Carter, Rice lead Bama past Georgia

TUSCALOOSA -- Sophomores Brent Carter and Allen Rice proved to be too much for the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday afternoon as the duo pitched and hit the No. 19 University of Alabama baseball team to a 12-2 win at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Alabama (15-3, 2-0 SEC) has now won a season-high seven straight games and 12 of its last 13 games, dating back to Feb. 23.

The Bulldogs (11-6, 0-2 SEC) have now lost two straight games after entering the series with a six-game winning streak.

"I thought our team did another good job again today," Alabama coach Jim Wells said. "When you have a good man on the mound like Carter, you know it's going to be fast-paced and he will throw a lot of strikes and give you a chance to win."

Rice, a native of Pelham, hit two home runs and drove in a career-high five runs for the Crimson Tide. It was his first career multiple home run game and he now has four home runs this season. Prior to Saturday, Rice had never hit a home run in an SEC game.

Rice finished the game 2-for-2 with three runs scored. He was also hit three times by a pitch, including twice after his second home run. In the series with Georgia, Rice is 5-for-7 with two home runs and nine RBI.

Rice's two home runs were more than enough for Carter, who notched his second complete game of the season. The Americus, Ga., native worked nine innings and allowed just two runs and five hits. He not issue a walk and struck out a career-high nine batters.

Carter (4-1) had only two, three-ball counts and three, two-ball counts in the compete game win.

The lefty (4-1) lost his bid for a shutout in the eighth inning when Georgia reserve catcher Jason Jacobs slugged a two-run home run to left field for the Bulldogs only runs.

"He throws like this a lot," Wells added. "This was his first SEC start. When you can locate a pitch then the game can be fun. He makes pitches. He's pretty solid, too. He has pitched like that all year except for opening day."

The Crimson Tide scored four runs in the second inning, including a two-run home run by Rice off starter Matt Woods. Woods (1-3) was charged with the loss allowing eight earned runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings.

In his last 34 innings on the mound, Carter has allowed just three earned runs for a 0.79 ERA in his last five games.

The Crimson Tide scored four runs in the second and third innings for a comfortable 8-0 lead.

Charlie Lyons reached on a one-out single to left field and moved to third on Travis Garner's two-out double to right field. Lyons then scored the first run of the game on a passed ball by Georgia catcher Ned Yost.

Rice followed the passed ball with a two-run home run to right-center field, giving UA a 3-0 lead. Adam Pavkovich followed with a walk and scored on Beau Hearod's triple off the top of the wall in right-center field.

The Crimson Tide added four more runs in the third inning to take an 8-0 lead. Lyons walked and moved to second base on a single by Brandon Avalos, making his first career SEC start in left field. Garner followed with his third hit of the game, scoring Lyons from second base.

Rice then stepped to the plate a hit his second home run of the game to right-center field to cap the inning. Rice joins Pavkoivch as the only Tide players with two home runs in a game this year.

Rice was hit by pitch in his next at-bat by Will Startup and then scored on Pavkovich's double off the wall in right-center field to give UA a 9-0 lead.

After Georgia spoiled the shutout bid, Alabama tacked on three more runs in the eighth inning, highlighted by Nathan Meiners first career home run.

Garner led off with a walk and later scored on Hearod's sacrifice fly into shallow right field. The ball was actually caught by second baseman Marshall Szabo. Meiners then followed with a two-run home run to right field in his SEC debut.

Meiners father, Vaughn, was an All-SEC outfielder and played for LSU in the 1970s. The elder Meiners was a member of the Tigers 1975 SEC Championship team and also hit a home run here at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in 1975.

The Crimson Tide matched its season high with three home runs today and all three home runs came with two outs in the inning and a two strikes in the count.

Alabama and Georgia close out this three-game SEC series with a 2 p.m. game Sunday here at the Joe. Jeffrey Norris (LHP, 2-1, 3.54 ERA) will pitch for Alabama, while Georgia is expected to counter with lefty Mickey Westpahl (2-0, 4.43 ERA).


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