No. 19 Baseball Set to Host Samford Tuesday

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Senior catcher Brock Bennett leads the club with a .357 batting average.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Senior catcher Brock Bennett leads the club with a .357 batting average.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

April 4, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 19-ranked Alabama baseball team (21-9) will play four games this week, including one home game and three road games. Alabama will host the Samford Bulldogs (19-11) on Tuesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Tide travels to Nashville to take on the No. 1-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores in a three-game SEC series starting on Friday.

Game 31
Tuesday, April 4
#19 Alabama (21-9, 7-2 SEC) vs. Samford (19-11, 8-4 SoCon)
Sewell-Thomas Stadium (6,571) • Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (CTSN)
Announcers: Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey
Stations: WFFN-FM 95.3, WTSK-AM 790- Tuscaloosa, and CTSN Affiliates
TV: None
Streaming Audio/Video: www.RollTide.com
Live Stats: www.RollTide.com

Probable Starting Pitchers    W-L   ERA     G/GS    IP      H    R    ER    BB    SO
UA-Taylor Wolfe (So., LHP)    1-2   4.11    9/5     30.2    22   16   14    11    34
SAM-C.K. Irby (Fr., RHP)      2-1   2.16    12/0    16.2    12   4    4     5     22

Crimson Tide Moves Up in National Rankings
After being ranked in all four polls for the first time all season last week, Alabama posted a 3-2 record with two wins over top-25 competition and moved up in three of the four national polls, that have been released. The Crimson Tide is ranked the highest in the College Baseball News poll, moving up two spots to No. 19 in the country. The Tide moved up four spots in the Baseball America poll to No. 21 and one spot in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll to No. 24.

Alabama on the Radio
Tuesday's game between Alabama and Samford can be heard on the on the radio through the Crimson Tide Sports Network. The games can be aired on WFFN-FM 95.3 and WTSK-AM 790 in Tuscaloosa, as well as other stations around Alabama, or on RollTide.com. Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey will call the action for the broadcast live from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Samford Bulldogs at a Glance
During non-conference play, the Bulldogs have posted wins over in-state opponents Troy, Jacksonville State and two over UAB. Samford has had success in the Southern Conference as well as they are tied with UNC-Greensboro for third in the SOCON standings and won two out of three games against conference co-leader Georgia Southern two weekends ago. Offensively, Samford is hitting .289 as a team, while clubbing 22 home runs this season, which are 14 more than Alabama's total. The Bulldogs are led by freshman outfielder Phillip Ervin who is hitting .415 on the season and is tied for third on the team with 14 RBI. The team co-leaders in RBI are first baseman Saxon Butler (.339, five home runs) and catcher Brandon Miller (.294, nine home runs) with 29 RBI each. Miller's nine home runs are better than Alabama's team total of eight. The Bulldog pitching staff is holding the opposition to a .234 batting average, while posting a team ERA of 2.90 through 251.0 innings. Tuesday's probable starting pitcher. C.K. Irby (2-1), is slated to make his first career start after coming out of the bullpen 12 times this season. In his 16.2 innings, Irby has a 2.16 ERA with 22 strikeouts and five walks and has allowed 12 hits and four earned runs. The Bulldogs most common midweek starter has been righty Joshua VanFleteren, who has a 4.81 ERA in six starts. VanFleteren has compiled a 2-2 record so far this year and has 17 strikeouts for Samford. Andrew Jones has appeared in 13 games and hasn't given up a single earned run this season and has seven of the team's eight saves. 

Series History Versus Samford
Alabama and Samford have played 100 games against one another and Alabama holds 86-14 in those contests. The two teams have split the last 10 games in the series. Samford is currently on a three-game win streak against the Crimson Tide, including a sweep of the Tide in 2010, winning once in Tuscaloosa and one in Birmingham.

The Last Outing
After winning the first two games of the SEC series against Arkansas, Alabama had won its 16th straight game at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The streak came to an end on Sunday, as the Tide fell to the Razorbacks by a final count of 4-3. Alabama scored twice in the first inning to take an early lead, but fell behind 4-2 after Arkansas scored once in the second and third innings and twice in the fourth. The Crimson Tide answered with a run in the bottom half of the fourth, but the Arkansas bullpen combined for 5.2 shutout innings, and allowed one hit to shut the door on Alabama. The Crimson Tide was held to a season-low three hits.

Last Week in Review
The No. 21 Alabama baseball team posted a 3-2 record on the week and is now 21-9 overall. After winning two of three games from No. 13 Arkansas, UA improved to 7-2 to open SEC play and is in first place in the Western Division. The Crimson Tide opened the week with a 5-1 loss at UAB in a game played at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. The loss to the Blazers snapped a season-long seven-game win streak for Alabama. Alabama then defeated South Alabama 4-3 at home on Wednesday, before taking two of three from the Razorbacks over the weekend. The UA pitching staff held opponents to a .238 batting average while posting 37 strikeouts to 11 walks in 44.0 innings.

Team Notes
Alabama's 7-2 SEC record is tied for the best record overall in the conference with No. 1 Vanderbilt, No. 3 South Carolina, and No. 4 Florida ... Alabama improved to 19-2 at home, which is the best start at Sewell-Thomas Stadium since the 2002 season ... Alabama has now won five straight series against SEC competition ... with wins over Arkansas on Friday and Saturday, the Crimson Tide notched their first wins over a ranked opponent this season.

Player Notes
Josh Rosecrans, who was the SEC Player of the Week last week, led the Tide with a .316 average last week ... Rosecrans is now batting .293 for the season ... Taylor Dugas hit .313 for the week with an on-base percentage of .522 ... Dugas reached base safely in nine straight plate appearances during the week, and scored a team-high seven runs in five games ... Dugas is second on the team with a .355 batting average with a .493 on-base percentage and leads the team with 32 runs scored, 38 hits, 10 doubles, three triples, and 27 walks ... Austen Smith led the team with five RBI, also scored two runs and had a double and a triple ... with five RBI last week, Smith now leads the team with 25 RBI for the season ... Brock Bennett has a team-high .357 batting average and leads the SEC with 12 sacrifice bunts ... Bennett had five sac bunts for the week, including three in the series against Arkansas ... Jonathan Smart picked up saves six and seven of the season in Friday and Saturday's wins over Arkansas ... the seven saves are a career-high for the senior left-hander ... Smart has a 1.78 ERA in a team-high 14 appearances, with seven saves in 25.1 innings pitched ... Adam Windsor made his first appearance since breaking a finger in late February, throwing 3.0 innings against South Alabama on Wednesday ... Windsor allowed one unearned run on two hits against the Jaguars ... Trey Pilkington threw 3.0 scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Sunday against Arkansas ... Pilkington made his second start of the season in a losing effort against UAB on Tuesday, striking out three in a career-long 6.1 innings pitched ... Adam Morgan improved to 4-1 on the year, after throwing 8.0 innings, allowing two earned runs, on six hits with seven strikeouts on Saturday against Arkansas ... Morgan has a 4.10 ERA in 41.2 innings with 37 strikeouts in seven starts this season ... Nathan Kilcrease (4-1) picked up his fourth win of the season, throwing 7.0 innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs on Friday against Arkansas ... Kilcrease has a 1.90 ERA in 47.1 innings pitched, and has 48 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .220 batting average.

Dugas Climbing Tide's 200-Hit List
When Taylor Dugas recorded his second hit against Eastern Illinois on March 13, he notched his 200th hit at Alabama, becoming the 19th player in school history to reach the 200-hit mark. With three hits in the series against Arkansas, he passes Kent Matthes (2006-09) and Ross Wilson (2007-10) to move into 14th place on the all-time on the Alabama hit list. Dugas needs four hits to pass Allen Rice (2002-05) and Jake Smith (2007-10) for 12th all-time.

Tide at The Joe
After winning the first two games of the series against No. 13-ranked Arkansas, Alabama won 16 straight games at Sewell-Thomas Stadium to improve to 19-1 at home this season. The streak ended with a 4-3 loss on Sunday. The Tide has won 42 of its last 51 games at The Joe, and since 1948, Alabama has a 1,127-469 (.706) all-time record at the current location. As a team, Alabama is hitting .293 at home, while the pitching staff is holding the opponents to a .213 batting average with a 2.31 ERA. Jared Reaves is hitting .403 (29-for-72) with 24 runs, 16 RBI, and with 15 free passes (11 walks, 4 HBP) he has an on-base percentage of .528. Brock Bennett has a .380 average (27-for-71), Josh Rosecrans has a .323 average at home, and Taylor Dugas is hitting .315 with 25 runs scored, seven doubles, two triples and a .469 OBP.

On Deck for the Tide
After the non-conference game against Samford, the Crimson Tide travels to Nashville, Tenn., to take on the top ranked Vanderbilt Commodores in a three-game SEC series beginning on Friday. First pitch for Friday's game, which will be televised on CSS, is slated for 6 p.m. CT from Hawkins Field. Game two begins at 2 p.m. and game three is slated to start at 1 p.m.