Nelson Pitches Tide to Series Win Over Vanderbilt, 8-2
March 20, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama baseball team got another strong outing from junior right-hander Jimmy Nelson and juniors Ross Wilson and Josh Rutledge combined for seven RBI as the No. 21 Crimson Tide defeated No. 16 Vanderbilt 8-2 to extend its winning streak to eight straight games.
Nelson (4-0) gave the Tide another solid outing on the mound, limiting the Commodores to two runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings for his fourth straight win. He struck out five and walked three before leaving the game after throwing 99 pitches.
Wilson and Rutledge accounted for seven of the eight runs, going a combined 3-for-9 with two runs scored and seven RBI. Wilson put the Crimson Tide on the board with a three-run home run in the third inning and Rutledge broke open close game with a three-run double in the sixth inning to push the Tide’s lead to 7-2.
Junior catcher Brock Bennett was 4-for-4 and scored three runs in the series-clinching win for Alabama.
Wilson ripped a three-run home run over the left field wall to put the Tide in front 3-0 in the bottom of the third inning. Bennett led off the inning with a single to right and moved to second on sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas’ sacrifice bunt. Rutledge followed with a single to left before Wilson’s three-run homer off VU starter Taylor Hill.
Vanderbilt (15-4, 0-2 SEC) came back with two runs in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2. Curt Casali drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on Jason Esposito’s double down the left field line. Connor Harrell followed with a two-run single up the middle to drive in two runs. The two-run single snapped Nelson’s consecutive scoreless innings streak at 16 1/3 innings over his last four starts.
Alabama (16-1, 2-0 SEC) got one run back in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend its lead to 4-2. Junior left fielder John David Smelser stroked a leadoff double to right center and sophomore DH Jon Kelton followed with a bunt single down the first base line. Smelser took third on Kelton’s bunt single and scored on first baseman Riley Reynolds throwing error to give Alabama a 4-2 lead.
Hill (3-1) left the game in fourth inning after he allowed four runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. He added two strikeouts and two walks. Drew Hayes came on with two on and two out and got Rutledge to ground out to end the inning.
Rutledge iced the game with a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning that put the Tide up 7-2. Kelton drew a one out walk and Bennett lined a single to right field to put runners at first and second. Dugas walked to load the bases before Rutledge broke the game open with a three-run double on the ninth pitch of the at-bat against Hayes.
Nelson left the game after allowing a two-out single to Anthony Gomez and a walk to Brian Harris in the seventh inning. Junior left-hander David Head came on and struck out pinch-hitter Anthony Harris to end the threat. Head worked 2 1/3 innings and allowed two hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
Alabama added an insurance run in the eighth inning to make the final 8-2. Bennett led off the inning with a single to center, his fourth hit of the game, and later scored on Wilson’s ground out.
Alabama and Vanderbilt will wrap up the series with a 2:05 p.m. (CST) on Sunday, March 21 and the game will be televised regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast.
*The Crimson Tide improved to 12-0 at home this season and has won 18 straight home games dating back to last season.
*Alabama extended its winning streak to eight straight games following its 8-2 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. The Tide has had two eight-game winning streaks this season, including a season-opening eight-game winning streak from Feb. 20-March 6.
*The Crimson Tide has won seven straight games against the Commodores dating back to the 2008 season. Alabama has won the last three series with Vanderbilt, including a three-game sweep in Nashville last season.
*Alabama has now won 14 straight SEC home series against SEC Eastern Division teams. The streak dates back to the 2005 season.
*Alabama has not allowed a first-inning run this season and owns a 16-0 scoring advantage in the opening frame in the first 17 games.
*The Crimson Tide held a 3-0 advantage after three innings on Saturday and now owns a 52-7 scoring edge in the first three innings this season.
*Alabama turned a season-high three double plays.
* Junior right-hander Jimmy Nelson had his scoreless innings streak snapped at 16 1/3 innings on Saturday. He allowed two runs in the fourth inning in the win over Vanderbilt. Nelson’s streak spanned four starts against Illinois-Chicago (1 1/3 IP), Charleston (6 IP), Stony Brook (6 IP) and Vanderbilt (3 IP).
*Junior second baseman Ross Wilson’s three-run home run gave the Crimson Tide a 3-0 lead in the third inning. In his last eight games, Wilson has four home runs and 16 RBI. He had no home runs and five RBI in the first eight games.
*Junior catcher Brock Bennett went 4-for-4 and scored three runs on Saturday. The three runs scored and four hits both match his career high.
*Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge went 2-for-5 with one run scored and three RBI on Saturday to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
POST GAME QUOTES
On Coach Bunn:
On Jimmy Nelson:
Junior RHP Jimmy Nelson
On what’s changed in his pitching:
On whether Coach Bunn was a big part of that transformation:
On whether his stuff has changed at all:
On how good defense can help:
Junior Second Baseman Ross Wilson
On his good play of late:
On the home-run pitch:
On Jimmy Nelson:
Junior Shortstop Josh Rutledge
On how the team is playing:
On the number of double plays: