Baseball Game Notes: Minute Maid Park Classic

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Taylor Tankersley
Taylor Tankersley



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BAMA OPENS 2003 SEASON AT MINUTE MAID PARK COLLEGE CLASSIC

The University of Alabama baseball team opens its 110th season of intercollegiate baseball at the 2003 Minute Maid Park College Classic (Feb. 14-16) at Minute Maid Park in Houston.  Alabama will be making its first-ever appearance at Minute Maid Park College Classic.  The Crimson Tide will open the three-day event on Friday, Feb. 14 against Louisiana Lafayette at 11 a.m.  Alabama will also face Houston (Saturday, Feb. 15) and Rice (Sunday, Feb. 16). 

2003 MMP College Classic Schedule

Friday, Feb. 14
11 a.m. -- Alabama (home) vs. UL Lafayette
 3 p.m. -- Baylor vs. Houston
 7 p.m. -- Texas A&M vs. Rice

Saturday, Feb. 15
11 a.m. -- Alabama (visitor) vs. Houston
 3 p.m. -- Texas A&M vs. UL Lafayette
 7 p.m. -- Baylor vs. Rice

Sunday, Feb. 16
11 a.m. -- Alabama (home) vs. Rice
 3 p.m. -- Baylor vs. UL Lafayette
 7 p.m. -- Texas A&M vs. Houston

THE RECORDS

Alabama (0-0) is playing its 2003 season opener today, while Louisiana-Lafayette (2-2) has played four games, including an 11-2 loss at Northwestern State this past Tuesday night.

THE COACHES

Alabama's Jim Wells begins his ninth season with the Crimson Tide today against UL Lafayette.  He has compiled a 371-152 (.709) record at the helm of the Crimson Tide.  Overall, Wells is 563-241 (.700) as he opens his 14th season as a Division I head coach today.  UL Lafayette coach Tony Robichaux has posted a 288-193 (.599) record in his ninth year with the Ragin' Cajuns.  Overall, Robichaux is 532-343 (.608) in 16 years at McNeese State and ULL.

SEASON OPENERS

Alabama has compiled a 71-37-1 (.656) all-time record in season openers, dating back to the first season of baseball in 1892.

NEXT GAME

Alabama will face the No. 13 Houston Cougars at 11 a.m. Saturday here at Minute Maid Park.

SEASON OPENER NOTES

*Alabama has compiled a 71-37-1 (.656) all-time record in season openers, dating back to the first season of baseball in 1892. 

*In its first-ever game, Alabama defeated Sewanee 6-3 on July 1, 1892 at Birmingham's Lakeview Park.  The Crimson Tide was coached by Shelby Fletcher, making his only appearance as the UA baseball skipper.

*Louisiana-Lafayette is the 59th different opening day opponent for the Crimson Tide, dating back to the 1892 season.

*Alabama's most common opening day opponents are Birmingham Barons (11 games), Samford (10 games) and South Alabama (9 games).

*Alabama has won nine straight season openers, dating back to the 1994 season.

*Since 1990, Alabama is 12-1 (.923) in its last 13 season openers.

*Alabama is opening the season on the road for the first time since 1999, when UA defeated Houston 5-1 at Cougar Field.

*The 2003 season marks just the 21st time since 1945 that Alabama has opened the baseball season away from home. 

*Alabama is 12-9 (.571) in those 21 road openers since 1945.

*Since 1982, Alabama has opened away from home only six times (1989, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2003).

*The 2003 Minute Maid Park College Classic marks just the fifth time in school history that Alabama has begun the season with a regular-season tournament.  The last time Alabama opened the regular season with a tournament was the 1996 Olive Garden Classic in Kissimmee, Fla., the spring training home of the Houston Astros.

Year   Season Opening Tournament
1952   Rollins College Tournament
1973   South Alabama Classic
1994   Winn Dixie Showdown
1996   Olive Garden Classic
2003   Minute Maid Park College Classic

BAMA HAS WON NINE STRAIGHT OPENERS

Alabama won nine consecutive season openers, the longest streak in school history.  The current streak began with a 3-0 win over New Orleans to open the 1994 season at the Winn Dixie Showdown in the Louisiana Superdome. 

*Alabama's 4-0 win over Louisiana Tech to open the 2002 season set the all-time UA record for consecutive opening days victories. 

*The previous record was eight straight opening day wins from 1901-08 under the guidance of coaches Thomas Stouch, Schwartz (first name unknown) and J.W.H. Pollard.

*Alabama's current nine-game winning streak in season openers:

Year   Opening Day Result
2002   Alabama 4, Louisiana Tech 0
2001   Alabama 10, Oklahoma 5
2000   Alabama 11, BYU 1
1999   Alabama 5, at Houston 1
1998   Alabama 15, Houston 5
1997   Alabama 8, Marshall 2
1996   Alabama 7, Georgia Tech 2
1995   Alabama 2, MTSU 1 (11)
1994   Alabama 3, New Orleans 0

*Alabama has not suffered an opening day loss since dropping a 4-3 decision to South Alabama at Mobile's Eddie Stanky Field to open the 1993 season.

WELLS IN SEASON OPENERS

Alabama head coach Jim Wells is 12-1 (.923) in season openers, winning his last nine in-a-row at Northwestern State (1994) and Alabama (1995-2002). 

*Wells only loss in a season opener was a 12-6 setback at Rice in 1993. 

*Overall, Wells has forged a 15-4 (.798) opening day record in his 13-year career, sweeping three double headers (1990, 1994 and 2001), splitting two twinbills (1991, 1992) and suffering one sweep (1993).

Year   Opening Day Result
1990   Northwestern State 7, Houston Baptist 0 D(H)
       Northwestern State 4, Houston Baptist 0 (DH)
1991   Northwestern State 5, Centenary 3 (DH)
       Centenary 4, Northwestern State 1 (DH)
1992   Northwestern State 11, Centenary 10 (DH)
       Centenary 12, Northwestern State 10 (DH)
1993   Rice 12, Northwestern State 6 (DH)
       Rice 7, Northwestern State 3 (DH)
1994   Northwestern State 7, Ouchita Baptist 1(DH)
       Northwestern State 14, Ouchita Baptist 2 (DH)
1995   Alabama 2, MTSU 1 (11)
1996   Alabama 7, Georgia Tech 2
1997   Alabama 8, Marshall 2
1998   Alabama 15, Houston 5
1999   Alabama 5, at Houston 1
2000   Alabama 11, BYU 1
2001   Alabama 10, Oklahoma 5
2002   Alabama 4, Louisiana Tech 0

OPENING DAY SHUTOUTS ARE RARE

Alabama's 4-0 win over Louisiana Tech in the 2002 season opener marked just the 11th opening day shutout in school history, and first since a 3-0 win over New Orleans in 1994 at the Louisiana Superdome.  

*The Crimson Tide's first opening day shutout was a 9-0 win over Howard in 1907.  The shutout victory over Louisiana Tech marked the second time Alabama has opened the season with the Bulldogs and recorded a shutout.  UA also opened the 1938 season with La. Tech, posting a 3-0 win.

All-Time Opening Day Shutouts

1907  Alabama 9, Howard 0
1908  Alabama 13, Columbus 0 (Away)
1930  Alabama 10, Howard 0
1936  Alabama 1, Bham Southern 0
1938  Alabama 3, Louisiana Tech 0
1955  Alabama 5, Rollins College 0
1967  Alabama 5, Jacksonville State 0
1986  Alabama 15, Faulkner 0
1988  Alabama 7, Western Kentucky 0
1994  Alabama 3, New Orleans 0
2002  Alabama 4, Louisiana Tech 0

*In addition, Alabama has been shutout seven times on opening day, but not since a 1-0 loss at LSU to open the 1956 season, a span of 46 years.

TOURNEY PLAY FOR ALABAMA

The 2003 Minute Maid Park College Classic is the Crimson Tide's 21st regular season tournament.  Alabama is 45-42-1 (.517) in all-time regular-season tournament play, dating back to its first tournament in 1951.

*The 2003 Minute Maid Park College Classic marks the fifth regular-season tournament under Coach Wells.  The Crimson Tide skipper has also participated in the 1995 Continental Airlines Aggie Classic, 1996 Olive Garden Classic, 2000 Winn Dixie Showdown and 2001 Hormel Foods Classic.

*The Crimson Tide won the 2002 Hormel Foods Classic played at the HHH Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn.  Alabama posted a 2-1 record with wins over Tennessee (9-0) and Florida Atlantic (8-3) to win its first regular season tournament since 1972.