Alabama Baseball Keeps On Playing

There was great anticipation that Alabama and Auburn might be playing in the NCAA Super Regional for the right to go to the College World Series. Both teams had their backs to the wall. The Crimson Tide met the challenge, but Auburn did not.

Alabama defeated number 8 NCAA seed Georgia Tech, 10-8, in Atlanta Monday. The Crimson Tide of first year coach Mitch Gaspard came out of the losers bracket with three straight victories – two over home-standing Georgia Tech—to capture its seventh NCAA Regional Championship and its first since winning the 2006 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional. It was Bama's first road NCAA Regional title since winning in 1983 at Florida State.

Alabama now travels to Clemson for the Super Regional and the right to go to the College World Series in Omaha.

The state was hoping for an Alabama at Auburn Super Regional. Obviously, it would have been more convenient for most Alabama fans to have a chance to see the Tide had Auburn been able to win. But Auburn, the number one seed in its regional at its home stadium, lost to Clemson.

Alabama had reason to look forward to a series with Auburn in the Super Regional. The Tide had won the regular season Southeastern Conference series against Auburn and had also helped eliminate Auburn from the SEC Tournament with a win in front of a record crowd at Regions Park near Birmingham.

That win over Auburn in the SEC Tournament was part of an amazing stretch of games for Bama, which was runner-up in the SEC Tournament.

Alabama has now won 12 of its last 14 games, including going 5-1 in road games. Bama moves into the Super Regional because it was able to defeat the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta by 10-8 on Monday.

The Crimson Tide, which had been languishing below the middle of the pack in the SEC before beginning its surge, is now 41-23.

Alabama Junior right-handed pitcher Nathan Kilcrease was the Most Valuable Player of the Atlanta Regional. He pitched a win in the opening game of the tournament against Elon pitching seven innings, then came back on three days rest to pitch six innings of relief in the tournament-clinching win over Tech.

The Crimson Tide will travel to Clemson for the 2010 NCAA Super Regionals, which begins Friday. The series, best two of three, sends the winner to the College World Series. Alabama and Clemson will open the series at 6 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. central time) Friday in a game that will be televised on ESPNU. The Saturday game will begin at 7 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. central) on Saturday and be televised by ESPN2. If a third game is necessary, it will be played Monday, June 14, with a starting time to be determined. It will be either noon or 6 p.m. CDT and also televised by ESPN2.

On Monday against Georgia Tech, Kilcrease threw 107 pitches to give Alabama is first road regional win since 1983. Kilcrease (8-2) held the Yellow Jackets to two runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. In his two tournament appearances, he threw 13 innings and allowed three runs on 11 hits with 13 strikeouts and four walks.

Alabama placed five players on the 2010 NCAA Atlanta Regional All-Tournament team, including most outstanding player Nathan Kilcrease (RHP), shortstop Josh Rutledge, third baseman Jake Smith, center fielder Taylor Dugas and utility player Ross Wilson.

Alabama posted a 25-17 record against NCAA Regional teams this season. The 42 games are the most in the country, while the 25 wins rank second to Arizona State (28-7). Alabama posted a 4-3 record this season against national Top 8 seeds, going 2-1 against No. 8 Georgia Tech and 2-2 against No. 3 Florida.

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