April 1, 2011
Head Coach Mitch Gaspard
“We’ve had a big first inning the last couple of Friday nights and been able to get pretty good pressure throughout. I thought we had some other opportunities where we didn’t deliver some hits, and their reliever came in and did a really good job settling the game down. Austen Smith was big tonight. Obviously his triple in the first to clear off the bases and get us up 3-0. Kilcrease gave us yet another quality start as he gave us seven innings. You could kind of feel the momentum swinging towards Arkansas late, but Smart came in and made a couple of huge pitches. He threw the ball inside and got the first strikeout, and obviously got the strikeout of (Collin) Kuhn who was 4-for-4 on the day before that. It was just a really good college game, both teams got after it. The key was that we had the big early inning and were able to hold on there at the end.”
On Kilcrease's performance:
“When Kilcrease pitches your No. 1 guy is out there, and this team continues to deliver. With every hit, every pitch, every win, the confidence continues to grow. Tonight, it was Austen Smith who delivered big for us offensively, but I thought that we got pretty good pressure. Even though we aren’t scoring a ton of runs, they are out there. This team really competes. They grind out at-bats, it’s one of those groups who is really getting better and learning what their identity is to win. They are doing a good job of that right now.”
On Kilcrease's start after throwing a complete game last time out:
“Last week, he threw about 120 pitches in that complete game, and when a guy does that, the next week they are not quite as sharp. We took him out at about 108 tonight. When you stretch them, like you have to a lot of the time, the next week they just aren’t quite as sharp. He’s such a competitor though, and even when that happens he’s gonna give you the innings you want and a chance to win.”
#18 Austen Smith, 1B
On the first at-bat:
“I was thinking that I had to drive the ball to the gap, get on base, and score some runs. When I saw the ball go down that right field line and get in the corner, I started thinking triple and just went with it the whole way.”
On how he’s been hitting:
“I’ve been really trying to slow everything down, not trying to get to big on the ball. I’ve been trying to keep that front foot down and see the ball better before I swing the bat.”
On changing bats:
“I’ve always done that. Ever since I was little, when I see a new bat, I want to swing it and try it out. So I’m trying some different stuff.”
On the start in conference play:
“It’s really great for us to get wins on Friday. It’s a confidence booster and it sets the tone for the entire weekend. It shows the other team that we are not going to back down.”
#28 Nathan Kilcrease, RHP
On winning on Fridays:
“It’s always good to get off to a good start. They expect me to come out every Friday night and give us a chance to win. I’m supposed to be the guy on our staff who comes out and sets the tempo for the weekend. I just try to come out and keep the game close for our hitters."
On the first win over a ranked opponent:
“When you play in the SEC, you are going to play teams that are ranked pretty high. Next week, we’re going up to Vandy, and they are No. 1 in the country. You’ve just got to look at it as any other team, and you can’t get nervous about it. You have to go out and do what you do every weekend, week in and week out.”
On the early scoring:
“Definitely a confidence booster. The bats are getting going again. We didn’t do much Tuesday, but we picked it up again on Wednesday, and had a good round of batting practice yesterday. I knew going in to the game today that the hitters would be there for me. You get three quick outs in the first inning and then come in and look up and your guys have put a three-spot on them, you can’t relax but it lets you get in your rhythm.”
On Austen Smith:
“He’s a great ballplayer. He’s stepped up as a freshman and he’s hitting in the four-hole. He’s come up with big hits, and he plays great defense at first base. Words can’t really describe how important he is to the team.”
* Dugas reached base for his seventh straight plate appearance with a single to lead off the game. Alabama would go on to score. Dugas would walk in the second and he singled in the fourth before grounding out in the sixth to end the streak at nine consecutive plate appearances reaching base.
* After going 2-for-4 and collecting four RBI, freshman first baseman Austen Smith passed Jared Reaves for team lead in RBI with 24 on the season. It was his second game this season with four or more RBI. His season-high came when he had five against Alabama State on February 27.
* Alabama won its first game against a top-25 opponent this season as they beat the 12th-ranked Razorbacks. Alabama had only played one other game against a ranked opponent, falling 2-1 to the 24th-ranked Auburn Tigers on March 15 at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery.
* Jonathan Smart collected his sixth save of the season with 1.1 innings of work, striking out Collin Kuhn, who had been 4-for-4 on the day, to finish the contest. Four of Smart’s six saves have come against SEC opponents.
* Brock Bennett had two sacrifice bunts in Friday night’s game to move runners into scoring position for the Crimson Tide. Bennett leads the SEC with 11 sacrifice bunts so far this season.
* Kilcrease had a 15-inning scoreless inning streak going into the fifth but had it snapped on a two-RBI single by Collin Kuhn. The 15-inning streak is the second-longest by an Alabama pitcher this season, falling behind a 20-inning streak from Tucker Hawley.