March 22, 2011
Recap | Box Score
Head Coach Mitch Gaspard
"I thought Charley Sullivan came out and wasn't real sharp early, but he kind of settled in and gave us the five innings we were looking for. Then the bullpen came in did a nice job, Jay Shaw had two good innings, Jonathan Smart came in and did what he did over the weekend. He did a really nice job, he shut them down. Offensively we were a little spotty but Austen Smith did a really good job, had some hits that got down. We had pretty decent pressure offensively throughout the game. These midweek games are always difficult, especially when you play in-state opponents. You just have to find ways to get wins and I thought we did that tonight and have another opportunity tomorrow against Jacksonville State."
On the pitching of Jonathan Smart in a closing role:
"He's now four-for-four now in the back end of the game. With the new bats it has changed things but he's a strike thrower, he's got the big breaking ball, the changeup and his fastball now is really effective off of those two pitches. Even when his fast ball is 82 to 85 he's able to get it in, especially on right-handed hitters. He's just really keeping hitters off balance and he never hurts himself, he doesn't walk guys, he doesn't hit guys so you have to get hits to beat him and right now it's hard to string three or four hits together with these bats. He's certainly found a pretty good role for him and us right now.
"We're going to roll the hot hand. He was awfully good last weekend and again tonight. His confidence is really high and that's what you want behind the back end. He's got really good nerves, the game doesn't bother him especially when it gets late. That's what you want in a closer, if you get beat you want to get beat with your best pitches and he makes quality pitches."
On the team's ability to come back and score runs after allowing runs:
"That's the key and that's what's encouraging about our team right now. We did that a little bit over the weekend too, when they scored we would come right back and have our best innings. That's showing improvement offensively and we're starting to put better at-bats together. It's still not where we want it, but I think we're moving forward and we're moving closer to what we want to do."
On stranding just five runners compared to eleven for UAB:
"That's the key to winning. When you look, a week or two ago we were leaving guys out there. Now, we're finding ways to get big two-out hits. We got that one extra run in the fifth and James Tullidge got that big hit in the eighth inning to (make the lead) three runs. From the fourth inning on Saturday, we've turned into a different team offensively. We're a lot more competitive, we have a lot better at-bats and we're starting to understand those critical situations where, `I've got to get my best at-bat in,' and through the past three games we've done a good job of that."
#26, Jonathan Smart, LHP
On his role as Alabama's closer:
"It's a lot more pressure. I come in and there are runners on and I really have to focus more on throwing strikes and getting ahead in the count. "
On his performance in the last three games:
"I can't let the pressure get to me. If I let it get to me it's going to make things worse because I already have enough to worry about when I'm out there. It's the same game I've always played since I was little, I just go out there and do what I can which is throw strikes."
On his preparation to the closer role:
"It's the same as if I was starting. I just have to get ahead in the count, throw strikes. It's a little different when I come out the bullpen, it's like I have to get the outs. If I'm starting and I give up a hit to the first batter it's okay, I still have stuff to work with. But if there's runners on (in a closing situation), you really have to bear down and get those outs."
On head coach Mitch Gaspard giving him the closing role:
"It gives me a lot of confidence that he trusts in my ability. It's what got me here. I just go out there and have the confidence to know I can do it, if not I wouldn't be put in that situation. I just go out there and be the best I can for our team."
#29, Charley Sullivan, RHP
On his start versus UAB:
"It wasn't the best of starts, but I tried to go out and give the team a chance to win. The bats have been really good coming off last weekend, so I just tried to minimize the damage pitching and let the bats do the work. That's what happened tonight."
On going five innings versus UAB:
"Last year they beat us twice, so I just tried to come out and have a quality start and give us a chance to win. The defense played great, the bats have been consistent the last four, five games so I just tried to minimize the damage when runners got on and keep the ball down and it worked out."
#18, Austen Smith, 1B
On his three hits versus UAB:
"Balls finally started to fall and I got a little luck my way instead of hitting them right at people."
On gaining experience and getting more comfortable over the first 20 games:
"I'm starting to feel more comfortable playing, it's starting to be fun again. Instead of worrying about how I'm going to day I'm just starting to play the game again."
* Sophomore RHP Charley Sullivan made his first career start at Alabama, going 5.0 innings, allowing five runs on six hits with four strikeouts. Sullivan lowered his ERA to 2.81 overall.
* Sophomore Brett Booth made his first career start at catcher, finishing 0-for-4 in the game.
* Austen Smith had a career-high three hits against UAB, finishing 3-for-4 in the game with two singles, a double and two RBI. The multiple-hit game was the third of the season for the freshman first baseman.
* With a leadoff double in the seventh inning, junior center fielder Taylor Dugas extended his hitting streak to 11 games, and has now reached base safely in 20-of-21 games this season.
* Dugas' 11-game hit streak ties senior catcher Brock Bennett for the longest by a Crimson Tide player this season.
* Jonathan Smart appeared in his third straight game for Alabama, and converted his third straight save opportunity. The senior lefty has appeared in 10 games this season for the Tide and currently holds a 1.80 ERA in 20.0 innings pitched.
* Alabama is now 12-1 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium this season.
* The Crimson Tide had 11 hits against UAB, notching its eighth double-digit hit performance of the season.