March 4, 2011
Box Score | Quotes/Notes
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama baseball team (5-4) defeated the Northwestern State Demons (4-6) Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium by a score of 7-5.
"I think for the majority of the game tonight you saw a struggling team, who had lost their last four games and had lost some confidence," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Tonight, our team was really in need of a win. We found a way to do it. I thought we were pretty good offensively at the front of the game and got a little help along the way as well. The biggest thing was that we won the game and got an opportunity to move to the next day with a little confidence. That should be something we can build on throughout the weekend."
Alabama would not be beaten, no matter how late in the game. In the bottom of the eighth the Tide evened the score on a Taylor Dugas walk and soon took the lead when pinch hitter Brandt Hendricks was hit in the elbow and awarded first base, crossing Brock Bennett for the go-ahead run. Alabama added an insurance run on Jared Reaves' second sac fly of the game, setting the score at the eventual final of 7-5.
Thanks to the late-inning scoring, reliever Brett Whitaker (1-0) earned the win for Alabama while Luke Irvine (2-1) suffered the loss for Northwestern State. Nathan Kennedy was awarded his first save of the season for the Tide closing it up in the ninth.
Dugas got the wheels moving for the Tide offense in the bottom of the first with a leadoff double to right. Dugas advanced a base on a throwing error by the NWSU catcher and then crossed the plate thanks to a Reaves sac fly, giving the Tide the early lead, 1-0. Dugas' run continued his streak of crossing the plate, scoring at least one run in every game in the 2011 season.
Northwestern State answered back in the top of the second with some offense of its own. Three singles loaded the bases and a walk allowed the Demons to get on the board. A sac fly followed, plating a second run, and a throwing error by catcher Brock Bennett allowed another Demon to score. A triple scored the fourth run of the inning for the Northwestern State, setting the score at 4-1 by innings end.
"I think the biggest thing tonight was that Adam (Morgan) came back after their big inning and gave us some zeros," Gaspard said. "Same thing happened with (Brett) Whitaker, he came out and couldn't find the zone but eventually he really got going. Although it was a sloppy game, it was great to win. Sometimes you just have to find a way to win one, when you get going the other direction."
The Tide answered right back in the bottom of the inning with consecutive doubles from David Kindred and Brett Booth to gain a run back and put one across the plate, bringing the score to 4-2. Alabama added another tally in the bottom of the third. The inning began with Dugas slapping his second double of the game into the corner in right. He would eventually cross the plate on a Josh Rosecrans single through the left side to narrow the gap at 4-3.
Northwestern State added another run in the top of the fifth on a single by Colin Bear, bringing the score to 5-3. That would be the final run scored by the Demons on the night.
Alabama returns to action on Saturday when the teams play game two of a scheduled three for the series. The Tide will throw senior right-hander Nathan Kilcrease (1-0) while Northwestern State counters with junior lefty Colin Bear. Saturday's start time at Sewell-Thomas Stadium has been moved back to 6:05 p.m. CT.