No. 24 Baseball Cruises Past MVSU, 10-1
April 12, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 24 Alabama baseball team got back on the winning track, defeating the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils by a score of 10-1 Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Crimson Tide first baseman Austen Smith went 1-for-1, with a home run, two walks and one hit by pitch, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances.
With the win, Alabama (22-13) snaps a season-long five-game losing streak and improves to 20-3 at home. Mississippi Valley State falls to 13-20 overall. UA junior center fielder Taylor Dugas continued his solid play, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI and junior shortstop Jared Reaves added two runs as well, going 2-for-5 with one RBI.
"That was just what we needed right now," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "After a tough week last week, we came back and had solid pitching all night and got the bats going. That was really good to see. We had pretty good production throughout the lineup and played a good clean game. That was our mission this week after we left Vanderbilt Sunday. It was just kind flush that down and get back on track this week. Obviously this was a good start tonight."
UA starting pitcher Charley Sullivan (2-1) provided 4.0 strong innings, allowing just one run on three hits with two strikeouts and no walks to earn the victory for the Tide. The Alabama bullpen also had a solid performance, turning in 5.0 innings in support of Sullivan without allowing a run on two hits. Brett Whitaker struck out the side in the eighth and Case Nixon came on to close it out in the ninth. Starting pitcher Mark Kaplan (0-1) took the loss for the Delta Devils after allowing six runs on four hits over 4.0 innings.
The Tide jumped on the Delta Devils early, scoring four runs on three hits in the first inning. Hunter Gregory got things going from the leadoff spot, drawing a five-pitch walk before stealing second then advancing home on Jared Reaves' RBI single. Dugas, hitting from the No. 3 spot in the order for the first time in 59 games, immediately followed with an RBI single that brought home Reaves to make the score 2-0.
Mississippi Valley State got on the board in the top of the fourth with a solo home run from third baseman Scott Hornstra, before the Tide answered right back with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. With runners on first and second, catcher Ladson Montgomery sent a soft-rolling bunt down the third base line that MVSU pitcher wildly overthrew first. The error allowed Booth and James Tullidge to both come home to make the score 6-1.
Alabama would eventually blow the game open in the seventh, plating four runs to make the tally 10-1 and end the scoring for the Tide. Dugas drove home Gregory and Reaves with a two-RBI single before Smith blasted a two-run bomb over the scoreboard in left field for his third home run of the year.
Alabama will close out the two-game series with the Delta Devils tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.