games (4-3, 8-0). The PSU series was scheduled for a Saturday-Sunday-Monday series and that series (like last night) also featured an inside-the-park home run.
  • In 1996, the Crimson Tide dropped a 13-8 decision to UNC Greensboro in the opener before coming back to win the next two games (9-3 and 12-3).
  • In 2000, Alabama lost the first game of the series to both Central Florida and Purdue, but won both series.
  • UCF won the opener 8-5, but Alabama rebounded for 18-4 and 10-5 wins in the final two games.
  • Purdue also claimed the first game (10-9), but fell the next two days (9-4 and 5-0) to Bama.
  • On Feb. 22, Alabama blew a 7-2 lead in the sixth inning and lost the series opener 8-7 to SEMO, but rebounded to win the next two games (16-1 and 9-4).

UA Opens with a 17-Game Homestand

Alabama is in the midst of a 17-game home stand, its longest of the 2003 season.
  • The Crimson Tide will face Centenary (Feb. 19), SE Missouri State (Feb. 21-23), Miss. Valley State (Feb. 26), Rhode Island (Feb. 28-March 2), Belmont (March 4), Birmingham Southern (March 5), UMass (March 7-9), Louisiana Tech (March 12) and Georgia (March 14-16) during the current homestand.
  • The 17-game homestand is the second-longest homestand in the Jim Wells era. The Crimson Tide opened the 1997 season with an 18-game homestand, the longest in the Wells era.
  • During that 18-game homestand, Alabama posted a 17-1 record, including a then-school record 15-game winning streak.
  • Alabama will not play on the road again until a four-game road trip at Samford (March 19) and Florida (March 21-23) next month.

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