Baseball Post Second Straight Shutout; Defeats Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 7-0

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Jon Kelton blasted his first home run of the season on Saturday.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Jon Kelton blasted his first home run of the season on Saturday.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Feb. 25, 2012

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – For the second straight day, the University of Alabama baseball team shutout the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Lions, as the Crimson Tide defeated the Golden Lions, 7-0, Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the win, Alabama improves to 2-3 on the early season, while the loss drops Arkansas-Pine Bluff to 0-6.

“Back-to-back shutouts, anytime you can get that you’re going to be pleased with your pitching. Defensively, we did a very good job today, that’s been something we’ve emphasized this week,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “We made some nice plays, even though offensively we missed a lot of opportunities early on.”

In his fourth career start, and second this season, Charley Sullivan (1-1) started the game out with a strikeout and did not look back. Sullivan ended the game with a career-high five strikeouts over 6.0 innings and recorded his first win of the season in the process. Sullivan rolled along throughout the game, recording four perfect innings and giving up three hits. The bullpen combination of Case Nixon and Jon Keller accounted for 3.0 innings of one hit baseball to finish the game.

Offensively, the Tide put together nine hits, as Jared Reaves and Cary Baxter had two hits each. Reaves belted his first home run of the season in the eighth inning and was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored. Jon Kelton also went deep for the Tide, hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning, Kelton was 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored in his first start of the season at first base.

The Crimson Tide was patient at the plate today, walking a total of nine times, eight of which came against UAPB starter and losing pitcher Stanten Jones (0-2). Taylor Dugas’ eight-game hitting streak came to an end as he went 0-for-2, after drawing walks in his first three trips to the plate.

Alabama was also active on the base paths, stealing a total of seven bases, the most since stealing nine bags against Mississippi Valley State on May 14, 2002. Dugas and Reaves led the way with two stolen bases a piece.

“We had a lot of walks and we put ourselves in some good positions, but we hit into a couple double-plays. As much as anything right now, offense takes a little time and rhythm. What I’d like to see tomorrow is more of an offensive attack throughout nine innings.”

Alabama threatened early, getting six base runners aboard through two innings, but inning ending double plays stalled threats in the first two innings.

After two scoreless innings, the scoring started in the third with the Crimson Tide recording three runs on two hits. With the bases loaded, a Ben Moore sac fly plated Dugas and RBI singles by Brett Booth and Baxter pushed across two more runs.

After Booth was hit by pitch in the fifth, Kelton took the Vince Newton offering over the right field fence for a two-run home run to put Alabama in front, 5-0. The home run was Kelton’s first this season, his first since June 6, 2010, and the third of his career. 

Lightning struck once again in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Reaves knocked the Newton pitch out of the park for his first home run of the year, extending the Tide’s lead out to 7-0.
 
Alabama will go for the series sweep Sunday, sending freshman Justin Kamplain (0-1) to the mound, while Arkansas-Pine Bluff will counter with junior Michael Newby (0-1). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 CT.