April 15, 2010
Alabama Game Notes (LSU Series)
Alabama Season Statistics
ALABAMA BASEBALL GAME NOTES vs. LSU TIGERS
April 16-18, 2010 - Alex Box Stadium - Baton Rouge, La.
Records: Alabama (22-12, 5-7 SEC)
LSU (27-6, 8-4 SEC)
Date Time Starting Pitchers
Friday, April 16 7 p.m. Adam Morgan (LHP, 4-1, 3.97 ERA) vs. Anthony Renaudo (RHP, 1-0, 2.40 ERA)
Saturday, April 17 7 p.m. Tyler White (RHP, 3-2, 2.92 ERA) vs. Joey Bourgeios (RHP, 3-1, 6.16 ERA)
Sunday, April 18. 1 p.m. Jimmy Nelson (RHP, 4-1, 3.40 ERA) vs. Chris Matulis (LHP, 5-1, 3.82 ERA)
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Chris Stewart and Mick Gillispie
Station: WFFN-FM (95.3) in Tuscaloosa
TV: Cox Sports Television (CST)
Play-by-Play: Lyn Rollins and Ben McDonald
TODAY'S GAME: The Alabama baseball team closes out a two-week road trip when the Crimson Tide makes its first-ever appearance at the new Alex Box Stadium for a three-game Southeastern Conference series with the sixth-ranked LSU Tigers. The series opener is set for Friday, April 16, at 7:07 p.m. (CDT). The teams will also play Saturday, April 17, at 7:07 p.m. (CDT) and Sunday, April 18, at 1:07 p.m. (CDT). All three games will be televised throughout the state of Louisiana by Cox Sports Television (CST), with veteran play-by-play announcer Lyn Rollins and former LSU standout and first-round draft pick Ben McDonald calling the action. The LSU series will conclude a stretch where Alabama played eight of nine games on the road from April 7-18, including back-to-back SEC series at Kentucky (April 9-11) and LSU (April 16-18). The Crimson Tide (22-12, 5-7 SEC) is 6-7 on the road this season, with back-to-back wins at Kentucky (11-9) and Southeastern Louisiana (10-5) in its last two road outings. LSU (26-6, 8-4 SEC) is coming off a 10-4 win over arch-rival Tulane on Wednesday night at Alex Box Stadium.
HEAD COACH Mitch Gaspard: Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard is 22-12 (.647) in his first season as the Crimson Tide's head coach. Overall, he has compiled a 233-140 (.625) record in seven seasons as a head coach. He was named the school's 30th head coach on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009, replacing Jim Wells, who retired after 15 seasons. Gaspard begins his 10th overall season with the Crimson Tide baseball program this spring, after serving two stints as an assistant coach under Wells from 1995-2001 and 2008-09, where he helped land some of the nation's top recruiting classes. Gaspard spent six years as the head coach at Northwestern State, where he compiled a 211-128 (.622) record from 2002-07. He led the Demons to a pair of Southland Conference championships, one SLC Tournament title and a berth into the 2005 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
LOUISIANA CONNECTIONS: Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard is a former LSU second baseman. He is one of two former LSU players coaching the SEC today along with Mississippi head coach Mike Bianco. Gaspard played on Skip Bertman's first LSU team in 1984 and lettered for the Tigers in 1985, before transferring to Houston. He played on LSU teams that went 73-41 and captured the 1985 SEC Western Division title (41-18) and played in the school's first NCAA Regional since 1975. Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas is a native of Lafayette, La., and was a four-year starter at Teurling's Catholic, where he hit .518 (176-for-340) with 19 home runs and 159 RBI. He was also the starting quarterback and punter on the football team.
RPI WATCH: Alabama is 12th in the latest RPI rankings, released Thursday, April 15, by Boyd Nation (www.boydsworld.com). The Crimson Tide is one of seven SEC teams among the top 20 and one of 10 SEC teams among the top 45. Alabama will play 16 teams ranked in the latest top 100 RPI.
RANKED TEAMS: Alabama is 4-5 (.444) against ranked teams this season, including a series win over No. 16 Vanderbilt (March 19-21) in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide also has a key road win at No. 23 SE Louisiana on April 14. Alabama has nine different opponents ranked in this week's various polls, including Auburn, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, South Carolina, Southeastern Louisiana and Vanderbilt. The combined record of those nine teams is 213-76 (.737) this season.
ALABAMA HITTING NOTES: Alabama is second in the SEC in sacrifice bunts (30), fifth in hitting (.308) and last in the league in home runs (23) and slugging percentage (.435) ... Alabama is 25th nationally with those 30 sacrifice bunts ... in SEC play, the Tide is second in doubles (23), fifth in hitting (.295) and 11th in home runs (7) ... Alabama is hitting .357 (14-for-42) with the bases loaded ... UA pinch hitters are hitting .325 (13-for-40) this season ... Alabama had eight two-out RBI in the win over SE Louisiana on April 14 ... Alabama has hit only seven home runs in the last 17 games ... UA has been out-homered 26-7 in those 17 games ... the Crimson Tide is 14-3 when it hits at least one home run and 8-9 without a home run ... in SEC play, UA pinch hitters are 1-for-8 (.125) ... the Tide has nine double-figure scoring games and 19 double-digit hit games this season ... Alabama did not strike out in its 15-8 win over Stony Brook on March 12 ... the Tide had only one strikeout at Arkansas on March 27 ... Alabama tied an NCAA record with six sacrifice bunts in its 10-4 win at Jacksonville State on April 7 ... junior shortstop Josh Rutledge scored five runs in the win over Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 27, the most by an SEC player in 2010.
ALABAMA PITCHING NOTES: Alabama is sixth in the SEC with a 4.30 ERA this season ... in SEC games, the Tide is seventh with a 5.30 ERA ... the Crimson Tide has yielded 30 home runs this season ... Alabama opponents have hit 26 of those home runs in the last 17 games ... on March 24, Alabama led the SEC in fewest home runs allowed with five dingers ... Auburn hit seven home runs in the three-game series against Alabama, all solo homers ... the Tide has thrown two shutouts this season against the College of Charleston (4-0, March 6) and Stony Brook (5-0, March 13) ... the 4-0 win at the College of Charleston marked the first time Cougars had been shutout at home since a 6-0 loss to top-ranked Clemson on March 3, 2006 ... Nelson, Wolfe and Pilkington combined for the SEC's only one-hitter this season against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 27 ... Alabama has six double-digit strikeouts games this season, including a season-high 16 strikeouts at the College of Charleston on March 6 ... Arkansas scored a season-high 10 runs against Alabama on March 28 ... the Tide has yielded 11 double-digit hit games, including a season-high 14 hits by Arkansas on March 28.
ALABAMA FIELDING NOTES: Alabama entered the week ranked 20th nationally in fielding ... the Tide is fielding .974 this season and the single-season school record for fielding is .971 set in 1996 and 2009 ... Alabama catchers rank second in the SEC with 33 assists ... UA catchers have the third-fewest errors (3) and third-highest fielding percentage (.990) ... Alabama is second in the SEC with 11 outfield assists by six different players, including Brett Booth (3), Taylor Dugas (3), Andrew Miller (2), Cal Tinlsey (1), Jon Kelton (1) and John David Smelser (1) ... UA outfielders lead the SEC in fielding percentage (.991) and fewest errors (2) this year ... Alabama has played 12 errorless games and is 11-1 in those 12 games ... Alabama is 11-11 when committing at least one error ... from Feb. 27-March 7, UA logged 35 2/3 consecutive errorless innings and fielded 133 consecutive chances without an error ... Alabama logged an SEC high 20 assists in its win over Stony Brook on March 12 ... Rutledge had an SEC-high eight assists in that game.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Alabama is 6-7 on the road this season, and riding a two-game winning streak. The Tide won a three-game series at College of Charleston (March 5-7) and posted a key win at No. 23 SE Louisiana on April 14. Alabama is 1-5 in SEC road games, dropping both SEC series at Arkansas and Kentucky. Alabama is hitting .280 (125-for-446) with eight home runs and 72 RBI in 13 games. The Tide has scored 80 runs and collected 39 extra base hits. Kelton leads UA with a .429 (15-for-35) average in 12 road games this season. He has scored 10 runs and added six walks, seven doubles, 10 RBI and 10 hit by pitch. Rutledge is the only UA player to hit safely in all 13 road games. He is batting .417 (25-for-60) with two home runs and 10 RBI. The pitching staff is 6-7 with four saves and 4.84 ERA. The staff has worked 113 1/3 innings and allowed 74 runs (61 ER) and 140 hits with 92 strikeouts and 40 walks. Kilcrease has been the most consistent pitcher on the road this season, posting a 1-0 record with two saves and a team-best 1.76 ERA in nine appearances. He has worked 15 1/3 innings and allowed three runs and 11 hits with 16 strikeouts and five walks. Alabama is fielding .967 on the road with 16 errors in 13 games. UA opponents have turned 16 double plays, compared to only four for the Tide.
JONES TIES SCHOOL RECORD FOR WALKS: Alabama senior first baseman Clay Jones tied the single-game school record with four walks in the Crimson Tide's 10-5 win at SE Louisiana on April 14. The record is shared by many players with Kody Valverde being the last UA player to draw four walks in a game against Mississippi on March 26, 2006.
KINDRED SMACKS FIRST CAREER HOME RUN: Junior DH David Kindred recorded his first career home run for Alabama in the Tide's 10-5 win at SE Louisiana on April 13. The Tuscaloosa native hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run to give Alabama a 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Kindred stroked a two-out fly ball to off the wall in right-center and after the right fielder and center fielder collided, he scampered around the bases with a two-run home run. He is believed to be the first player in school history to hit an inside the park home run for his first career home run. It was the first inside the park home run by an Alabama player since Kent Matthes hit an inside the park homer against Troy on Feb. 14, 2007 in Tuscaloosa.
The feat is not so rare in Major League baseball, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Florida Marlins third baseman Emilo Bonafacio hit his first career home run on April 6, 2009, an inside the park home run on opening day against the Washington Nationals. San Francisco Giants shortstop Johnnie LeMaster hit the only inside-the-park home run to be recorded in a first career MLB at-bat on September 2, 1975 off of future Hall of Famer Don Sutton. Jimmy Sheckard hit inside-the-park grand slams in consecutive games on consecutive days in 1901 with the Brooklyn Superbas (later the Brooklyn Dodgers), the only person in Major League Baseball history to do so. Ed Delahanty of the Philadelphia Phillies, on July 13, 1896, hit four home runs in one game (itself a rare feat), two of which were inside-the-park home runs. This event is the only time any homers in a four-homer game have been inside-the-park. Kyle Blanks of the San Diego Padres, with his inside the park homer on August 18, 2009 against the Cubs, became the largest player to hit an inside the park home run, at 285 pounds, and six feet six inches tall. The ball bounced off the center field wall and ricocheted away from the center fielder. Pete Milne hit an inside-the-park grand slam for his only career home run on April 27, 1949. It gave the New York Giants an 11-8 lead over the Brooklyn Dodgers, which was also the final score. Greg Gagne of the Minnesota Twins hit two inside-the-park-homers in one game on October 4, 1986 against the White Sox. Stephen Drew of the Arizona Diamondbacks hit an inside-the-park-homer in a game on April 5, 2010 against Jon Garland of the San Diego Padres, more special because it occurred on the Diamondbacks' Opening Day.
Since 1983, Alabama has hit four inside-the-park home runs. The list includes.
April 10, 1991 Mick Kerns vs. Murray State (grand slam)
March 5, 1995 Dustan Mohr vs. Penn State
Feb. 14, 2007 Kent Matthes vs. Troy
April 13, 2010 David Kindred at SE Louisiana
OUTFIELD ASSISTS: Alabama has 11 outfield assists by six different players this season. Booth and Dugas lead the team with three outfield assists. Booth tied the UA single-game record with two assists in the Tide's 6-2 win at College of Charleston on March 5, when he threw out one runner at home and one at third base. Booth shares the record with G.W. Keller (vs. Southern California, 1997), Chad White (at LSU, 2002) and Gabe Scott (at Mississippi, 2004). Alabama outfielders have thrown out seven runners at home plate, two at second base and two runners at third base. In addition, nine of the 11 outfield assists have ended innings. Alabama is second in the SEC with 11 outfield assists this season. Georgia leads the league with 12. LSU and Vanderbilt are tied for third place with seven outfield assists, followed by Tennessee with six. Booth and Dugas are tied for fourth in the SEC with three outfield assists. Georgia's Zach Cone is the SEC leader with six.
SE LOUISIANA RECAP: Alabama scored eight of its 10 runs with two outs and David Kindred had two hits and career-high four RBI as the Crimson Tide beat No. 23 SE Louisiana 10-5 in front 2,108 fans at a jam-packed Pat Kenelly Diamond on April 13. Kindred had four two-out RBI and staked the Tide to a 4-0 lead in the third inning. He ripped a two-out single in the first inning to score Josh Rutledge and Clay Jones to put the Tide up 2-0. He added a two-run, inside the park home run in the third to make it 4-0. The Lions scored four unearned runs in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game at 4-4. Sophomore left fielder Jon Kelton delivered a two-out, two-run single in the fourth to put UA head to stay at 6-4. Alabama added three runs in the seventh, highlighted by Clay Jones' seventh home run of the season, and scored on in the ninth. Freshman RHP Tucker Hawley earned his first collegiate win with three scoreless innings and a season-high four strikeouts. Junior RHP Nathan Kilcrease, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, picked up his third save.
SAMFORD RECAP: Alabama stranded a season-high 13 base runners in its 7-5 home loss to Samford on April 13. Alabama left the bases loaded in the third and seventh innings to drop its third straight home game. Samford scored in three of the first six innings to take a 6-1 lead. The Bulldogs plated three runs in the sixth to build a five-run lead. Alabama came back with three in the sixth and one in the seventh to close the gap to 6-5. Samford added a run in the eighth to take a 7-5 win. Samford freshman LHP Lex Rutledge notched his seventh save of the year with 2 1/3 innings of relief. He struck out five UA hitters and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh as he got Josh Rutledge on an infield pop up to end the inning. Wayne Miller, Mason Meredith and David Schulze were a combined 9-for-15 with three runs scored and five RBI. They each had three hits apiece. Kelton led Alabama with three hits, while Dugas, Kindred and Miler had two hits each.
LSU SERIES: Alabama leads the all-time series with LSU, 191-150-3, but has struggled against the Tigers in recent memory who have won nine of the last 10 series, including four straight from 2006-2009. The Crimson Tide has not taken a series from the Tigers since 2005 and has not won a series in a Baton Rouge since 1996, losing six straight series (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008) at Alex Box Stadium. LSU won three of four meetings last season, including a series win in Tuscaloosa (April 10-12) and an SEC Tournament elimination game (May 21) in Hoover.
Alabama and LSU first met in 1906 and these two long-time SEC rivals will be meeting for the 345th time in the series opener on Friday. Only Mississippi State (373 games) has played more games against Alabama than LSU. Mississippi is third on the list with 327 games played entering the 2010 season. The Tide and Tigers have met every year since 1947. The three ties occurred in 1931 (18-18), 1932 (3-3) and 1962 (4-4).
LSU won the first five meetings between the two schools, sweeping a three-game series in Baton Rouge in 1906 and two-game series in Tuscaloosa in 1907. Alabama's first win came in 1908, with a 3-1 victory in Tuscaloosa. From 1908-21, Alabama won 18 of the 19 games played between the two schools, including a pair of nine-game winning streaks, which is the longest winning streak in series history by either team. In 1967, LSU's Bruce Baudier threw the only recorded seven-inning perfect game against Alabama at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers won the game 1-0. Baudier is the assistant principal at Teurling's Catholic High School, the home of Alabama center fielder Taylor Dugas.
Alabama closed out to the 1968 season by winning two of three games at LSU, forcing the only one-game playoff in league history to decide the SEC Western Division champion. Alabama beat LSU 1-0 in the one-game playoff in Baton Rouge to advance to the best-of-three series against Florida. Alabama went on to win the 1968 SEC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Regionals in Gastonia, N.C.
Alabama and LSU played three, one-run, extra-inning games in Tuscaloosa in 1986, with the Tigers taking the series. The two teams combined to have more than 20 players selected in the Major League Draft later that summer. UA left-hander Mike Sodders tossed a 1-0 shutout at LSU in 1987. The Crimson Tide posted a 3-1 win in rain-shortened, one-game series in Baton Rouge in 1993. Former Alabama head coach Jim Wells led the Crimson Tide to back-to-back series wins at LSU in 1995 and 1996. It marked the first time since 1977-78 that UA had won two straight series in Alex Box Stadium.
LSU and Alabama were both ranked No. 1 during the 1997 season and the two teams split the six meetings, with LSU beating Alabama for both the national championship (13-6) and SEC regular season championship. Alabama beat LSU 12-2 for the SEC Tournament Championship in Columbus, Ga.
Alabama won four of five games from LSU in 1999, including a two-game sweep of the first NCAA Super Regional in Tuscaloosa. The Tide won 13-6 and 13-5 to advance to the CWS for the third time in four years.
Since 2000, LSU has won nine of the last 10 series. The Tigers won a school-record eight straight games against the Tide from 2000-02.
LSU holds an 81-70-3 series lead in games played in Baton Rouge. This will be Alabama's first-ever visit to the new Alex Box Stadium, which opened in 2009, the original Alex Box Stadium opening in 1947.
Alabama holds a 115-56 series lead in games played in Tuscaloosa. LSU owns an 8-5 lead in games at neutral sites and an 8-7 series lead in postseason games.
UA head coach Mitch Gaspard is 0-8 all-time against LSU, with all eight meetings taking place while he was the head coach at Northwestern State. Gaspard led the Demons to the 2005 NCAA Regional at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, posting a 1-1 record.
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri is 9-4 (.000) all-time against Alabama. He is 8-3 (.727) as head coach at LSU and was 1-1 while the head coach at Notre Dame. Alabama and Notre Dame split a two-game series at Eck Stadium in South Bend in 1995.
LSU SCOUTING REPORT: LSU (27-6, 8-4 SEC) has had two lengthy winning streaks this season, posting a 12-game winning streak to open the season (Feb. 19-March 9), followed by an eight-game winning streak from March 20-April 2.
The Tigers are hitting .328 (382-for-1,164) with 37 home runs and 260 RBI. LSU averages 8.5 runs and 11.6 hits per game. In SEC play, LSU is hitting .313 (131-for-419) with 10 homers and 87 RBI. In 12 SEC games, LSU averages 7.6 runs and 10.9 hits per game.
LSU is fourth nationally with 19 triples. The Tigers are sixth nationally in winning percentage (.813), 19th in walks (162), 24th in fielding (.975) and 24th in sac flies (19).
Catcher Micah Gibbs is the team's leading hitter with a .407 (50-for-123) batting average with five home runs and 33 RBI. The switch-hitting catcher also leads the Tigers with .429 (21-for-49) average in SEC play this season.
Sophomore outfielder Mikie Mahtook is hitting .361 (43-for-119) with seven homers and 28 RBI in 33 games. Senior outfielder Matt Gaudet leads the team with 11 home runs 39 RBI.
The pitching staff has compiled a 27-6 record with 14 saves and a 4.95 ERA this season. In SEC games, the Tigers are 8-4 with five saves and a 5.94 ERA.
The weekend rotation will consist of junior right-hander Anthony Renaudo, sophomore right-hander Joey Bourgeois and sophomore left-hander Chris Matulis.
Renaudo (4 GS, 1-0, 2.40 ERA) is recovering from an early season injury and has thrown only 15 innings this season. Bourgeois has compiled a 3-1 record and 6.16 ERA in nine starts. Matulis is 5-1 with a 3.82 ERA in seven games, including four starts.
The bullpen is anchored by sophomore right-hander Matty Ott, one of the nation's premier closers. Ott (0-0, 2.45 ERA, 17.2 IP, 19 K) has made 17 appearances this season and leads the SEC with 10 saves.
LSU is also one the league's top defensive teams. The Tigers are fielding .975 in 33 games and have committed only 32 errors. LSU has also turned 27 double plays. LSU catchers have thrown out 11 of 39 base stealers.
NEXT GAME: Alabama and LSU meet in game two of this three-game series on Saturday, April 17, at 7:07 p.m. (CDT).