Baseball Team Sweeps Tennessee with 8-4 Win in Finale

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

April 5, 2009

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama got another strong pitching performance and hit two more home runs as the Crimson Tide completed its three-game sweep with an 8-4 win over Tennessee Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Alabama (20-10, 6-6 SEC), which matched its longest winning streak of the season with four straight wins on Sunday, pulled off its first Southeastern Conference series sweep since taking three from Tennessee in Knoxville to close out the 2006 regular season.  Alabama had not swept an SEC foe at home since winning all three games against Vanderbilt in 2006.

Tennessee (12-19, 1-11 SEC) was swept for the third weekend in a row and has now lost 10 straight SEC games.

The story of the weekend was the Tide’s dominance on the mound. The Crimson Tide held the Volunteers to seven runs and 16 hits in the three-game series, while racking up 27 strikeouts and only two walks in 27 innings of work. Tennessee managed only four extra base hits in the series, with three coming on Sunday. 

Junior right-hander Adam Scott, making second start of the week and his first career SEC start, worked 7 1/3 innings and held UT to four runs and eight hits for his first career win.  He added four strikeouts and did not walk a batter.

Sophomore Nathan Kilcrease retired all five batters he faced to run his scoreless inning streak to 14 1/3 innings out of the pen.

“Adam Scott pitched well today,” Alabama head coach Jim Wells said.  “I am very pleased with the way we pitched this weekend. Some things went our way this weekend and we were able to take advantage of it.  Mainly, we were able to keep the other team from having that five, six, seven-run inning, which is the first time we did that in a while.”

On offense, senior right-fielder Kent Matthes and freshman left fielder Taylor Dugas had two hits each for the Tide.  Matthes hit his NCAA-leading 17th home run in the first inning to open the scoring.

Alabama got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when Matthes slammed his NCAA-leading 17th home run off the video board in left–center field.  The inning started when Taylor Dugas reached on an error by UT third baseman Tyler Hornsby.  After two quick outs, Matthes stroked a 0-1 pitch off the video board to put the Tide in front 2-0.

The Crimson Tide loaded the bases with one out in the third inning, but had to settle for one run and a 3-0 lead.  Dugas led off the inning with a double down the left field line.  After sophomore shortstop Josh Rutledge struck out, sophomore second baseman Ross Wilson and Matthes drew consecutive walks to load the bases.  Junior first baseman Brandon May flied out to right field to drive in Dugas with the run from third base.  Junior third baseman Jake Smith popped up on the next pitch to end the inning.

Tennessee got on the board in the fourth inning when Kentrail Davis stroked a leadoff double to right center field and later scored on a wild pitch by Adam Scott. Davis had two doubles in the loss on Sunday, his only two hits in the series.

Alabama answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning with a couple of clutch two-out hits and some nifty base running.  Clay Jones drew a leadoff walk, but was still at first base with two outs. Dugas then battled back from a 1-2 count and singled to left field with Jones advancing to third base. 

The first run of the inning came on a double-steal attempt by Dugas and Jones. Dugas broke for second and made it safely when first baseman Jeff Lockwood missed the tag in a run-down.  Jones scored on the play to give the Tide a 4-1 lead.  Rutledge then followed with an RBI double past left fielder Charley Thurber to score Dugas with the 5-1 lead.

The Crimson Tide stretched its lead to 8-1 with three runs in the fifth inning.  Matthes ripped a triple off the top of the center field wall to lead off the inning, May walked and Smith dropped down a sacrifice but to put runners at second and third with one out.  Matthes scored the first run on a wild pitch and Jones lifted a sacrifice fly to score May from third.  Senior catcher Vin DiFazio capped the inning with a solo home run to dead center field to make it 8-1.

UT starter Bryan Morgado (1-1) allowed eight runs and eight hits in five innings and was charged with the loss.

Tennessee added a run in the sixth on Josh Liles’ sixth home run of the season.

Davis’ two-run double in the eighth closed the scoring and pulled UT to within 8-4.

Alabama will host Troy on Tuesday, April 7, at 6:35 p.m. (CDT).  The Crimson Tide will host LSU next weekend in a three-game SEC series, beginning Friday, April 10, at 6:35 p.m. (CDT).  Tickets are available online at www.RollTide.com or at the Sewell-Thomas Stadium box office two hours prior to game time. 

GAME NOTES:
*Alabama pulled off its first SEC series sweep since the 2006 season. The last time the Tide recorded a sweep was May 18-20, 2006 when the UA swept Tennessee in Knoxville to close the regular-season and clinch the 2006 SEC Championship.  The last time Alabama pulled off a home sweep was against Vanderbilt on April 22-23, 2006.

*Alabama won all four games this week to match its season-high four-game winning streak.  The Tide also won four straight games from Feb. 24-28 this season.

*Alabama hit two more home runs on Sunday and now has 62 home runs this season.  The Crimson Tide has homered in 28 of 30 games, including 11 of 12 SEC games.

*Senior right fielder Kent Matthes (Orlando, Fla.) hit his NCAA-leading 17th home run of the season on Sunday.  Matthes’ two-run home run gave the Tide a 2-0 lead in the first inning. He has homered in 15 of his 28 games and he has hit at least one home run against 11 of the Tide’s 15 opponents.  Matthes has homered in all four Sunday SEC games.

*Matthes’ first-inning home run was his 37th career home run, tying Joe Caruso (1994-97) for eighth place on the school’s all-time home run list.

*Freshman left-fielder Taylor Dugas (Lafayette, La.) went 2-for-4 and scored three runs on Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 20 games.