Bama Rallies for 5-3 Win Over Jacksonville State

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Allen Rice

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama snapped a two-game losing streak to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks Wednesday night, posting a 5-3 victory over its cross state rival at "The Joe".

After five scoreless innings, the Gamecocks (7-12) got on the board first in the top of the sixth when left fielder Winston Pearson hit a solo home run to left field to put Jacksonville State up 1-0. With first baseman Clint Carroll on base, Austin Stein lifted the Gamecocks to a 3-0 lead when the designated hitter hit a home run to right field.

With the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the sixth, right fielder Morrow Thomley drove home third baseman Rocky Scelfo to bring the Tide within two.  Allen Rice made the score 3-2 when he scored on a throwing error by Jacksonville State shortstop Jake Ball on the very same play.

Once again the bases would be loaded for Alabama, but this time it was in the bottom of the seventh, when Jacksonville State pitcher Lee Drinkard hit Scelfo with the pitch, which brought catcher Kody Valverde home to tie the game at 3-3. The Tide took the lead when Rice knocked in what would be the winning run with a single to centerfield.  Michael McCallister, who ripped a double to right-center field, scored on Rice's base hit.

Alabama added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when left fielder Gabe Scott, who is currently riding an 11 game hitting streak, scored on a Drinkard passed ball.

Brent Carter (4-1) may have gotten the win with his scoreless, one hit effort in the seventh inning, but the real story on the mound belonged to true freshman Josh Copeland. Copeland, who opened with 4 2/3 no-hit innings, completed five innings and gave up one hit and struck out five batters in his first start for the Crimson Tide. Jordan Davis picked up his first save of the year, pitching 1 shut out inning, allowing no hits and striking out 1. 

The Crimson Tide (19-5, 3-0 SEC) is set to take the road for the next four games, starting with a weekend SEC series in Nashville against the Vanderbilt Commodores. First pitch on Friday from Charles Hawkins Field is scheduled for 6 pm.

GAME NOTES:

*Alabama won its fifth straight game with a 5-3 win over Jacksonville State on Wednesday night at the Joe. 

*Three of Alabama's wins in the five-game winning streak have been by 5-3 scores.  The Crimson Tide won the first two games of the Kentucky series by identical 5-3 scores.

*Alabama also snapped a two-game losing streak to Jax State on Wednesday night.  The Crimson Tide had not beaten the Gamecocks since an 11-10 win in Jacksonville during the 2002 season.  Alabama has not won at home against JSU since a 17-0 win in 2001.  Bama and Jax State have split the eight meetings since 1998.

*Alabama closed its season-long 16-game homestand with a 14-2 record and five straight wins.  UA opened the homestand on Feb. 25 and won the first eight games, its longest winning streak of the season.

*Senior 3B Rocky Scelfo (2-for-3, 2B, RBI) has hit safely in all 12 starts for Alabama this season.  Scelfo is 20-for-41 (.488) in those 12 starts.  He was hit by pitch with the bases loaded in the seventh inning to force home Kody Valverde from third base with the tying run.

*Senior LF Gabe Scott (1-for-3) extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a second-inning single.  Scott is batting .351 (13-for-37) during his career long hitting streak.  He was hit by pitch and scored a key insurance run in the eighth inning to give the Tide a 5-3 lead.

*Junior 1B Evan Bush (0-for-1, 3 BB, K) walked three times in the win over Jax State.  The Rainbow City native has walked nine times in the last three games, including six straight walks against Kentucky and Jax State.

*Senior DH Allen Rice (2-for-4) had two hits in the win over Jax State, including a bases loaded single in the seventh inning that scored Michael McCallister with the winning run.  Rice has had two game winning RBI for Alabama in the last three games.  He had a base hit in the seventh inning of Saturday's 5-3 win over Kentucky.

*Freshman RHP Josh Copeland earned his first start against Jax State and threw five scoreless innings.  He allowed one infield hit and struck out five batters.  He no hit the Gamecocks for 4 2/3 innings before Jason Horn reached on an infield single with two outs in the fifth inning.

*Junior RHP Matt Downs struggled for the third straight outing.  The Centreville native pitched the sixth inning and allowed three runs and three hits, including a pair of home runs as JSU took a 3-0 lead.  Winston Pearson slammed a one-out home run to left to break a scoreless tie and Austin Stien drilled a two-out, two-run home run to up the lead to 3-0.

*In his last three outings, Downs has yielded nine runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

*Senior LHP Brent Carter worked a scoreless seventh inning and picked up the win.  Carter allowed one hit and struck out one batter in his second relief stint of the year.  The win was his 22nd career win at Alabama, tying Al Drumheller (1991-93) and Mike Sodders (1985-88) for fifth place all-time.

*Junior RHP Jordan Davis pitched a perfect ninth inning, with one strikeout, for his first save of the season.   Davis has appeared in 11 games for Alabama this season and has one win, seven holds and one save.

*Davis' save was the first by Alabama since March 5th against McNeese State.