April 26, 2011
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Jared Reaves had a career-high four hits, Brock Bennett added three knocks and Alabama pounded out 15 hits as a team in a 7-3 non-conference road win over No. 15-ranked Southern Mississippi on Tuesday night from Pete Taylor Stadium. The 15 hits marked the second highest total of the season for the Crimson Tide, which improves to 26-18 overall. The loss drops the Golden Eagles record to 30-10 for the year.
"This was our best offensive night in a while," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We got some big hits and some timely hits, but even through all that, we had other opportunities to extend the lead. We've been looking for offensive pressure through nine innings, and we got that tonight. This is a really good midweek win over a really good Southern Miss team."
The 15 hits by the Tide were three off the season-high of 18 against Eastern Illinois back on March 12. It also marked the 18th time this season the Tide topped the 10-hit mark.
Reaves notched a career-high four hits, going 4-for-5 on the night with two RBI and two runs scored. It was just the second time this season that an Alabama player had four hits in a game. Bennett was 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Austen Smith reached base in all five of his plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with a pair of singles and three walks.
Crimson Tide starting pitcher Adam Windsor threw 3.0 innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two strikeouts. On a staff day, Windsor left the game after three innings, leading 5-2 to earn the win and improve to 3-0 on the year. Taylor Wolfe worked the final 3.1 innings to earn his first save of his career. Wolfe was dominate at the back end of the game and did not allow a hit with five strikeouts.
"Taylor Wolfe was tremendous tonight and this was the guy we've been waiting to see," Gaspard said. "Tonight I thought he tightened his belt and really competed. He was effective with all three pitches and got ahead in the count. He has really good stuff and that should be a confidence booster for him as we move into a big weekend. "
Southern Mississippi starter Dillon Day threw 4.0 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Day took the loss to fall to 1-1 on the year. Tyler Koelling, Marc Bourgeois and Isaac Rodriguez had two hits each, as Koelling and Bourgeois each homered in the third inning.
After leaving the bases loaded in the first and runners on the corners in the second, the Tide got to Day with a pair of runs in the third inning. After Reaves singled and Smith walked, Hendricks doubled to left field to plate Reaves for his eighth RBI of the season. Booth followed with a sac fly to center field, scoring Smith for a 2-0 Crimson Tide lead.
Southern Mississippi answered in the bottom half of the inning with a pair of solo home runs to left field by Koelling and Bourgeois.
Alabama promptly responded with three runs in the top of the fourth inning to regain its advantage at 5-1, and never looked back. Taylor Dugas snapped a 0-for-16 streak with a single up the middle and later scored on the third single of the game by Reaves. After the Tide loaded the bases, Day threw a wild pitch and an error on the USM catcher resulted in two runs for Alabama.
"Coach Phillips spent a lot of time yesterday working with the hitters," Gaspard said. "He worked with four or five guys and those guys showed up tonight. Reaves had a big night and the middle of the lineup swung the bat extremely well. Reaves stayed on top of the ball, stayed in the middle of the field and had a great approach throughout the night, much like we saw with him earlier in the season. We hope this will be a sign of things to come as we move forward, because this was as good of an offensive effort as we've had from a player in the last few weeks."
USM threatened in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases off reliever Charley Sullivan with one out. Trey Pilkington entered and promptly induced Koelling to ground into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
The Tide extended its lead to 6-2 when a double to left field by Bennett plated Ladson Montgomery, who singled to open the inning and advanced to third on an error off the bat by Dugas. The big inning eluded Alabama, as Hendricks grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Southern Mississippi got a run back in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI single by Mark Ellis, scoring Adam Doleac. On the play, Dugas threw out Rodriguez at third base as he was trying to take and extra base on the single to center field.
Alabama capped the scoring in the eighth inning on the fourth hit of the night by Reaves, scoring Dugas from second base to make the score 7-3 in favor of the Tide.
Alabama returns to Southeastern Conference action on Saturday, with a doubleheader at Mississippi State. First pitch for the doubleheader is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT, with the game televised on SportSouth, from Dudy Noble Field/Polk-DeMent Stadium. Game two of the doubleheader will not be televised and will start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.