Baseball Team Ties Home Run Record with Lopsided Win

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

March 17, 2009

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama enjoyed a record-setting night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, posting a lopsided 24-0 win in seven innings over Alabama A&M.  The Crimson Tide hit six home runs in the game to tie the school record with a home run in 17 straight games and head coach Jim Wells notched his 600th win as the UA skipper to become the seventh coach to win 600 games at an SEC school.

Alabama batted around in the first and second innings, scoring eight runs in each inning to grab a 16-0 lead.  The margin ballooned to 21-0 after four innings before the Tide emptied the bench.  The 24-run win is the sixth-largest margin of victory in school history.

Junior third baseman Jake Smith hit two home runs, while Kyle Moore, Josh Rutledge, Clay Jones and Ryan Rhoden also homered in the win.  The Crimson Tide has hit 36 home runs this season, the third-highest total nationally.

Junior left-hander Del Howell (1-0) struck out a career-high 14 batters in six innings for the win.  He threw six shutouts innings and allowed A&M’s only hit, a one-out single, in the first inning.

“The best thing about this game is that Del Howell pitched well,” Wells said after his 600th win.  “He located.  He really pitched well.  I am so happy for him.  We swung the bats well and a lot of guys got in the game, but the story line for me is that Howell pitched well for six innings, which is something we need him to do again.”

Alabama (12-5) sent 13 men to the plate in an eight-run first inning and never looked back.  Kent Matthes started the scoring spree with a two-run single and Brandon May followed with a two-run double to make it 4-0. Moore and Smith launched back-to-back home runs for a 7-0 lead.  Rutledge, who had a school-record tying two hits in the first inning, capped the scoring with an RBI single.

The Crimson Tide sent 12 batters to the plate in the second inning and scored eight more runs to take a 16-0 lead.  Smith, May and Moore had RBI singles in the inning, while Rutledge and Matthes added RBI doubles in the frame.

Alabama put four more runs on the board in the third inning to take a 20-0 lead on a pair of two-run home runs by Rutledge and pinch-hitter Clay Jones.  Rutledge’s home run was the first of his career for the Tide, spanning 339 at-bats.

Smith’s second home run of the game gave UA a 21-0 lead. 

The Tide added three more runs in the fifth on a two-run home run by Rhoden and a sacrifice fly by backup second baseman Jon Kelton.

Bernard McKinney II had the only hit of the game for Alabama A&M.  The Bulldogs fell to 5-5 on the season.

Alabama A&M starter Chris Jennings (1-1) allowed eight runs and seven hits in the first inning and took the loss.

Alabama and Alabama A&M will conclude their three-game series with a double header on Wednesday, March 18, at 12:05 p.m. (CST).  The teams will play two seven-inning games. Tickets are available for both games two hours prior to first pitch at Sewell-Thomas Stadium or at www.RollTide.com.

Game Notes:
*Alabama has homered in all 17 games this season, tying the school record for home runs in consecutive games.  The Crimson Tide also homered in 17 consecutive games from March 9-April 4, 1997. The 1997 team is the most prolific home run-hitting team in school history with 160 home runs in 70 games.  The 1997 team homered in 62 of 70 games that year. 

*Coach Jim Wells won his 600th game at Alabama on Tuesday night.  He owns a 600-305 (.663) record in 906 games as the Tide’s skipper. He becomes the seventh coach in SEC history to win 600 games at one school, joining Ron Polk, Skip Bertman, Keith Madison, Rod Delmonico, Roy Mewbourne and Hal Baird. In addition, Wells is sixth on the SEC’s all-time list in terms of winning percentage, winning 66.2 percent of his games for the Tide.

*Alabama’s 24 runs scored are the most in a game since a 26-7 win at Kentucky on March 18, 2001.

*Alabama’s 24-0 win equals the sixth-largest margin of victory in school history.  The Tide also posted 24-run wins over Georgia Southern (35-11, 1984), Samford (27-3, 1960) and Mississippi (30-6, 1902).

*The Tide hit a season-high six home runs on Tuesday.

*Alabama’s eight-run first and second innings were the first by the Tide since scoring eight runs in the seventh inning against Mississippi State on April 19, 2008.

*Alabama has scored 115 runs in its last eight wins.  The Tide is 8-0 when scoring 10 or more runs this season and has scored 20 runs twice.  UA also beat Illinois-Chicago, 20-4, on Feb. 28.

*The Tide is 8-2 (.800) in the Jim Wells era in games played on St. Patrick’s Day. 

*Freshman Taylor Dugas (Lafayette, La.) went 3-for-5 and scored three runs to extend his hitting streak to eight games.

*Sophomore shortstop Josh Rutledge (Cullman) went 4-for-4 with three runs scored, one home run and four RBI in the win over Alabama A&M.  The three runs scored, four hits and four RBI were all career highs.  Rutledge also hit his first career home run in the third inning against the Bulldogs.

*Sophomore second baseman Ross Wilson (Hoover) recorded his 100th career hit with a third-inning infield hit.  Wilson is also riding a nine-game hitting streak.

*Senior Kent Matthes (Orlando, Fla.) was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI to extend his hitting streak to 17 games.

*Junior Clay Jones (Centreville) hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the third inning. It was UA’s second pinch-hit home run this season.

*Junior third baseman Jake Smith (Shannon, Ala.) recorded his first career multi-home run game on Tuesday.  He finished the night with three hits, three runs scored and three RBI.