Junior outfielder Tyler Odle went 3-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and scored five runs in leading Alabama to a 12-4 win over Mississippi Valley State Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Odle is the first Alabama player to score five runs in a game since Casey Lambert scored five runs in the Crimson Tide's 26-7 win at Kentucky on March 18, 2001. Odle was hit by a pitch and scored in the first inning and slammed his first home run of the season in the third inning to give the Tide a 2-0 lead. He walked and scored in the fourth, singled and scored in the sixth and doubled and scored in the seventh inning. The junior missed the Alabama single game of six runs scored set by Craig Shipley in a 35-11 win over Georgia Southern on March 28, 1984.
"Odle is one four players on the team that can really hit the ball hard the other way," Alabama coach Jim Wells said. "He has played well and a good game tonight. I've made the decision that we are going to put him the lineup and let him swing the bat. He has done a good job this year."
Alabama (18-15) pounded out a season-high 18 hits in the win over the Delta Devils. Sophomore second baseman Brandon May had three hits and four RBI, including a two-run double in the sixth inning and an RBI double in the seventh inning. Freshman shortstop Josh Rutledge added three hits, three RBI and scored three runs. Junior first baseman Wes Henderson also had three hits and one RBI for the Tide.
"We did a lot of things well tonight," Wells added. "The hitting was certainly one of them. We had some good at-bats by a lot of guys in the lineup. This was a good offensive game."
Freshman right-hander Jimmy Nelson (1-2) picked up is first collegiate win on the mound with 5 1/3 inning against MVSU. He allowed four runs and two hits and stuck out six in the game. Two other freshmen combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings out of the pen against the Delta Devils. Connor Hoehn struck out six in 2 2/3 innings and Austin Evans worked a three-up, three-down ninth for the Tide.
"We wanted to get those young guys some work," Wells said. "Nelson is capable of being a weekend starter and Hoehn threw well again."
Junior left fielder Ryan Rhoden's two-out single to left scored Odle with a run in the first inning and then Odle slammed his first home run of the season to lead off the third inning as Alabama took a 2-0 lead.
Alabama added three runs in the fourth inning, with two runs scoring on a bases-loaded double by Rutledge. May capped the inning with a line-drive single to right to give the Tide a 5-0 lead.
Mississippi Valley State starter Brandon Dotson (0-2) gave up two runs and five hits in three innings and was charged with the loss. The Delta Devils used six pitchers in the loss, including Squier, who started the game at third base, in the eighth inning.
MVSU (13-13) picked up a pair of unearned in the top of the fifth inning to cut the UA lead to 5-2. Willie Mays scored on a passed ball and Joel Gafford later crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Junior catcher Kyle Moore drove in a run with a ground out in the sixth to give UA a 6-2 lead.
Jeff Squier's two-run home run in the sixth inning cut the Alabama lead to 6-4. It was Squier's second home run of the season for the Delta Devils.
Alabama put two more runs on the board in the sixth inning with three straight hits by Odle, Rutledge and May. May's two-run double down the left field line easily score both runners as UA went in front 8-2.
The Crimson Tide took an 11-4 lead in the seventh inning, scoring three runs after a two-out error. Junior center fielder Alex Kubal reached on a throwing error by Squier at third base and the Tide then rapped out three straight hits to take a seven-run lead. Odle had an RBI double, Rutledge followed with an RBI single and May capped the inning with an RBI double to center.
Junior backup catcher Brian Clark led off the eighth inning with a pinch-hit double and scored on Henderson's sac fly to center to make the final score 12-4.
Alabama will host Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday, April 9, at 6:35 p.m. (CDT) at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Junior left hander Miers Quigley will make the start for Alabama against SLU right hander Chris Cappo.
*Alabama now leads the all-time series with Mississippi Valley State, 9-0. The two teams first met during the 2002 season. All nine meetings have taken place at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
*Alabama used its 18th different starting lineup on Tuesday night, including each of its last six games. The most noticeable changes were the absence of junior catcher/DH Alex Avila and freshman second baseman Ross Wilson. Both had played in all 32 games of the season until Tuesday night. Avila sat out the game with back spasms, while Wilson got a night off. The lineup against MVSU looked like this: Alex Kubal (CF), Tyler Odle (LF), Josh Rutledge (SS), Brandon May (2B), Ryan Rhoden (LF), Del Howell (DH), Jake Smith (3B), Wes Henderson (1B) and Kyle Moore (C).
*Sophomore Brandon May is now the only Alabama player to start and play all 33 games this season. May played second base and hit cleanup Tuesday night against Mississippi Valley State.
*Alabama rapped out a season-high 18 hits in the win over Mississippi Valley State. The previous high was 17 hits in a 17-2 win at North Alabama on March 11, 2008 in Florence, Ala. In its last three games, Alabama has 31 hits. Junior center fielder Alex Kubal and sophomore third baseman Jake Smith were the only UA starter without a hit on Tuesday.
*Sophomore right fielder Tyler Odle went 3-for-3 with a solo home run and scored five runs in Tuesday's win over Mississippi Valley State. The solo home run in the third inning was his first of the season and second of his UA career. Odle's five runs scored were a career high and the most by an Alabama player since Casey Lambert scored five runs in a 26-7 win at Kentucky on March 18, 2001. The UA single-game record for runs scored is six held by Craig Shipley in 1984.
*Freshman shortstop Josh Rutledge, who batted third in the order tonight, went 3-for-4 with one run scored and two RBI to extend his hitting streak to season high nine games. Rutledge is batting .436 (17-for-39) during the hitting streak with eight runs scored and eight RBI. Rutledge had a two-run double in the Tide's three-run fourth inning, which was his first hit of the season with the bases loaded. He is now
1-for-8 with three RBI this season with the bases loaded.
*Sophomore DH Del Howell made his third start of the season Tuesday night and went 2-for-4 with one run scored. Howell's two-out single in the third inning was hit first hit of the 2008 season. He started the season 0-for-12.
*Junior backup catcher Brian Clark had a pinch-hit double and scored a run for the Tide in the eighth inning. It was Clark's first at-bat of the season.
*Junior first baseman Wes Henderson made his second start of the season at first base and went 3-for-4 with a double, sac fly and one RBI.
*Junior catcher Kyle Moore had his first hit of the 2008 season on Tuesday. Moore went 1-for-3 with an RBI, including a single and run scored in the fourth inning.
*Sophomore backup catcher Brock Bennett made his 2008 playing debut and popped out in his lone at-bat in the eighth inning.