Alabama Baseball Readies For Elon

Elon is known best to those who work crossword puzzles. Clue: North Carolina college. On Friday, Alabama baseball will be looking at Elon in a different light as the teams open the Atlanta Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament.



The Alabama Crimson Tide played its way into the NCAA Tournament with a late-season surge in which Bama won eight straight games before losing an 11-inning contest in the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Alabama is 37-22. The Elon Phoenix is 38-22.

Alabama and Elon will meet at 3 p.m. EDT (2 p.m. central time) Friday at Russ Chandler Stadium. Georgia Tech is the host team and will meet the Mercer Bears in Friday's second game, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. central).

The Tech-Mercer game pits the two largest private universities in the state of Georgia. With two teams from within the state and Alabama and Elon within easy driving distance, good crowds can be expected.

Single-session tickets for the 2010 NCAA Baseball Atlanta Regional will go on sale Thursday at www.ramblinwreck.com/tickets. Phone orders will also be accepted beginning at 7:30 a.m. CDT by calling 404-894-5447 or 888-TECH-TIX.

Regional tournaments are double elimination.

Alabama can be expected to have a good following just from family and friends of Crimson Tide players from the Peach State. Bama has seven players from Georgia. The only state providing more players on the Tide roster is Alabama.

The list of Georgia natives includes junior catcher Brock Bennett (Tucker), senior pitcher David Head (Ellenwood), sophomore left fielder Jon Kelton (LaGrange), sophomore pitcher Adam Morgan (Marietta), freshman pitcher Matt Taylor (Columbus), junior pitcher Jason Townsend (Albany) and freshman pitcher Taylor Wolfe (Columbus).

"It's nice to be an hour from home," Kelton said. "I have heard from a lot of family and friends that are planning on coming to Atlanta for the weekend. On the trip over from Tuscaloosa, we were making a lot of jokes with other guys from other states. We are all proud to be from Georgia and playing for the Crimson Tide.

"There isn't a better city than Atlanta. All the guys on the team from Georgia are excited about this weekend and have a lot of family and friends coming to watch us play. This is a great opportunity and we are playing well. I am really excited about this weekend."

Alabama arrived in Atlanta Wednesday and was greeted by a former Crimson Tide star. Bama held a 90-minute practice at Emory University. The Division III school is coached by former Tide All-SEC outfielder Mike Twardoski, who played two seasons at The Capstone (1985-86) and led the SEC in hitting with a .399 batting average as a senior.

All four teams will practice at Russ Chandler Stadium on Thursday, with Alabama scheduled to work out from 11:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m.

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