Friday, March 05, 2004
» Box Score
SHREVEPORT, La. -- Louisiana Tech did everything right in its 6-1 win over the University of Alabama baseball team in first-round action of the 2004 Centenary Gent Classic played at Shehee Field on the Centenary College campus.
The Bulldogs played sterling defense and put together timely two outs hits in beating the No. 31 Crimson Tide.
And junior Clayton Meyer pitched, too.
The right-hander handcuffed the Crimson Tide, allowing just one run and five hits en route to his first complete game of the season. Meyer added six
strikeouts and one walk as he threw 111 pitches.
The former Blinn Junior College product faced the minimum through six innings, allowing only one hit and three base runners. At one point in the game, he
retired 16 consecutive Alabama hitters.
Louisiana Tech (2-1) jumped on Alabama with three runs in the top of the first inning off junior left-hander Brent Carter to take a 3-0 lead.
After retiring the leadoff hitter, Carter gave up back-to-back singles to Gary Holik and Jeff Walker before Kyle Spangler smashed a three-run home run over
the green monster in deep center field. Brandon Hudson reached on a two-out single, but Carter retired Anthony Sabatini to end the inning and avoid further damage.
That’s all Meyer would need against the Crimson Tide.
The Bulldogs tacked on another run in the third inning with a pair of two out hits off Carter, Jeremy Alford ripped a double into the right-center field gap and scored on Hudson’s bloop single to right to give Tech a 4-0 lead.
Carter (3-1) last only four-plus innings and allowed four runs on eights in his first loss of the season. He did not walk a batter and struck out two.
It was Carter’s first loss since dropping a 2-1 decision to South Carolina on May 9, 2003.
The four-inning stint was the shortest start in Carter’s three-year career. His previous shortest outing was 4 1/3 innings against Houston (Feb. 15) at
the Minute Maid Park Classic and against LSU (March 29) last year.
Junior right-hander Eric Mennen replaced Carter after a leadoff single to Holik in the fifth inning and thanks to some nifty pitching was able to keep Bama in the game.
Mennen pitched around two errors that put runners and second and third with no outs, and then made a defensive gem of his own on a hard smash up the middle
that saved two runs. Gabe Scott then made a nice running catch in foul territory on Alford’s pop fly and then threw a strike to home, preventing Holik to tag from third. Mennen then struck out Hudson to end the inning and keep UA in the game.
Alabama (9-3) managed back-to-back two-out hits in the seventh inning, but failed to score.
The Bulldogs added singles runs in the eighth and ninth innings off Mennen. Pinch-runner Dusty McHale scored on Mims Boyce’s two-out single in the eighth
inning to take a 5-0 lead.
Alabama avoided the shutout with a run in the bottom of the eighth inning when sophomore leftfielder Evan Bush doubled down the left line and later scored on
junior second baseman Rocky Scelfo’s single to right field.
Holik, who went 3-for-5 and scored two runs, singled with one out in the eighth and scored on Gil Laird’s triple to left to make the final score 6-1.
Tech managed 14 hits in the game, including three by Hudson and two each by Spangler and Stephen Winters.
Mennen allowed two runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings for Alabama. Sophomore right-hander Allen Ponder allowed one hit and struck out one batter in
two-thirds of an inning.
Junior first baseman Zac Welch had two of the Crimson Tide’s five hits in the loss.
Alabama returns to action against the host Centenary Gentlemen on Saturday, Mar. 6 at 8 p.m. in second round action of the Gent Classic. Kansas State and
Louisiana Tech square off Saturday at 5 p.m.
*Alabama has two coaches and four players from the state of Louisiana. Head coach Jim Wells is a native of Shreveport/Bossier City and began his coaching career at Loyola Prep in Shreveport. Assistant coach Todd Butler is a native of Lake Charles, La. The four players from Louisiana include freshman Brandon Belcher (Ruston), Wade LeBlanc (Lake Charles), Rocky Scelfo (Youngsville) and Gabe Scott (Lake Charles).
*Carter was tagged for three runs on four hits in the top of the first inning, including a three-run home run by Louisiana Tech first baseman Kyle
Spangler, but threw only 11 pitches in the inning.
*Junior third baseman Allen Rice went 0-for-4 in the loss with two strikeouts to end his hitting streak at 11 games this season and 14 straight games
dating back to last year.
*Meyer’s complete game was the second of the year against Alabama. Cincinnati right-hander Justin Minges has the other complete game, throwing eight innings in a 6-3 loss to Alabama on Feb. 20, 2004.