Alabama-LSU Postgame Quotes and Notes



May 8, 2011

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Head Coach Mitch Gaspard
Opening statement:
“This was probably our best game all year. Jonathan Smart was just tremendous all day long. We had really good offense early on, Austen Smith capped off the second with a grand slam. We had a lot of good swings throughout the day. Offense, defense and pitching were just tremendous all day. It was a complete game and one that we needed. This was a really big game and I thought we came through and played our best game today.”

On the race in the SEC West:
“Everybody is still kind of right there, there’s not really a lot of change from the beginning of the weekend until now. The big thing for us is that we kept pace with where we needed to go. I think every time you get another quality win, and this being win number 30, you are that much closer to postseason play and that much closer to going to Hoover. Right now it’s about winning series and when you can win a series you are really close. Right now you are a couple games away from solidifying yourself in the tournament, which more than likely puts you into a regional. When you look at the race we are about to go head-to-head with Auburn and that’s one of those teams that’s right there. We control our own destiny and that’s all you can ask with six games remaining.”

On Jonathan Smart’s performance:
“I think we have to continue what we did this weekend, even if he closes and doesn’t throw many pitches like yesterday. He threw seven pitches to get the save yesterday and really we were thinking six innings, maybe seven today but he was so sharp. He has rubber on him, he’s one of those guys who can bounce back and keep going. There’s no question he’s been our most valuable pitcher. He’s pitched in every role. He showed you today what he can do as a starter but at the same time, he’s the guy we are most comfortable with in the back end of the game as well.”

#1 Taylor Dugas, OF
On the mindset for today:
“Smart came out and he’s pitching really well right now. He went right at them and set the tone of the game in the first. We came out swinging in the first and just keep swinging all day.”

Thoughts on shutting out LSU:
“The pitchers just threw really well. With Adam Morgan yesterday and Smart today, both of them went into the ninth. They competed and got people out. They controlled the game.”

#26 Jonathan Smart, LHP
On today’s performance:
“I was just looking to get about six innings. The offense came out striking the ball and that really helped me out. I settled in and really tried to throw the fastballs and first pitch strikes. I walked two guys and didn’t think my command was where it should have been. My defense was really good, got some big jams with the three double plays. That was big for me.”

On pitching after getting the early 7-0 lead:
“A lot of energy gets started and it makes it a lot easier after that. Sometimes I just try and throw a fastball down the middle and let my defense work. I’m really not trying to strike people out with that kind of lead.”

* Junior center fielder Taylor Dugas finished the day 3-for-5, with a double and his team-leading fifth home run, coming within a triple of the cycle. Dugas’ double was his 16th double of the season, placing him in a tie for third place in the SEC.
*With three doubles on the weekend, Dugas moves into a tie with Scott McClanahan for eighth all-time at Alabama with 51.
* After scoring three times in Sunday’s game, Dugas has now scored a team-leading 50 times this season, putting him second in the SEC in the category.
* With three runs scored on Sunday, Dugas finished the weekend with six runs scored, bringing his career total to 181, moving him into eighth all-time at Alabama. He passed Allan Stallings (175), Emeel Salem (175), Ted McClendon (176) and Sam Bozanich (177) along the way.
* Senior lefty Jonathan Smart pitched 8.1 scoreless innings, striking out four batters on 119 pitches to run his record to 4-1. In his last two SEC starts, Smart has pitched 15.1 innings while allowing just two runs.
* Designated hitter Austen Smith recorded his first home run in SEC play this season with a second inning grand slam, the fourth home run overall for the freshman. Smith has both of Alabama’s grand slams this season. Moreover, Sunday was Smith’s third game with at least four RBI this season.
* Sophomore third baseman Brett Booth hit his first home run on the year, the third in his career, a solo shot in the fifth inning.
* Freshman first baseman Patrick McGavin finished the day 3-for-4 with a run scored. The three hits are a career-high for McGavin.
* As a team, Alabama recorded 15 hits on the day, its highest against SEC competition this season. Eight of Alabama’s nine batters recorded at least one hit versus the Tigers on Sunday.
* Coupled with Saturday's 4-0 win, Sunday marked the first time Alabama shutout an opponent in back-to-back games since 2004 when the Tide blanked Southeast Missouri State 2-0 and 20-0 in consecutive games.
* Sunday also marked the first time Alabama shut out an SEC opponent in back-to-back games since 1990, when the Tide defeated Mississippi 2-0 and 9-0 in consecutive games. Moreover, LSU was held scoreless in back-to-back games for the first time since 1982.
* After allowing 10 runs through the first five innings of the series, Alabama held LSU scoreless for the final 22 innings of the three-game set. Over that same stretch, the Tide was able to score 18 runs.
* The umpires who called the action over the weekend will be donating a portion of their checks to the Red Cross to aid tornado relief efforts.