Kilcrease Pitches Tide Past Lipscomb, 8-4



April 22, 2008

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Kilcrease Pitches Tide Past Lipscomb, 8-4

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama freshman right hander Nathan Kilcrease allowed two unearned runs in seven innings and sophomore third baseman Jake Smith added three hits and three RBI as the Crimson Tide defeated Lipscomb, 8-4, Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Kilcrease (3-0) held the Bisons to two unearned runs and five singles in his first career start on the mound for Alabama. He added seven strikeouts and did not walk a batter.

"He was outstanding," Alabama assistant coach Mitch Gaspard said. "He was dominant against a good hitting team."

Smith went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs for the Tide. He put the Tide on the board with a two-run single in the second inning and added an RBI single in sixth inning. Sophomore outfielder Kent Matthes added a home run and two RBI for the Crimson Tide.

"Jake has been coming on for the last few weeks, but tonight was the first night he really put three or four good at-bats together," Gaspard added.

Alabama (23-19) batted around in the bottom of the second inning, scoring four runs on three hits to take a 4-0 lead. Smith put the Tide on the board with a two-run single to left field. Junior catcher Kyle Moore scored on a balk by pitcher Paul Piennette to give the Tide a 3-0 lead. Sophomore left fielder Brandon May capped the inning with a two-out single to center that scored freshman shortstop Josh Rutledge to give UA a 4-0 lead.

Matthes extended the lead to 5-0 as he led off the third inning with a solo home run to center field. It was his seventh home run of the season.

Piennette (1-3) suffered the loss as he was charged with five runs and five hits in three innings of work.

The Crimson Tide added a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 6-0 lead. Junior first baseman Wes Henderson led off the inning with a single up the middle and moved to second on a balk by pitcher Matt Bowling. Smith followed with a one-out single up the middle to score Henderson from second base.

Lipscomb (21-19) avoided the shutout by scoring two unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning to cut the Alabama lead to 6-2 on Ben Williams' two-run single with two outs in the inning. That snapped a streak of 14 consecutive scoreless innings by Alabama pitchers, dating back to the second inning of Sunday's game against Mississippi State. The hit also snapped Alabama's streak of 19 1/3 scoreless innings against non-conference teams at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, dating back to the seventh inning of the Mississippi Valley State game on April 8.

Alabama added a run in the bottom of the seventh inning when Matthes delivered a sacrifice fly to center to score freshman second baseman Ross Wilson to give the Tide a 7-2 lead.

Caleb Joseph's solo home run in the top of the eighth inning pulled Lipscomb to within 7-3. It was Joseph's team-leading 13th home run of the season.

The Crimson Tide closed out the scoring in the eighth when Moore walked and later scored on a ground out by Rutledge to make it 8-3.

Lipscomb's Jorge Guiterrez added a two-out RBI single in the ninth inning to make the final 8-4.

Alabama travels to Mobile, Ala., on Wednesday to face the South Alabama Jaguars in a 6 p.m. (CDT) game at Stanky Field.


*Alabama head baseball coach Jim Wells missed Tuesday's game with Lipscomb while attending to medical issues with his mother in Baton Rouge, La. Assistant coach Mitch Gaspard ran the team in Wells' absence against Lipscomb. Wells' status for Wednesday night's game at South Alabama and this weekend's series with Auburn is undetermined. The last Alabama baseball coach to miss a game was Dr. Barry Shollenberger, who missed two games against Troy and LSU during the 1993 season, while attending his mother's funeral in Pennsylvania. Assistant coach Bobby Pierce ran the team in Shollenberger's absence in 1993. Alabama won both games, beating Troy, 6-5, in Dothan, and LSU, 3-1, in Baton Rouge.

*Freshman right hander Nathan Kilcrease (Phenix City, Ala.) made his first start on the mound for Alabama on Tuesday against Lipscomb. Kilcrease is the ninth different starting pitcher used by the Crimson Tide this season.

*Lipscomb was retired in order in the fourth inning, marking the first time in 33 innings that Alabama pitchers had worked a three-up, three-down inning. The streak dated back to the seventh inning of the Southern Mississippi game on April 16. Mississippi State had at least one base runner in all 27 innings against Alabama this weekend.

*Freshman shortstop Josh Rutledge (Cullman, Ala.) extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a fourth-inning single. During the streak, Rutledge is hitting .423 (33-for-78) with 16 runs scored, four doubles and 13 RBI.

*Sophomore third baseman Jake Smith went 3-for-4 with three RBI in the win over Lipscomb. Smith has hit safely in seven of his last nine games for the Crimson Tide. It was his first three-hit, three-RBI game of the season.