Nelson Gets Start In Super Regional
Alabama (41-23) will meet the Clemson Tigers (41-22) in game one of the NCAA Super Regional beginning at 6 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. central). The game will be televised by ESPNU with Mark Neely and former LSU All-American Ben McDonald calling the action for a national cable audience.
Game two is Sunday at 7 p.m. EDT/6 CDT and will be televised by ESPN 2. The third game, if necessary, is set for Monday at either 1 p.m./noon or 7/6.
The winner of the Super Regional will be one of the eight teams going to the College World Series in Omaha.
Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said, "I know as a player that they realize it is two wins away, but as a coach you are just trying to play good baseball tomorrow night and into Sunday. We really just want to focus in on playing good ball and pitching and getting the timely hits and little things that you have to do. It is evident that the teams are two wins away and the ultimate goal is to get to Omaha."
Clemson is the home team in fact, but in NCAA Tournament play there is a coin toss to determine the home team. The Tigers have that designation for the Saturday game, Alabama for the Sunday game. If a Monday game is necessary, a subsequent coin toss determined that Bama is the home team.
Alabama held its final practice prior to the start of the 2010 NCAA Super Regional with a one-hour workout at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Friday afternoon. The Crimson Tide took 10 minutes of infield/outfield defense and took batting practice for 45 minutes on a hot and humid afternoon on the Clemson campus.
Alabama has won 12 of its last 14 games heading into Saturday's game with the Tigers and first year Tide head coach Mitch Gaspard hopes the team's success will continue this weekend.
"[Momentum] is really big at this point in the season, particularly," Gaspard said. "The momentum and electricity in the dugout just seems to be growing week in and week out. We have really ridden the wave here into Clemson and really our two teams have mirrored one another in a lot of ways, with Clemson. Both teams have really played well here as of late.
"Both teams got off to a quick start and then both hit a lull and then we did well at the end. You look at the batting averages are really similar and the ERAs are really similar so normally that is going to tell you that it is a pretty even matchup, both on the mound and offensively. For what they may have as strength we may have one in another area. I think it comes down to who can deliver a big two out hit or who has a hot pitcher this weekend. That is what a super regional should be like."
The Crimson Tide won two of three against national No. 8 seed Georgia Tech last weekend to capture the 2010 NCAA Atlanta Regional, its first regional title since 2006 and first road regional win since 1983. Alabama won its final five regular season games against Mississippi and Tennessee and then won its first three SEC Tournament games before losing 4-3 in 11 innings to LSU in the SEC Championship Game.
Gaspard said, "It is (a big game) and we have been in that same mode now for about three weeks, starting with the Tennessee series and then the SEC tournament and then the regional at Georgia Tech. Our guys have played well with our backs to the wall and just another big weekend that will be another big challenge for us."
SUPER REGIONAL NOTES:
*Alabama is playing in its third NCAA Super Regional. The Crimson Tide swept the best-of-three series from LSU in 1999 and was swept in a best-of-three series by North Carolina in 2006. Clemson is in the NCAA Super Regional for the ninth time in 12 years.
*Alabama pitching coach Kyle Bunn served as Clemson's pitching coach in 2008 and 2009. Gaspard said, "I think he has been able to get across his mentality to our pitchers. It has been like our team, it has been a process to get to where we are now and I think you can see the growth in our pitching staff and the mental toughness they are showing. He has brought an awful lot to our pitching staff and our team as well."
*Alabama freshman right-handed pitcher Tucker Hawley is the only South Carolina native on its roster. He hails from nearby Aiken, S.C.
*Alabama sold all of its 600 allotted tickets for the NCAA Super Regional and less than 200 general admission seats remain for the best-of-three series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
*Alabama junior DH David Kindred has made the trip to the NCAA Super Regional and will be in the Tide's dugout this weekend. Kindred was diagnosed by Hodgkin's lymphoma on June 1. He has missed the Crimson Tide's last seven games.
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