Monday, February 17, 2003
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- University of Alabama freshman right-hander Allen Ponder was named the Southeastern Conference "Pitcher of the Week" in an announcement made Monday by the league office.
The true freshman made his Alabama debut against the No. 2 Rice Owls turned in a strong outing for the Crimson Tide.
Ponder worked five scoreless innings, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out five in the upset win over Rice.
The Opelika, Ala., native entered the game in the fourth inning with the Crimson Tide trailing 5-2 and runners on the corners. Ponder struck out Rice leadoff hitter Jeff Jorgensen and then got the No. 2 hitter in the lineup to ground out to end the inning.
"(Allen) entered the game in a tough situation and did a great job," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "We told him three hours before the game that he would be the first one in out the bullpen and he really looked forward to it. We did not know he'd be in the game that earlier, but thanks to him we won the game."
Alabama tied the game in the fifth and added the winning run in the sixth, making Ponder a winner in his debut against the No.2 Owls.
Ponder limited the Owls to a .125 batting average (2-for-16), shutting down a team that won more than 50 games last year and played in the College World Series.
A 2002 graduate of Lee-Scott Academy in Opelika, Ponder was a three-year starter for coach Jay Harper
In his five-year career, Ponder was 37-6 (.860) with a 1.16 ERA. He pitched 283 career innings and recorded 484 strikeouts. Ponder compiled a .517 batting average and set the Lee-Scott Academy record with 49 home runs.
As a prep senior, Ponder posted a 12-0 record and 0.09 ERA, allowing only one earned run in 79.2 innings. He added 139 strikeouts and seven walks.