Baseball Hosts Jax State, Eyes Ole Miss
Alabama and Jax State are meeting for the first time since the 2006 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional when the Crimson Tide posted a 13-1 win en route to the regional championship. The two teams have not met during the regular season since 2005, a 5-3 Crimson Tide win in Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide (11-11, 2-4 SEC) is coming off a series win over fourth-ranked Vanderbilt this past weekend in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide dropped the series opener, but rebounded with 9-7 and 10-3 wins in the final two games to earn the series win.
Alabama hit .314 (33-for-105) against the Commodores with nine extra base hits, four home runs and 17 RBI. Sophomore left fielder Brandon May (6-for-10, 2 R, RBI), freshman SS Josh Rutledge (7-for-13, 4 R) and freshman 2B Ross Wilson (5-for-13, R, 2B, 2 RBI) were a combined 18-for-33 (.545) in the series with seven runs scored and three RBI.
Alabama had a fabulous weekend on the mound after struggling in seven of its last eight starts. The Crimson Tide posted a 2.33 ERA in the three-game series and held the Commodores to a .202 (20-for-92) batting average. All three starters pitched into the eighth inning in the series as the Tide used only four total pitchers on the weekend. Junior RHP Austin Hyatt (9 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) recorded his first career complete game in the series opener with Vanderbilt. Sophomore RHP Austin Graham (7 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 8 K) recorded his first career SEC win and added eight strikeouts in a career-high seven innings in game two of the Vanderbilt series. Junior Robert Phares (7.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K), making his first SEC start, notched his first collegiate win in the Tide's series-clinching victory. Senior RHP Josh Copeland made two relief appearances and retired 10 of the 11 batters he faced with seven strikeouts.
Head Coach Jim Wells said Monday he had not decided on the Tide's starting rotation against JSU, but said senior left-hander Will Stroup (2-1, 6.00 ERA), junior left-hander Miers Quigley (1-1, 7.20 ERA), junior right hander Casey Kebodeaux (2-2, 5.08 ERA) and sophomore left hander Del Howell (0-0, 3.97 ERA) were among those being considered on the mound.
JSU is expected to send junior right hander Justin King (1-1, 5.02 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday. King originally signed with Alabama before transferring to Jacksonville State for the 2006 season. He pitched against Alabama in the 2006 NCAA Regional and yielded five runs and one hit with three walks in two-thirds of an inning in a 13-1 UA win.
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