Bama Blasts McNeese State to Complete Sweep, 23-1

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Sunday, March 06, 2005

Evan Bush
Evan Bush
  
  

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Alabama Crimson Tide put on a hitting display Sunday afternoon at "The Joe", as the Tide put up 23 runs and 19 hits to defeat the McNeese State Cowboys to extend their win streak to seven games.

It all started in the bottom of the second inning for the Tide. With Zac Welch and Michael McCallister already on base after both were hit by pitches, Second baseman Greg Paiml doubled down the left field line to bring home Welch and McCallister and make the score 2-0. With Paiml already on base, Matt Grooms and Cale Iorg both walked to load the bases for Morrow Thomley, who drove home Paiml on an RBI single. With the bases still loaded and the Tide up 3-0, Evan Bush crushed a pitch to left field to record his first career grand slam and give the Tide comfortable 7-0 lead.

As if a seven-run lead wasn't comfortable enough, The Tide added more insurance with a 5 run third inning. With two outs and Grooms and McCallister on base, Thomley tripled to center field to make the score 9-0 in favor of the Tide. Thomley scored when Evan Bush's pop up was dropped by McNeese St. right fielder Dustin Schroer, giving Alabama a 10-0 lead. With Bush and designated hitter Spencer Pennington on base, catcher Kody Valverde doubled to left center, bringing home two runs and giving the Tide a 12-0 lead after only three innings.

Bama wouldn't score again until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Zac Welch lead off the inning with a solo home run, making the score 13-0. With two outs and Greg Paiml on third, Cale Iorg singled through the left side of the field to drive home Paiml, and give the Tide a 14-0 lead.

In the bottom of the 7th inning, McCallister hit a sacrifice fly to score Matt Bentley. With Chris Kirkland on third and Welch on second, Paiml struck again by hitting a triple down the left field line to give the Tide two more runs, making the score 17-0 Bama.

In the bottom of the eighth, Kirkland hit an RBI single to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Welch singled to drive in the second run of the inning. McCallister then drove in another run on an RBI single to make the score 20-1. Kirkland then reached home on a wild pitch to give the Tide a 21-1 lead. Paiml then added another RBI to his stats by hitting an RBI single to score Welch. Iorg provided the last RBI of the game, driving home McCallister to make the score 23-1 Alabama.

Evan Bush was 2 for 3 with 4 RBI and a grand slam, Cale Iorg had a career high 3 hits and two RBI, but the main catalyst for the Tide in the 23 run onslaught was Sophomore Greg Paiml, who had a career high 4 hits and 5 RBI.

"I'm glad I got to play today", said Paiml, "It started with Bush's grand slam and after that we all got relaxed and started hitting the ball. Last year we didn't hit as well as we wanted to, and now that we have a few more bats in the lineup I think we have a better chance to win more games. Just getting extra at bats makes me feel more comfortable at the plate."

Alabama (12-3) continues its homestand at "The Joe" on Wednesday night as the Tide takes on the Birmingham Southern Panthers at 6:30. The Panthers defeated the Tide last year in Birmingham 4-3 at Scrushy-Striplin Field.

GAME NOTES:

*Alabama's 23 runs are the most since a 26-7 win at Kentucky on March 18,2001 in Lexington. 

*Alabama's 19 hits are the most since rapping out 19 hits in a 19-0 win over Auburn on April 18, 2004 in Tuscaloosa.

*The Crimson Tide's 23-1 victory over McNeese State is the largest margin of victory since a 27-5 win over Kansas State on March 23, 1999 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.  The 22-run margin of victory is the fourth-most lopsided win in the Jim Wells era.

*Senior second baseman Allen Rice missed the game on Sunday due to the death of his maternal grandmother.

*Sophomore Greg Paiml replaced Rice in the line up and turned in a career day at the plate.  Paiml went 4-for-6, with two runs scored and five RBI in the 23-1 win over McNeese State.  He drove in the first two runs of the game with a two-run double in the Tide's seven-run second inning.  He added a two-run triple in the seventh and added an RBI single in the Crimson Tide's six-run eighth inning.

*Paiml's four hits and five RBI are both career highs.  The four hits surpasses his previous total of three set against South Alabama on March 31, 2004 in Mobile.  The five RBI eclipsed his previous total of three set last weekend against Duquesne.

*Junior third baseman Evan Bush went 2-for-3 in the win over McNeese State, including his first career grand slam in the Crimson Tide's seven-run, second inning.  Bush greeted MSU reliever Jason Bleeker and smashed his first pitch over the wall in left-center field to give Bama a 7-0 lead. 

*Bush leads Alabama with four home runs and 18 this season.  The Rainbow City native hit one home run and three of the Tide's four games this week.  He homered in the win over Samford (Mar. 2) and then added four-baggers in back-to-back games against McNeese State on March 5-6.

*Freshman shortstop Cale Iorg was 3-for-6 with three runs scored and two RBI in the win over MSU.  He posted three hits in his final three at-bats, including an RBI single in the sixth and eighth innings.  The three hits and two RBI were both career highs for the Knoxville, Tenn., native.

*Senior first baseman Zac Welch went 2-for-4 in the win over McNeese State and scored a career-high four runs.  His previous high was three runs on three different occassions, most recently against SE Missouri State (Mar. 14) last year.  Welch also slammed his first home run of the year with a solo blast in the sixth inning to give Alabama a 13-0 lead.

*Sophomore right fielder Michael McCallister went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. 

*The 7-8-9 hitters in the Alabama lineup was a combined 8-for-14 (.571) with nine runs scored, one double, one triple, one home run and nine RBI.

*Senior LHP Brent Carter threw six scoreless innings for his third straight win.  The Americus, Ga., native allowed only two hits and struck out eight in the win over McNeese State.  He retired 18 of the 20 batters he faced, including the first nine in-a-row.

*Freshman Josh Copeland pitched a career-high two innings in the win over McNeese State.

*Sophomore RHP Ian Moore made his Alabama debut with a scoreless ninth inning on Sunday.  He hit one batter and recorded three strikeouts.

*Alabama pitchers struck out 12 batters in the win on Sunday and finished the weekend with 46 strikeouts.  The 46 strikeouts are the most in a three-game series in the Wells era.  The previoius high was 44 strikeouts set last weekend against Duquesne. 

*In its last two weekend series, Alabama has recorded 90 strikeouts on the mound.

*Alabama held McNeese State to three runs and 10 hits in the three game series.

*Alabama has won a season-high seven straight games.  The seven-game winning streak is the longest by Alabama since the 2004 season.  In addition, the Crimson Tide has won 11 of its last 12 games dating back to Feb. 13th.

*Alabama is 12-3 after 15 games, equaling the best start by Alabama since 2003.

*The Crimson Tide has won all 10 home games to open the 2005 season.  The most home wins to open a season since 2002.