TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ?? The University of Alabama baseball team used a two-out rally in the fourth inning to score five consecutive runs en route to a 10-1 season opening win over Cal Poly Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Sophomore second baseman Brandon May led the Tide’s 14-hit attack with a career-high four hits, including his first career home run in the eighth inning, and four RBI.
Junior right fielder Kent Matthes had two hits, including a three-run home run that ignited the UA offense in the fourth inning. Freshman left fielder Ross Wilson went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and one RBI in his collegiate debut.
May started the fourth-inning rally with a two-out single to right field and he capped the night with his first collegiate home run in the eighth inning.
“It was great,” May said. “The intensity was high throughout the whole game. We were having fun. The home run was a great feeling. I am going to try and enjoy it.”
Matthes slammed a three-run home run off the top of the center field wall to put the Tide on the board in a five-run, fourth inning. Junior shortstop Jeff Texada capped the inning with a two-run single to right field as UA took a 5-1 lead.
May and senior first baseman Matt Bentley started the two-out rally with back-to-back singles off Cal Poly starter Eric Massingham. Matthes then slammed a three-run home run to dead center to give the Tide a 3-1 lead. Junior DH Ryan Rhoden was hit by a pitch following Matthes’ home run and sophomore third baseman Jake Smith doubled into the left field corner. Texada then singled to right to extend the lead to 5-1.
The five-run outburst was more than enough for UA senior left-hander Will Stroup (1-0), who earned the win with five innings on the mound. He allowed one run on two hits, with two walks and five strikeouts.
Junior right-hander Austin Hyatt capped a strong night on the mound with four scoreless innings in relief of Stroup. Hyatt did not allow a hit and struck out three batters.
Massingham (0-1) allowed six runs and seven his in 4 1/3 innings for the Mustangs and took the loss.
The Crimson Tide added another run in the sixth when freshman left fielder Ross Wilson singled and later scored on May’s RBI double to left-center field to make it 6-1.
Alabama continued its two-out theme with two more runs in the sixth inning off left-hander Grant Theophilus. Wilson plated one run with a two-out infield single and May drove in another run with a base hit to center.
May capped the scoring with a two-run home run in the eighth inning off reliever Mark DeVincenzi.
Cal Poly (0-1) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Kyle Smith doubled to right center, took third on a wild pitch and scored when Logan Schafer reached on an error by UA second baseman Brandon May.
The teams will conclude this three-game series with a double header on Saturday, February 23 at 2 p.m. (CST).
*This was the first-ever meeting between Alabama and Cal Poly. The Mustangs also played their first-ever game against an SEC team.
*Assistant coach B.J. Green is currently on administrative leave and awaiting a bone marrow transplant at UAB Hospital in Birmingham. The Crimson Tide baseball team hung Green’s jersey (No. 12) in the dugout prior to Friday’s season opener and many players and coaches have “BJ” written on the outside of the game caps.
*The Alabama baseball team has switched dugouts for the 2008 season and will now occupy the third base dugout.