March 12, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama baseball team scored multiple runs in five of its eight innings en route to a 15-8 win over Stony Brook in the series opener Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The Crimson Tide got off to fast start with eight runs in the first three innings and then finished even stronger with seven runs in the final two innings to post its 11th straight home win.
Alabama (9-1) snapped an 8-8 tie by scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a 13-8 lead. The Tide added two more runs in the eighth for the 15-8 victory.
“I thought offensively we really came out sharp early, executed really well in the first two or three innings, built up a lead,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “Another key to what we’ve done all year, we responded to their five runs by matching it in the bottom half of the inning. That’s what good teams do; they answer the call when they need to. Offensively I thought we had a good plan all night, I thought we executed well and got big hits when we needed them.”
Alabama held an 8-3 lead entering the seventh inning, but gave up five runs in the top of the frame as Stony Brook battled back to even the score at 8-8.
Stony Brook (2-3) scored all five runs off UA freshman right-hander Trey Pilkington, who was making just his second relief appearance of the season. Tanner Nivins drove in the first run with a one-out single and Justin Echevarria knocked in two more runs with a double as the Seawolves cut the lead to 8-6. Nivins led the Seawolves by going 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI.
Sophomore right-hander Tyler White replaced Pilkington and got out of the inning but not before Stony Brook had tied the game. Travis Jankowski drove in another run with a ground out as SBU closed the gap to 8-7 and Echevarria scored the tying run from third base when Chad Marshall was caught stealing second but managed to stay in a run-down long enough for the tying run to cross the plate.
Alabama answered right back with five runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 13-8 lead. Senior first baseman Clay Jones and senior third baseman Jake Smith drew one-out walks to chase starter Tyler Johnson, who threw 122 pitches in 6 1/3 innings.
SBU relief pitcher Chris Maier hit freshman left fielder Brett Booth with his first pitch to load the bases and then walked sophomore DH Jon Kelton on four pitches to score Jones with the go-ahead run, giving Alabama a 9-8 lead. Senior catcher Cody Trotter delivered the big hit in the inning with a two-run double to right field that scored Smith and Booth and put the Tide in front 11-8. Freshman right fielder Andrew Miller reached on a fielder’s choice as Kelton scored on a throwing error by second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum. Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas capped the inning with an RBI double that scored Trotter to give the Tide a 13-8 lead.
Alabama added two more runs in the eighth inning to make the final 15-8. Jones delivered a one-out triple off the wall in right field and scored on Smith’s double to right-center field. Kelton capped the scoring with a two-out single to left to chase Smith home from third.
Sophomore right-hander Tyler White (2-0) pitched the final 2 2/3 innings for his second win of the season. He allowed two hits, struck out two and walked one.
Stony Brook starter Tyler Johnson (1-1), who was the America East Pitcher of the Week last week, allowed 10 runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings and took the loss. He walked six and had no strikeouts. In fact, three Stony Brook pitchers combined for seven walks, two hit batters and no strikeouts.
Alabama finished the game with 14 hits and eight of the nine starters had at least one hit. All nine starters scored at least one run in the series opener. Dugas went 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Miller was 2-for-4 with three RBI, including a two-run single in the third inning. Wilson, Jones and Trotter had two hits each.
Junior second baseman Ross Wilson got the offense started with a two-run home run in the first inning that staked the Alabama to a 2-0 lead. It was Wilson’s first home run of the season. Dugas opened the game with a double and scored ahead of Wilson.
Stony Brook answered with two runs in the top of the second to tie the game at 2-2. Nivins drove in the first run with an RBI double and Justin Echevarria knocked in the second run with an infield single.
The Alabama offense added four more runs in the second inning to take a 6-2 lead. Kelton drew a leadoff walk and moved to third base on Trotter’s perfectly executed hit-and-run single through the left side of the infield. Miller followed with a bunt single to scored Kelton and put the Tide back in front 3-2. After a sacrifice bunt by Dugas, junior shortstop Josh Rutledge stroked a two-run double to left-center to score Trotter and Miller and put Alabama in front 5-2. Jones drove in Rutledge with an RBI single for the 6-2 Alabama lead.
The Crimson Tide scored two more runs in the third to build an 8-2 lead. Booth reached on a fielder’s choice and Kelton was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with one out. After a ground out by Trotter, Miller drove in two runs with an infield single up the middle that scored Booth and Kelton, who hustled home from second on the infield hit.
Stony Brook took advantage of a pair of walks to plate a run in the fifth inning to cut the Alabama lead to 8-3. Nivins stroked a two-out RBI single to left that scored Chad Marshall, but Robert Dyer was gunned down at the plate by left fielder Brett Booth to hold SBU to one run.
Alabama starter Adam Morgan worked six innings and allowed three runs and six hits with two strikeouts and a career-high six walks. Morgan did not figure into the decision, however, as the UA bullpen gave up five runs on five hits in the seventh inning as SBU tied the game at 8-8.
Alabama and Stony Brook will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1:05 p.m. (CDT).
*Junior second baseman Ross Wilson hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning to achieve a pair of career milestones. The home run was his first of the season and 25th career home run, while the two RBI gives him 100 and 101 career RBI with for the Tide.
*Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge had a two-run double in the Tide’s four-run second inning, his team-leading fourth multi-RBI game of the 2010 season. In addition, Rutledge has 21 career multi-RBI games, which ranks third among active UA players.
*Freshman right fielder Andrew Miller went 2-for-3 with three RBI in the win over Stony Brook. The two hits and three RBI are both career highs for the Citronelle, Ala., native.
*Freshman left fielder Brett Booth recorded his team-leading third outfield assist of the season when he threw out Stony Brook’s Robert Dyer at home plate for the final out of the fifth inning. Alabama has seven outfield assists this season and has thrown out five runners at the plate.
*Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas went 3-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI in the series opener. Dugas leads Alabama with six multi-hit games, including three three-hit games. He has reached base safely in all 10 games this season.
*Alabama and Stony Brook combined for 10 runs and seven hits in the seventh inning while both teams batted around in the 25-plus minute inning. The Crimson Tide has scored 20 runs in the seventh inning this season, the most of any inning this season.
POST GAME QUOTES
Alabama Head Coach Mitch Gaspard
On Alabama’s offensive execution:
“I thought offensively we really came out sharp early, executed really well in the first two or three innings, built up a lead. Another key to what we’ve done all year, we responded to their five runs by matching it in the bottom half of the inning. That’s what good teams do; they answer the call when they need to. Offensively I thought we had a good plan all night, I thought we executed well and got big hits when we needed them.”
On the bottom three guys in the lineup producing big:
“(Cody) Trotter had the big hit, but (Jon) Kelton’s that quiet guy that just always finds ways to get on base. He gets a lot of walks, he gets hits, he executes well. He’s a nice piece of that lineup. Trotter had some good at-bats, did a nice job on the hit-and-runs. He hit the double off the wall in the right. (Andrew) Miller had some nice ones as well.”
On Ross Wilson’s two-hit, two-RBI performance:
“He’s been good this week in BP (batting practice). He and (hitting coach) Dax (Norris) have been working on some things, so I felt like we’ve got him right now. When he starts hitting, that’s what you get are doubles and home runs.”
On Alabama’s pitching performance:
“(UA starting pitcher Adam) Morgan kind of scuffled a little bit tonight, he wasn’t super sharp. It’s unlike him to walk four or five guys. We tried to sneak (Trey) Pilkington, a freshman, in there. He’ll learn from tonight, that’s part of getting guys out there. He was a little bit up in the zone and they got after him. I thought (Tyler) White came in and was outstanding at the end of the game."