Bama/GA baseball notes

The University of Alabama baseball team opens defense of its 2002 Southeastern Conference Western Division championship this weekend as they host the Georgia Bulldogs in the first SEC series of the year for both teams. The series opener is Friday, March 14 at 6:30 p.m. (CT) here at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The Crimson Tide posted a 20-10 league record last year to finish one-half game ahead of second-place LSU in the Western Division. Alabama was swept at LSU in the final weekend of the regular season, giving South Carolina the overall championship. USC earned the title by virtue of its three-game sweep of Georgia in Athens to close out the year. The 2003 season marks the fourth time in history Alabama has opened its SEC slate with Georgia, including the two teams first-ever SEC game in 1933.

Weekend Games

March 14 Alabama vs. Georgia 6:30 p.m. WACT (1420 AM)
March 15 Alabama vs. Georgia 4 p.m. WACT (1420 AM)
March 16 Alabama vs. Georgia 2 p.m. WACT (1420 AM)

Starting Pitching Rotation

40 Taylor Tankersley L-L 4 G, 4 GS, 3-0, 2.42 ERA Leads the SEC with 37 strikeouts
38 Sean Ruthven R-R 4 G, 2 GS, 2-1, 3.38 ERA Son of fomer major leaguer, Dick Ruthven

39 Brent Carter L-L 5 G, 4 GS, 3-1, 1.23 ERA Allowed one earned run in last 25 IP (0.36 ERA)
46 Matt Woods R-R 4 G, 3 GS, 1-2, 7.47 ERA Allowed one earned run (5.2 IP) vs. UA last year

9 Jeffrey Norris L-L 4 G, 4 GS, 2-1, 3.54 ERA Career high eight strikeouts last week vs. UMass
49 Mickey Westphal L-L 4 G, 4 GS, 2-0, 4.43 ERA Suffered UGAs only loss to Alabama last year

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 is ranked in all four polls (19th USA Today Sports Weekly, 24th Baseball America, 24th Collegiate Baseball and 27th NCBWA). Georgia is not ranked.

The Records

Alabama (13-3, 0-0 SEC) has won five straight games and 10 of its last 11 games, dating back to Feb. 23. Georgia (11-4, 0-0 SEC) has also won six straight games and 10 of its last 11 games, dating back to Feb. 22. e since beating Nicholls State (10-4) on Feb. 27th.

The Coaches

Alabama's Jim Wells is in his ninth season at the Capstone, compiling a 384-155 (.712) record at the helm of the Crimson Tide. Overall, Wells is 576-244 (.703) in his 14th season as a Division I head coach. Former Georgia player and assistant coach David Perno is in his second season with the Bulldogs. He has compiled a 43-33 (.566) record while in Athens.

Last Time Out

Alabama came through with some timely hitting and overcame a season-high seven walks on the mound to defeat Louisiana Tech 6-3 Wednesday night. Travis Garner and Beau Hearod had two hits each for the Crimson Tide, while Al Hecklinksi added a pair of RBI. Junior RHP Seth Johnson (2-0) earned the win out of the bullpen, allowing one run and two hits in five innings. He also added a season-high eight strikeouts.

Alabama/Georgia Series

In a series that dates back to the 1904 season, Georgia holds a 57-48-2 all-time lead.

  • Georgia has won six of the last 10 meetings in the series.
  • The two teams met on a regular basis until 1955 before discontinuing the series for some 30 years.
  • The two schools resumed their rivalry when the SEC returned to divisional play in 1986. Before the series was discontinued in 1955, Georgia held a 34-26-2 lead.
  • Since the resumption with the return of divisional play in 1986, the series is tied 23-23.
  • Alabama swept a best-of-three series from Georgia to win the 1955 SEC Championship.
  • Overall, Alabama has won five of the last seven series with Georgia, dating back to 1996.
  • Alabama enters the 2003 season having won the last three series here in Tuscaloosa, including a three-game sweep in 1999.
  • The home team has won the last the last four series.
  • Georgia won two of three from Alabama last year in Athens, taking its second straight home series from the Crimson Tide. The Bulldogs have won six of the last eight meetings at Foley Field, dating back to 1998.
  • Alabama and Georgia have met four times in the post season, with the Crimson Tide holding a 3-1 lead in those games.
  • Alabama graduate Jim Whatley lettered in four sports for the Crimson Tide in the 1930s. He later enjoyed successful career as head coach at the University of Georgia. Whatley posted a 336-327-3 (.507) record in his 30 years (1950, 1952-75) in Athens.
  • Coach J.B. Whitworth served as the head baseball coach at both Alabama and Georgia. Whitworth spent two years as the Crimson Tide's baseball coach, compiling a 21-11 (.656) record in two seasons. He led Alabama to the 1934 SEC Championship.
  • Whitworth coached one year at Georgia and compiled a 1-10 record as head coach in 1943. Whitworth later returned to Alabama as head football coach (1955-57) before being replaced on the gridiron by legendary coach Paul Bryant.
  • Georgia lists two players on its roster from the state of Alabama, including RHP Jake Baker (Holtville HS) and RHP Eric Roberts (Hueytown HS).
  • Alabama has one played on its roster from the state of Georgia in LHP Brent Carter, who hails from Americus, Ga.
  • Alabama LHP Ryan Beagle and Georgia's RHP Eric Roberts were teammates at Hueytown High School. The duo led the Gophers to 64 wins in 1999 and 2000 and two area titles.
  • Alabama LHP Taylor Tankersley and Georgia 3B Lee Mitchell and OF David Coffey were all participants in the 2002 Cape Cod League All-Star Game.

Alabama-Georgia Series File

at Tuscaloosa: UA, 32-29-1
at Athens: UGa, 27-15-1
Neutral Sites: Tied, 1-1
Jim Wells vs. Georgia: 13-9 (.591)
David Perno vs. Alabama: 2-1 (.667)
UA Longest Win Streak: 12 (1946-86)
GA Longest Win Streak: 7 (1913-15)

Alabama/Georgia by the numbers

  • Alabama has compiled a 13-3 record in its first 16 games, while Georgia is 11-4 in 15 games.
  • Alabama is riding a five-game winning streak, matching its longest of the season.
  • Georgia has won a season-high six straight games.
  • Both teams enter SEC play having won 10 of their last 11 games, dating back to Feb. 22.

Bama's RBI Machine

That is the way to describe senior right fielder Beau Hearod, perhaps the hottest hitter in the SEC.
  • As of Monday, March 10, Hearod leads the league in five statistical categories, including batting average, home runs, RBI, total bases and triples.
  • Through 16 games, Hearod paces the SEC with 32 RBI, an average of 2.00 per game this season.
  • Hearod is six RBI ahead of his next closest competitor in the league. Florida's Ben Harrison is second with 26 RBI in 16 games for the Gators.
  • The 32 RBI in 15 games is the best run production by an Alabama player since David Magadan had 32 RBI in 15 games during his 1983 Golden Spikes Award season. Magadan had at least one RBI in an Alabama record 15 straight games from April 24-May 27, 1983.
  • Magadan had one other 15-game stretch in 1983 where he drove in 30 runs for Alabama.
  • At one point during the 1983 season, Magadan had at least one RBI in 22 of 23 games for the Crimson Tide.

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