Alabama-South Carolina Postgame Quotes and Notes

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

May 19, 2011

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Head Coach Mitch Gaspard

Opening statement:
"It was a really good night. We clinched a spot to get in the SEC Tournament, which was big, and we got a win against the No. 2 team in the country. As I told the team, with Kilcrease, for four years that's what he's done, and then when you really need one and you got to have it he has the ability to deliver and that's what he did tonight. He went a complete game, 114 pitches working on a day's less rest, which again shows you the heart of a champion and who he is and how much he competes. I'm proud of our team and our resiliency throughout the year to get to this point. Now, with everything that happened tonight, us winning and whatever else happened around the league, we have an opportunity to win the Western Division. Now we got to keep our focus tomorrow and come out and win another ballgame."

 On the relay play at the plate to cut down the tying run:
"Well it was a great relay. I thought that (Hunter) Gregory did a really good job to play the ball off the wall and they rounded big at second base which forced the third base coach to send him. (Jared) Reaves got the ball in his hands and threw a strike to the plate and then we had a great tag there at the plate. Obviously that was a huge play in the ballgame and I thought that kind of changed things because it kept them with one run there. That was their inning to make the run and once he got the out there he was able to really settle it down the rest of the ballgame."

On Kilcrease getting ou t of the jams early:
"That's really been the Achilles heel for him the last two or three outings. He's been close to 25-30 pitches in his last three outings in the first inning, which tells you right there that you're going to have to go to the bullpen at some point, but tonight he was able to get through that and still keep the pitch count manageable. He got through that with no runs and I think that kind of spurred him along. You could see he started getting confidence as the game continued on tonight."

On how fitting it is for Kilcrease to clinch it in the big game:
"It's very fitting. He's been the pitcher in all of the big games for us over the past three or four years. He's that guy, when it gets to this time of the year and the game's on the line that you want to have the ball in his hands. Our team, our coaching staff and he himself are so confident that he's going to deliver and you can just feel that in the ballpark."

On if it's important to win the SEC Western Division now that the team has clinched:
"I think it's important. This team has done such a good job to get to the position that we're in now that I think at this point you really have to go for it. Adam (Morgan) has been pitching really well in his last three or four starts and he pitched really well against them last year so he's a really gives us a really good matchup. Obviously if we can come out and score some runs, play well, we can put ourselves in a nice position to compete for this Western Division."
 
#28 Nathan Kilcrease, RHP
On how important tonight's game was:
"It was huge. I needed to have a good game. Last week I pitched okay, I started hitting my spots, but I knew it was time for me to have a good game. To have a chance to put our team in the tournament on Thursday night and give our team some momentum going into Friday and Saturday, I just went out and hit my spots for the most part. I made some big pitches, and when I had to make pitches, I made pitches. I really wasn't going to let them score tonight, that's really what it comes down to."

On the importance of the early lead:
"It was big. They kind of had something going on in the first, but I made a big pitch and struck the guy out. Then the offense came in right away and showed me they had my back with two runs in the first. The whole game we had pressure, they were putting runners on base every inning, but that early scoring just showed me that we're all in this together. I can go out, I can pitch and I can give it back to them the way they gave it to me."

On clinching the SEC Tournament birth:
"You never want to go out as a senior class and not make it to the SEC Tournament. That's what was going on in the back of my mind today when I went out there. I've been in the tournament every year that I've been here and I wasn't going to go out without having a chance to get there in my senior year. That's what was in the back of my mind the whole game: getting us to the tournament."
 
#5 Brett Booth, 3B
On his big double in the first:
"I was just trying to get a good swing on it with the bases loaded and two outs. I was just trying to get that big hit that we've been missing all year. I saw a pitch up and just drove it the other way."

On Kilcrease's performance:
"Yeah his performance was gutsy.  He went out there, just like he always does, when we need him in every big game he came through and gave us a good one. Tonight was the same thing; he just battled and competed all night."
 
 

NOTES
* With the win tonight the Tide clinched a berth in the 2011 SEC Tournament. This will be the second time in as many years that Alabama has reached the Tournament under the tutelage of head coach Mitch Gaspard.
* This will mark the seventh straight year that the Tide has reached the SEC Tournament.
* Kilcrease made his 86th career appearance on Thursday night, moving him one behind Lance Cormier for the school record of 87 appearances while at the Capstone.
* Kilcrease earned the 21st win of his career, moving him into a tie for eighth all-time in wins with Manny Torres and Frank Roland.
* Kilcrease pitched his second complete game of the year this season. His last complete game came against Kentucky on March 25 at The Joe. That game was a complete game shutout, however he gave up more hits (seven) in that win than he did in Thursday's game (five).
* Kilcrease has tossed three career complete games, two of which have come in his senior campaign. His first career complete game came last season on May 16 against Mississippi. All of the complete games in his career have come at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
* All six of Kilcrease's wins have come at home this season. The six wins at The Joe sets a career high for him in wins at home and puts him two shy of his career-high for total wins which currently stands at eight.
* Brock Bennett laid down his SEC-leading 19th sacrifice bunt of the season versus the Gamecocks. He already eclipsed the Tide single-season mark earlier this year when he laid down his 13th of the season against Southern Mississippi on April 26.
* As a team, Alabama has laid down three sacrifice bunts on the whole, setting the team total for sacrifice bunts at 53 to take sole possession of first place in the SEC in that category. The 53 sacrifice bunts this season ties a school record which was set last season.
* Taylor Dugas had two hits on the night, helping him to reach the 250-hit mark. He now sits at 10th all-time for career hits.
* Dugas also reached base in all four plate appearances tonight, going 2-for-2 with two walks. This marks the second time this season in which he has reached base in all his plate appearances. The last time came against South Alabama on March 30 when Dugas went 1-for-1 with four walks.
* Hunter Gregory had two hits, tying a career-high for hits in a game. The last time he got two hits in a game was April 14 in the first game of the Tennessee series at The Joe.