April 25, 2010
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama baseball team scored seven runs with two outs en route to an 8-5 win over Mississippi State in the first game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The series opener began Friday night and was suspended in the bottom of the first inning with Alabama leading 1-0. After several delays on Saturday, the game was resumed at 8:31 p.m. (CDT) and concluded just before midnight. The teams played a total of two hours and 34 minutes with the rain delays totaling four hours and 17 minutes.
When the game finally recommenced Saturday, Alabama extended its lead to 3-0 with a pair of two-out runs in the second inning on back-to-back RBI singles by sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas and junior shortstop Josh Rutledge.
Junior DH David Kindred led off the inning with a double to left field and scored on Dugas' two-out single to give Alabama a 2-0 lead. Dugas took second on MSU center fielder Jaron Shepperd's throw to the plate. Rutledge followed with an RBI single up the middle to score Dugas and give the Tide a 3-0 lead.
Mississippi State got on the board in the third inning when Luke Adkins and Connor Powers hit back-to-back solo home runs with two outs to cut the lead to 3-2.
Alabama (23-15, 6-10 SEC) answered with two more two-out runs in the fourth inning to take a 5-2 lead. Dugas drew a two-out walk and Rutledge followed with a two-run home run to left field to give Alabama the 5-2 advantage. It was Rutledge's fourth home run of the season.
MSU starter Caleb Reed (0-4) was the losing pitcher as he lasted only four innings and allowed five runs and four hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
The Crimson Tide tacked on three more two-out runs in the seventh to take an 8-2 lead. Junior second baseman Ross Wilson led off the inning with a single to center and scored on senior third baseman Jake Smith's two-out double to center to make it 6-2. Kindred followed with a two-run home run down the right field line to extend the lead to 8-2. It was his second home run of the season.
Mississippi State (20-18, 5-11 SEC) cut into the lead in the eighth inning, when Powers hit his second home run of the game to close the gap to 8-5. Nick Vickerson and Adkins were both hit by a pitch and Powers followed with a three-run homer to make it a three-run game.
Powers home run chased UA starter Jimmy Nelson, who allowed five runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings. He added eight strikeouts and no walks. Nelson (5-1) notched his fifth win of the season and became the first UA starting pitcher to record a victory since Adam Morgan beat Auburn on April 2.
The game was halted for a second time after the Powers home run due to rain and lightning. After the 62-minute delay, junior right-hander Nathan Kilcrease retired all five MSU batters he faced, striking out four of the five, for his fourth save of the season.
Alabama held a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when the game was suspended on Friday. Dugas was hit by a pitch to lead off the game and Wilson and Jones drew back-to-back one out walks to load the bases. Sophomore left fielder Jon Kelton put the Tide on the board with a sacrifice fly to left field to score Dugas and give Alabama a 1-0 lead.
The teams will conclude the series with a doubleheader on Sunday, beginning at 12:05 p.m. (CDT). The doubleheader will consist of two seven-inning games. Alabama is expected to send junior left-hander Adam Morgan (4-2, 5.26 ERA) and freshman right-hander Tucker Hawley (1-0, 4.58 ERA) to the mound, while Mississippi State will counter with freshman right hander Chris Stratton (4-3, 3.88 ERA) and freshman left-hander Luke Bole (2-0, 6.92 ERA).
*The Alabama-Mississippi State game began at 6:36 p.m. (CDT) on Friday, April 23 and was delayed due to lightning at 6:58 p.m. with two outs in the bottom of the first inning and the Crimson Tide holding a 1-0 lead. The game was suspended at 8:12 p.m. due to persistent rain and lightning. The game was originally scheduled for 4 p.m. today, but the start time was altered three different times due to the threat of severe weather. The game was resumed at 8:31 p.m.
*The game featured several rain delays totaling four hours and 17 minutes, including a 62-minute delay in the eighth inning on Saturday. Over the last two seasons, Alabama and Mississippi State have had four different rain delays exceeding 10 hours.
*Alabama scored seven of its eight runs with two outs against Mississippi State and has scored 26 of its last 37 runs with two outs. The Crimson Tide had five two-out hits in the series opener, including two hits and three RBI by junior shortstop Josh Rutledge.
*Rutledge was 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. He had an RBI single in the second inning and hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning. He is second on the team with 34 RBI this season. His fourth-inning home run was his first home run since March 7 against the College of Charleston, when he hit two dingers in that game.
*Alabama junior right-hander Jimmy Nelson has not issued a walk in his last two starts against LSU and Mississippi State. In his last 15 2/3 innings, he has recorded 14 strikeouts and no walks for the Tide.
*Senior third baseman Jake Smith extended his season-high hitting streak to nine games with his two-out RBI double in the seventh inning.
*Junior second baseman Ross Wilson reached base three times in the series opener with Mississippi State and has reached base safely in eight straight games. He singled and scored in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to four games. Wilson walked twice in the game and is second on the team with 25 walks.
*Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas was 2-for-3 with three runs scored against Mississippi State. He had a two-out RBI single in the in the second inning and drew his SEC-leading 41st walk in the fourth inning. He also leads the Tide with 41 runs scored this season.
*Alabama running back Mark Ingram will throw out the first pitch prior to Sunday's doubleheader.