Alabama Hosts Arch-Rival Auburn in Key SEC Series

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

April 24, 2008

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - There is more at stake than state bragging rights this weekend when the Alabama Crimson Tide hosts the Auburn Tigers in a pivotal three-game Southeastern Conference series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The series opens Friday, April 25, with a 6:35 p.m. (CDT) game and continues on Saturday, April 26, at 3:06 p.m. (CDT) and Sunday, April 27, at 2:06 p.m. (CDT). The Saturday game will be televised by FSN South as the "SEC Game of the Week" with Dave Neal and Larry Conley. The series finale on Sunday will be televised by Comcast Sports Southeast with Chris Stewart and Scott McClanahan. Alabama and Auburn are both in need of a series win this weekend. The Crimson Tide is in sole possession of second place in the SEC Western Division, one-half game ahead of third-place Arkansas, one game ahead of fourth-place Auburn and one and one-half games ahead of fifth-place LSU. The top two teams in each division are guaranteed a spot in the 2008 SEC Baseball Tournament, to be held at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala., on May 21-25.

HEAD COACH Jim Wells: Alabama head coach Jim Wells has compiled a 577-290 (.665) record in 867 games in his 14th season at the Capstone. He is the winningest coach in school history and has worked more games than any other Tide coach. Wells has led the Crimson Tide to two SEC Championships (1996 and 2006), three College World Series appearances (1996, 1997 and 1999), three SEC Western Division titles (1996, 2002 and 2006), six SEC Tournament championships (1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2003) and 10 NCAA Regionals. He was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1996 and 2002 and the Baseball America National Coach of the Year in 1996. Overall, Wells has compiled a 771-379 (.670) record in 1,150 games as he enters his 18th season at the Division I level. Prior to Alabama, he spent five years at Northwestern (La.) State, where he compiled a 192-89 (.683) record and led the Demons to three Southland Conference championships and two NCAA Regional appearances.

WEATHER FORECAST: Here is the weather forecast for the Alabama-Auburn baseball series this weekend in Tuscaloosa. Friday: Partly Cloudy, 84 degrees; Saturday: Partly Cloudy, 77 degrees; 50 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms; Sunday: Partly Cloudy, 78 degrees; 50 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms.

AUBURN SERIES: Alabama leads the all-time series with Auburn, 136-111. The two teams first met on the diamond in 1896 with Auburn winning the first two games played in Auburn. Alabama swept a two-game series the following year in Tuscaloosa for its first series win. The two teams split the first 10 meetings before Alabama won 14 of the next 21 games (1901-08) prior to the series being halted. Alabama and Auburn did not meet in football (1908-48) or baseball (1909-48) for a 41-year period. The series was resumed in 1949, with the Crimson Tide and Tigers playing in opposite divisions in the SEC from 1949-75. Alabama has been a long-standing member of the SEC's Western Division, while Auburn moved from the Eastern Division to the Western Division after the 1975 season. The Tide and Tigers annually played four games each season, but none of those counted in the SEC standings until 1976. When the series resumed in 1949, Alabama posted a nine-game winning streak en route to a 28-8 record over Auburn during a 36-game stretch from 1949-58. Alabama and Auburn met in the best-of-three SEC Playoffs in 1958, with the Tigers sweeping two games from the Tide at Rickwood Field to win the 1958 SEC Championship. The SEC championship series was part of a six-game series winning streak for the Tigers. From 1958-79, Auburn posted a 34-18 record against Alabama. The Tigers had a series-long nine-game winning streak from 1978-79, winning three straight SEC series with two sweeps. Alabama regained the upper hand in the 1980s, posting a 35-19 record from 1980-89, including a 10-game winning streak from 1980-82. Alabama RHP Vince Barrentine fired a seven-inning no-hitter against Auburn at Plainsman Park in 1981. The Tigers went 14-8 against Alabama from 1991-94. Since Coach Wells' arrival, the Tide is 28-20 against the Tigers and has won eight of the 13 series. Alabama beat No.1-ranked Auburn two out of three in 1995, including a 10-5 win at Montgomery's Paterson Field in front of a then-state record 8,543 fans. The Crimson Tide beat the Tigers four times in 1996 as Auburn managed only one run in 36 innings against Alabama. The Crimson Tide came within one out of no-hitter against the Tigers at Paterson Field on April 2, 1996 as Corey Spiers, Manny Torres and Skip Ames combined on the one-hitter. Alabama also went 4-0 against Auburn in 2002, including a 6-3 win in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional at Tuscaloosa. Alabama and Auburn have met at 11 different sites in the 112-year history of the rivalry. Alabama owns a 70-40 all-time series lead in games played in Tuscaloosa, including a 56-33 mark at Sewell-Thomas Stadium since 1948. The two teams have also played in Auburn, Selma, Birmingham, Mobile, Dothan, Huntsville, Baton Rouge, La. (1986, 1993 SEC Tournament), Montgomery, Huntsville and New Orleans (Winn Dixie Showdown).

AUBURN SCOUTING REPORT: Auburn (23-19, 7-11 SEC) comes to Tuscaloosa having lost seven of its last eight games. The Tigers are hitting .303 (440-for-1452) as a team this season with 36 home runs and 255 RBI. Auburn is averaging 6.9 runs and 10.5 hits per game. In SEC play, Auburn is hitting .298 (190-for-638) with 15 home runs and 93 RBI. The Tigers are averaging 5.6 runs and 10.6 hits per game in 18 SEC games. Freshman first baseman Hunter Morris (Huntsville, Ala.) is the Tigers' overall leading hitter and the team's top hitter in SEC play this season, batting .364 (60-for-165) in 42 games with 10 home runs and 40 RBI. He is second on the team with 11 doubles and third with 34 runs scored. In SEC play, Morris is batting .451 (32-for-71) with six home runs and 20 RBI. He leads AU with a .803 slugging percentage, 15 runs scored and seven doubles. Junior outfielder Mike Bianucci (Fairfax, Vir.) and sophomore infielder Joseph Sanders (Millbrook, Ala.) are also hitting better than .300 on the season. Bianucci is second on the team with a .329 average (48-for-146) with seven home runs and 32 RBI. Sanders is hitting .324 (46-for-142) with two home runs and 35 RBI. Freshman infielder Brian Fletcher (Fayetteville, Ga.) is Auburn's second-leading hitter in SEC play with a .344 average. He is second on the team with 14 runs scored, five doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI. On the mound, the Tigers are 23-19 with one complete game, two combined shutouts, 11 saves and a 4.62 ERA. The staff has worked 372 innings and allowed 223 runs (191 earned) and 397 hits with 287 strikeouts and 123 walks. Auburn's weekend rotation consists of freshmen left-handers Grant Dayton (Huntsville) and Corey Luckie (Prattville). Dayton is 5-1 with a 3.81 ERA in 10 starts, while Luckie is 4-4 with a 4.23 ERA in 13 starts. Junior RHP Bryan Woodall (Phenix City) leads the SEC with nine saves. He 0-1 with 2.30 ERA in a team-high 23 games and he has recorded 27 strikeouts and 27 1/3 innings. On defense, Auburn has made 47 errors (.970) and turned 32 double plays in 42 games. Freshman Justin Hargett (Hartselle) leads AU with 12 errors.

Ross Wilson NAMED SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: University of Alabama freshman second baseman Ross Wilson (Hoover, Ala.) was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week after leading the Crimson Tide to an SEC Western Division series win over long-time rival Mississippi State over the weekend at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Wilson was Alabama's leading hitter against Mississippi State, going 4-for-9 (.444) with three home runs and five RBI. He also scored five runs, added four walks and posted a 1.444 slugging percentage with 13 total bases in the series. He tied the Alabama single-game record with two home runs in the seventh inning in the series opener against MSU. He led off the inning with a solo home run off Forest Moore and capped the inning with a two-run home run off former Hoover High School teammate Greg Houston. Wilson hit a game-winning two-run home run in the seventh inning in the series finale as Alabama claimed the series with a 4-3 win. For the season, Wilson is hitting .251 (42-for-167) with six home runs and 28 RBI in 40 starts for the Tide.

WILSON TIES HOME RUN RECORD: Wilson tied an Alabama single game record with two home runs in the seventh inning against Mississippi State on April 19. Wilson led the Crimson Tide's eight-run seventh inning with a solo home run off MSU reliever Forrest Moore. After the Tide batted around, Wilson hit a two-run home run off a second MSU relief pitcher Greg Houston, a former teammate of Wilson's as Hoover (Ala.) High School, to cap the eight-run inning. Wilson become the fourth player in school history to swat two home runs in an inning, joining Frank Velleggia (vs. Columbus State, 1983), Joe Caruso (vs. UAB, 1996) and G.W. Keller (vs. Niagara, 1999).

HIGH FIVE: Wilson has hit five home runs in his last five games for the Crimson Tide, including multi-home run games against Mississippi State (April 19) and South Alabama (April 23). Wilson also cracked a game-winning two-run home run against Mississippi State to give Alabama a 4-3 win on April 20.

RUTLEDGE IS SEC'S HITS LEADER: Rutledge had three hits in the Tide's two midweek games this week and is the current SEC leader with 68 hits heading into this weekend's games. Rutledge is tied with Georgia's SEC Player of the Year candidate Gordon Beckham and Kentucky's Sawyer Carroll with 68 hits this season. In SEC play, Rutledge is the SEC hits leader with 32 hits this season. Auburn's Hunter Morris and Tennessee's Yan Gomes are tied with Rutledge with 32 total hits. In addition to leading the SEC, Rutledge is 18th this week nationally with 65 hits as of the NCAA's April 22 rankings.

RUTLEDGE LEADS SEC ROOKIES: Alabama freshman shortstop Josh Rutledge (Cullman, Ala.) is the freshman leader in the Southeastern Conference in hitting, total hits and multi-hit games. Through 42 games, Rutledge leads all SEC freshmen with a .376 (68-for-181) average. He also paces the league in hits (68) and multi-hit games (22). The charts to the right shows the Top 10 SEC freshmen leaders in average, hits and multi-hit games entering this weekend's slate of games. Overall, Rutledge is the only freshmen among the league leaders in hitting and total hits. He is 8th in the league with his .376 batting average.

FRESHMEN PHENOMS: Alabama's baseball program has benefitted from a number of quality freshmen throughout the years. The 2008 Crimson Tide baseball team may have one of the best freshmen in the modern-day era of UA baseball. Rutledge leads the team with a .377 (60-for-159) batting average and 34 runs scored. He has also added six extra base hits, 10 stolen bases and 16 RBI. Only one other freshman has led the Crimson Tide in hitting, as David Magadan (.389) led the team as rookie in 1981. In 55 games, Magadan hit .389 (77-for-198) with on home run and 43 RBI. He also scored 32 runs and added 20 doubles. Jeremy Brown (1999) holds the Alabama single-season record for most hits (91), home runs (15) and RBI (68) by a Tide freshman. Here is a look at some the more notable freshmen offensive performances in school history.

Player (Year) Season Stats

David Magadan (1981) 55 G, .389 (77-198), 32 R, 20 2B, 1 HR, 43 RBI

Philip Doyle (1988) 30 G, .337 (34-101), 17 R, 2 HR, 16 RBI

Joe Vitiello (1989) 35 G, .353 (42-119), 24 R, 8 2B, 8 HR, 29 RBI

Joe Caruso (1994) 44 G, .303 (50-165), 28 R, 6 2B, 3 HR, 16 RBI

Dustan Mohr (1995) 55 G, .293 (72-246), 12 HR, 44 RBI

Sam Bozanich (1998) 59 G, .333 (75-225), 17 2B, 3 HR, 28 RBI

Jeremy Brown (1999) 69 G, .347 (91-162), 20 2B, 15 HR, 68 RBI

Scott McClanahan (1999) 48 G, .321 (27-84), 21 R, 1 HR, 10 RBI

Brent Boyd (1999) 63 G, .313 (73-233), 15 2B, 7 HR, 32 RBI

Ben King (2000) 62 G, .294 (60-204), 51 R, 13 HR, 50 RBI

Peter Stonard (2001) 54 G, .320 (61-194), 34 R, 11 2B, 32 RBI

Cale Iorg (2005) 62 G, .280 (66-236), 40 R, 11 2B, 5 HR, 38 RBI

HITTING STREAKS: Rutledge enters the Auburn series with a 19-game hitting streak the 10th longest in school history and longest by an Alabama player since Gabe Scott's 27-game hitting streak in 2005.

Rank Player Streak Dates

1. Andy Phillips 36 April 3-June 16, 1999

2. Roberto Vaz 32 February 14-April 4, 1997

3. G.W. Keller 25 April 17, 1998-February 18, 1999

4. Gabe Scott 27 February 25-April 22, 2005

David Magadan 27 February 22-April 1, 1981

6. Robby Glenn 22 February 15-March 22, 1992

7. Jeremy Brown 20 April 28-June 11, 1999

Paul Phillips 20 February 23-April 1, 1998

Dax Norris 20 February 18-March 19, 1996

10. Josh Rutledge 19 March 26-Present

11. Travis Garner 18 April 16-May 17, 2003

Travis Garner 18 February 28-April 2, 2003

Brent Boyd 18 March 31-May 12, 2000

Allan Stallings 18 March 9-April 6, 1985

15. Jeremy Brown 17 March 31-April 27, 2001

16. Emeel Salem 16 March 11-April 7, 2006

Sam Bozanich 16 April 1-21, 1998

Andy Phillips 16 March 4-April 1, 1998

Brad Oliver 16 March 19-April 8, 1993

20. G.W. Keller 15 May 15-June 6, 1997

Mick Kerns 15 March 22-April 12, 1992

SOUTH ALABAMA RECAP: In a game that saw four lead changes and three ties, South Alabama out slugged Alabama, 10-9, in 10 innings at Stanky Field in Mobile on April 23. The Jags pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning when Clint Toomey singled up the middle to score pinch-runner Russell Harben. Alabama had forced extra innings when Alex Avila homered with one out in the ninth inning. Avila finished the game with three hits and three RBI. Wilson hit two solo home runs for the Alabama and Rutledge had two hits and two RBI to extend his hitting streak to 19 games. South Alabama scored five runs in the third inning to take a 7-2 lead only to see Alabama tie the game with five runs in the top of the fourth inning.

LIPSCOMB RECAP: Alabama freshman RHP Nathan Kilcrease (Phenix City, Ala.) allowed two unearned runs and five singles in seven innings in his first collegiate start as the Crimson Tide beat Lipscomb 8-4 Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Kilcrease also added seven strikeouts and no walks in his first appearance on the mound since April 2. Sophomore third baseman Jake Smith (Shannon, Ala.) went 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead the Tide's offense. Smith had a two-run single in the Tide's four-run third inning and added an RBI single in the sixth as UA built a 6-0 lead. Junior RF Kent Matthes added a home run and two RBI for the Tide.

MISSISSIPPI STATE SERIES RECAP: Alabama won its third SEC home series of the season and sixth in-a-row dating back to last year, by taking two of three from long-time SEC Western Division rival Mississippi State at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide hit .304 in the series with five home runs and 24 RBI. Alabama posted a resounding 21-7 win in the series opener, scoring six runs in the fourth inning and blowing the game open with eight runs in the seventh inning. The Tide hit four home runs in the series opener to match its season high. Avila, Wilson and Howell all homered in the win. Avila's three-run home run capped the six-run fourth inning. Wilson tied an Alabama record with two home runs in the seventh inning off two different pitchers. Howell added a seventh-inning grand slam, the first of his career. Alabama's 21 runs in the series opener marked the third time in series history the Tide had scored 20 runs against the Bulldogs and were the second-most runs scored by UA in series history. UA beat MSU 29-10 in 1943 for the most runs scored in series history. Alabama also beat Mississippi State 20-1 in 1946. The Bulldogs bounced back to win the second game of Saturday's double header 6-4. MSU erased a 4-1 deficit by scoring two runs in the sixth and seventh innings. The Crimson Tide won the series with a 4-3 victory in Sunday's rubber game. Wilson hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning off Michael Busby to win the game. It was one of only five hits by the Tide offense in the series finale. Wilson hit three home runs in the series to double his season total to six homers. Sophomore RHP Austin Graham pitched three scoreless innings for the win in relief. Mississippi State hit .333 (37-for-111) in the series and all 11 extra base hits were doubles. The Bulldogs had at least one base runner in all 27 innings, but left 38 men on base in the three-game set.

TEAM NOTES: Alabama defeated Cal Poly in the 2008 season opener, 10-1 ... The Crimson Tide captured the 2008 Southwest Diamond Classic championship in Frisco, Texas, with a 2-1 record ... After losing to Texas Arlington on the first day, Alabama rebounded to beat Nevada and Dallas Baptist to win the championship ... Alabama has played in four minor league ballparks this season, including Dr Pepper Ballpark (Frisco, Texas), Riverwalk Stadium (Montgomery, Ala.), Regions Park (Hoover, Ala.) and Trustmark Park (Pearl, Miss.) ... Alabama honored the 1983 College World Series team (March 8) at Sewell-Thomas Stadium as the team celebrated its 25th anniversary this season... The Crimson Tide played the dedication game at University Field in Florence, Ala., on Tuesday, March 11 ... The Crimson Tide beat North Alabama, 15-2, in front a stadium record 1,874 fans ... It was UA's first trip to Florence since 1967 ... The Crimson Tide has played throughout the state of Alabama this season with stops in Montgomery, Florence, Jacksonville, Hoover, Mobile and Birmingham ... Alabama celebrated the 60th anniversary of Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Friday, March 21, which included a post-game fireworks show ... Alabama played its final game at venerable Alex Box Stadium on April 6, losing 9-7 to LSU in Baton Rouge ... The Crimson Tide honored MSU's retiring head coach Ron Polk in a pregame ceremony on Saturday, April 19 ... The dean of SEC coaches is retiring after 35 years of coaching ... Polk coached his 125th all-time game against the Tide on Saturday ... Alabama will honor the 1960 team on Friday, April 25 against Auburn ... The 1968 SEC Championship team will hold its 40-year reunion during the Auburn series (April 25-27) ... The 1960 Alabama team will also hold a reunion during the Auburn series and will be honored prior to the series opener on Friday, April 25.

RPI: Alabama entered the week with No. 68 RPI according to the latest computer rankings by Boyd Nation (www.boydsworld.com). The Crimson Tide owns an 18-19 (.486) record against the nation's Top 150 RPI and all but three of its 26 opponents are ranked among the nation's Top 137 RPI clubs. Alabama is 5-6 (.455) against the Top 50 RPI and owns an 11-17 (.393) record against the Top 100 RPI teams. The three teams ranked below the Top 150 RPI barrier are UAB (No. 200), Youngstown State (No. 236) and Mississippi Valley State (No. 258). The Crimson Tide posted a 5-1 record against those three teams. Alabama's 2008 opponents rankings are as follows: No. 9 Georgia (May 15-17), No. 19 Southern Miss (L, 6-3), No. 21 Florida (May 9-11), No. 25 Dallas Baptist (W, 7-1), No. 29 Vanderbilt (L 2-1, W 9-7, W 10-3), No. 30 Arkansas (May 2-4), No. 35 Kentucky (L 7-5, L 15-2, L 5-1), No. 45 Auburn (April 25-27), No. 46 Ole Miss (W 6-5, W 5-3, L 2-1), No. 59 Tennessee (W, 11-10, L 13-5, L 6-4), No. 61 New Orleans (L 8-5, L 17-8), No. 65 LSU (L 3-0, W 6-5, L 9-7), No. 71 Cal Poly (W 10-1, L 16-7, L 6-2), No. 75 Troy (L 5-4, W 8-2), No. 97 Texas Arlington (L 10-9, L 12-8), No. 98 Jacksonville State (W 12-6, W 5-0), No. 103 SE Louisiana (W 7-0), No. 110 South Alabama (L, 10-9) , No. 121 Lipscomb (W, 8-4), No. 128 Samford (W, 9-5), No. 131 Mississippi State (W 21-7, L 6-4, W 4-3) and No. 137 Nevada (W 7-4).

SIX-PACK: One sure way to know the outcome of an Alabama baseball game this season is to check the scoreboard at the end of the sixth inning. The Crimson Tide is 21-2 (.913) this season when leading after six innings and 1-17 (.056) when trailing after six innings.

STARTERS: Alabama's starters are hitting .303 (438-for-1,445) with 49 home runs and 260 RBI in 43 games. A total of 16 different players have started at least one game for the Crimson Tide this season. May is the only player to play and start all 43 games this season. Wilson is second on the list with 42 starts, as he did not start the Mississippi Valley State game on April 8. Rutledge and Avila have started 41 games for the Tide, while Bentley and Smith have garnered 40 starts. UA opponent starters are hitting .278 (389-for-1,401) with 33 home runs and 202 RBI. Alabama's starting pitchers are 15-17 (.469) with two complete games and 5.75 ERA. The Tide has 15 quality starts (6 IP, 3 ER or less) on the mound this year. Alabama has used nine different starting pitchers. Hyatt (3-3, 5.36 ERA) leads the way with a career-high eight starts. Quigley (4-3, 4.31 ERA) has the lowest ERA among the Tide starters in seven starts this year. He also has one complete game shutout (Jacksonville State) to his credit. Opponent starters are 11-17 (.393) with two complete games, one shutout and a 6.18 ERA. In SEC play, Alabama's starters are hitting .275 (167-for-607) with 23 home runs and 86 RBI. Alabama has used 15 different starters, including four players (Avila, May, Rutledge and Wilson) that have started all 18 conference games. Bentley and Smith have made 17 starts. On the mound, the Crimson Tide has used five different starting pitchers. UA starters are 3-9 (.250) with a 7.12 ERA, with one complete game. Hyatt (1-3, 6.55 ERA) leads the way with six SEC starts.

RESERVES: The Crimson Tide bench is 13-for-51 (.255) with eight runs scored, two doubles, one home run and six RBI this year. Alabama's pinch-hitters are 6-for-27 (.222) this season. In six games off the bench, Kyle Moore is 2-for-5 (.400) with one run scored and one RBI. Rhoden is hitting .300 (3-for-10) with three RBI in eight games off the bench. Odle is 4-fof-14 (.286) in 14 games as a reserve. Alabama opponents are hitting .222 (18-for-81) off the bench this season, with 11 runs scored and nine RBI. The Tide's bullpen is 8-3 with seven saves and 3.20 ERA this season. Graham and Copeland have been the top relievers this season. Graham is 1-0 with 1.12 ERA in eight appearances (16 IP, 20 K, 1 BB). Copeland is 2-2 with a 1.14 ERA and four saves in 15 games. The bullpen has recorded 18 scoreless outings this season. From March 22-April 1, the Alabama bullpen allowed only three earned runs (1.30 ERA) in 20 2/3 innings and accounted for three wins and three saves in seven games. UA opponents have compiled a 9-5 (.642) record with seven saves and a 5.39 ERA. In SEC play, Alabama's bench is hitting .444 (8-for-18) in limited duty, with one home run and five RBI. Smith hit a solo home run and Rutledge added a two-run, pinch-hit single in the Tide's 9-7 win over Vanderbilt on March 22. Alabama's bullpen is 5-1 with three saves and a 2.30 ERA in league play. Copeland (9 G, 2-0, 0.00 ERA) has not allowed a run in 15 2/3 innings this season. He also has 17 strikeouts. Graham (3 G, 1-0, 2.35 ERA) has 10 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. Stroup (6 G, 2-0, 2.45 ERA) has wins against Ole Miss and Tennessee this season.

WINS: Alabama is hitting .332 (264-for-795) in its 23 wins this season and averages 9.1 runs and 11.5 hits per game. The Crimson Tide has 83 extra base hits, including 43 doubles, five triples and 35 home runs. Alabama owns a 46-16 scoring edge in the first two innings and holds a 35-6 scoring lead in the seventh inning during its wins. Hitting Leaders: Rutledge (.412, 42-102, 30 R, 14 RBI), May (.381, 32-84, 22 R, 2 HR, 24 RBI) and Bentley (.333, 24-72, 23 R, 6 HR, 20 RBI). Avila (8 HR, 25 RBI), Matthes (5 HR, 25 RBI) and Wilson (5 HR, 20 RBI) have combined for 18 home runs and 70 RBI. On the mound the Tide is 23-0 with seven saves, two shutouts, one complete game and a 3.04 ERA. The Crimson Tide has worked 207 innings and allowed 89 runs (70 ER) and 181 hits, with 195 strikeouts and 87 walks. Pitching Leaders: Copeland (8 G, 2-0, 0.63 ERA, 3 SV, 14.1 IP, 18 K), Quigley (4 GS, 4-0, 0.87 ERA, 24 IP, 3 ER, 20 K), Kilcrease (5 G, 3-0, 0.00 ERA, 17.2 IP, 13 K) and Stroup (8 G, 3 GS, 4-0, 3.38 ERA, 29.1 IP, 34 K). Alabama has been pretty consistent on defense during its 23 wins this season. The Tide is fielding .962 and has made 34 errors (1.5 per game) and turned 17 double plays.

LOSSES: The Crimson Tide is hitting .267 (187-for-701) in its 20 losses this season and averages 4.5 runs and 9.3 hits per game. Alabama has been outscored 166-90 in those losses. On of the telling signs is the Tide's early deficits. Alabama has been outscored 95-32 in the first four innings of its losses, including a 22-6 deficit in the first inning; 24-7 in the second inning; 26-10 in the third inning and 23-9 in the fourth inning. The Crimson Tide is 1-17 when trailing after six innings. Hitting Leaders: Rutledge (.329, 26-79, 12 R, 6 RBI), Matthes (.329, 24-73, 2 HR, 6 RBI) and May (.325, 25-77, 17 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI). Alabama pitchers are 0-20 with a 6.82 ERA. The staff has worked 170 1/3 innings and allowed 166 runs (129 ER) and 226 hits, with 133 strikeouts and 103 walks. Pitching Leaders: Copeland (6 G, 0-1, 1.17 ERA) and Hyatt (4 G, 0-3, 4.95 ERA). Alabama's defense has also contributed to the 20 losses this season, as UA is fielding .948 with 39 errors (1.95 per game) and turned 20 double plays.

HOME RUNS: Alabama has hit 50 home runs in 43 games this season. The Crimson Tide has homered in 26 of 43 games this season, including a season-high four straight games from March 4-8. The Tide has hit 21 of its 50 home runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Also, 17 of the 50 home runs have come with two strikes in the count. The Crimson Tide hit only 12 two-strike home runs all of last season. The Tide is 17-9 (.654) when hitting at least one home and 6-10 (.375) when failing to hit a home run. Alabama hit two home runs in the series finale at LSU (April 6) to snap its longest home run drought of the season. May's second inning home run against LSU was Alabama's first home run since March 28, covering a span of six games, 56 1/3 innings and 192 at-bats. Alabama hit a season-high four home runs against Youngstown State (March 7), Tennessee (April 12) and Mississippi State (April 19). Against YSU and MSU, Alabama hit three home runs in the same inning. Wilson, Avila and Matthes swatted three home runs in the seventh inning in the Tide's 15-7 win over the Penguins. Wilson (2) and Del Howell smacked three home runs in an eight-run 8th inning against the Bulldogs on April 19. Wilson's two home runs tied the UA single game record for home runs in an inning. Howell's home run was his second career homer and first career grand slam. Prior to the YSU game, the last time UA swatted three home runs in an inning came against Mississippi State's Paul Maholm (Jeremy Brown, Aaron Clark and Beau Hearod) on May 4, 2001. Alabama's 46 home runs have been hit by 13 different players. Avila leads the way with 11 home runs, including two home runs against North Alabama (March 11). He hit four home runs in a three-game stretch against UNA, Samford (March 12) and Kentucky (March 14). Bentley and Wilson are second on the team with eight home runs. Bentley has two multi-home run games against Samford (March 12) and Ole Miss (March 28). Wilson also has two multi-home run games against Mississippi State (April 19) and South Alabama (April 23). Wilson hit five home runs in a five-game span from April 19-23. Matthes is next with seven home runs. Wilson has hit one of the Tide's two grand slams this season. His seventh inning grand slam against Youngstown State was the first by an Alabama player since Avila belted a grand slam at Mississippi State on May 17, 2007. A total of five players have hit their first career home run this season. May homered in the 2008 season opener against Cal Poly for his first career home run and then hit his first SEC home run at Kentucky on March 14. May now has five home runs this season, including three dingers in a four-game SEC stretch from April 6-12. Wilson slugged his first career home run against UT Arlington (Feb. 28). Junior CF Alex Kubal hit his first home run against Nevada (Feb. 29). Junior 1B Wes Henderson hit his first career home run against New Orleans on March 19. Junior Jeff Texada hit his first career SEC home run (150 at-bats) against Vanderbilt (March 22). Smith hit his first home run of the season against Vandy (March 22), to snap a 106 at-bat homer less streak. Odle belted his first home run of the season and second of his career against Mississippi Valley State on April 8. Junior catcher Mike Sharp became the 12th different Tide player to homer this season when he hit his first home run at Tennessee on April 12. Howell became the 13th different player to homer this season with his first career grand slam against MSU on April 19.

HOME GAMES: The Crimson Tide is 17-7 (.708) at home this season. Alabama has won four of its six home series this season, including all three SEC series against No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 15 Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The two home series losses came to Cal Poly (Feb. 22-23) and New Orleans (March 18-19). The Crimson Tide posted a five-game home winning streak from March 5-12. In 24 home games this season, Alabama is hitting .302 (241-for-799) with 26 home runs and 161 RBI. Hitting Leaders: Rutledge (.375, 36-96, 27 R, 11 RBI), May (.322, 29-90, 22 R, HR, 21 RBI), Wilson (.315, 29-92, 21 R, 4 HR, 18 RBI), Matthes (5 HR, 26 RBI - leads team) and Avila (6 HR - leads team and 17 RBI). Alabama pitchers are 17-7 with a 3.62 ERA and six saves this season. The staff has worked 216 innings and allowed 124 runs (87 ER) and 218 hits, with 185 strikeouts and 92 walks. Pitching Leaders: Copeland (8 G, 1-0, 0.77 ERA, 3 SV, 11.2 IP, 13 K), Kilcrease (7 G, 1 GS, 3-0, 0.83 ERA, 1 SV, 21.2 IP, 19 K), Graham (6 G, 3 GS, 3-0, 2.74 ERA, 23 IP, 28 K). UA opponents are 7-17 with 6.69 ERA at the Joe this season, with two saves. Alabama is fielding .958 (41 errors) at home this season.

WELLS' HOME RECORD: Alabama has compiled a 375-108 (.776) record at the Joe under Coach Wells since 1995. The Crimson Tide is averaging 26.7 wins per season under Wells. Alabama led the nation in home wins in 1997 (36), 1998 (30), 1999 (37) and 2002 (35). Alabama won a school record 37 home games in 1999 as the Tide posted a 37-4 (.902) record at the Joe. Included in that win total was three wins at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional and two wins at over LSU at the NCAA Super Regional as the Tide advanced to the College World Series for the third time in four years. Alabama won a school-record 32 regular-season home games in 1997, 1999 and 2002. Alabama has won 88 of its 109 (80.7 percent) home series since the 1995 season. Alabama also posted a school-record 27-game winning streak at the Joe from May 1, 2001 until April 17, 2002.

WELLS' SEC HOME RECORD: Alabama is 132-66 (.667) in SEC home games in the Wells era. Alabama has recorded double-digit home wins six times. Including a glistening 13-2 SEC home record in 1999 and 2002. Overall, Alabama has won 51 of the 67 SEC home series (76.1 percent) in the Wells era. The Tide won all five SEC home series in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2006. In fact, Alabama won 18 consecutive SEC home series from 1996-2000. Tennessee snapped the streak by winning two of three at the Joe from April 13-15, 2000. The Tide has had one only losing SEC home record under Wells, going 4-11 (.267) in 2004 when it lost all five home series.

SEC HOME SUCCESS: With series wins over No. 4 Vanderbilt. No. 15 Ole Miss and Mississippi State under its belt, Alabama has won 16 of its last 18 SEC home series, dating back to the 2005 season. The Crimson Tide has also won six straight SEC home series, dating back to last season. The current streak includes series wins over Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Since 1995, Alabama has won 28 of its 36 SEC series against Eastern Division teams. The Crimson Tide has won nine straight SEC home series against Eastern Division foes, dating back to the 2005 season. From 1995-2000, Wells guided the Tide to 13 straight home series wins against Eastern Division teams. Since 1995, Alabama has won 23 of its 33 home series against Western Division teams and has won six of its last seven series, dating back to the 2006 season. From 1996-2000, Wells directed UA to 11 straight home series wins over SEC Western Division clubs.

APRIL RECORD: Alabama has compiled a 155-94 (.622) record in the month of April under Coach Wells. The Tide is 8-8 (.500) this season in the month of April. Last year, Alabama went 7-9 (.438) in April, one of only three losing records in the month since 1995. Alabama also had sub .500 records in 2001 (7-11) and 2004 (7-9). Ironically, the only three times Alabama had a losing record in April were the three years the Tide has not played in an NCAA Regional. Despite its losing record last season in April, Alabama did earn a win at No. 1 Vanderbilt on April 8 and closed the month with series win against South Carolina. In 2006, Alabama posted a 13-5 record in April, which included back-to-back series win against No. 1 Mississippi State and No. 1 South Carolina. The Tide posted a 15-2 record in April, 2002, which included a 10-game winning streak.

ONE-RUN GAMES: Alabama has compiled a 114-93 (.553) record in 206 one-run games under Wells. The Tide is 4-5 (.444) this season in one-run games. Alabama posted a 5-8 record in one-run games last season. Overall, Wells coached teams are 150-115 (.566) in 265 one-run games. He was 38-23 (.623) in one-run games at Northwestern State.

EXTRA INNINGS: Alabama is 65-62-3 (.511) in extra inning games. The Tide is 22-25 (.468) in extra inning games under Wells, including a 1-3 (.250) this season. UA went 3-0 in extra innings games during the 2000 season. The Tide was 3-4 (.429) in extra innings games in 2006 and 2007. Since 2004, Alabama is 8-15 (.348) in extra inning games.

DOUBLE DIPPING: Alabama has compiled a 217-10 (.956) record under since 1995 when scoring 10 or more runs in a game. The Crimson Tide is 7-0 (1.000) this season when scoring 10 or more runs and owns a 33-game winning streak, dating back to 2005. Alabama's last loss when scoring 10 or more runs was an 11-10 loss at No. 9 Ole Miss on April 9, 2005. The Crimson Tide won five straight games when scoring 10 or more runs to end the 2005 season and then went 12-0 in 2006 and 9-0 in 2007. Coach Wells has compiled a 251-13 (.951) all-time record in 264 games when scoring 10 or more runs. He was 35-3 (.921) at Northwestern State when scoring 10 or more runs. The Crimson Tide is 96-3 (.970) since the start of the 2001 season when scoring 10 or more runs in a game. Alabama won 42 consecutive games when scoring 10 or more runs from May 19, 2000 until March 30, 2003. The 42-game winning streak when scoring 10 or more runs was the longest by a Wells coached team. His previous best was 36 consecutive games from 1993-96 at Northwestern State (9-0) and Alabama (27-0).

FIRST-TIME OPPONENTS: Alabama will meet four first-time opponents this season, including Cal Poly, Texas-Arlington, Dallas Baptist and Youngstown State. All of those meetings will come in the first 11 games of the 2008 season.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: The 2008 Alabama baseball schedule features 11 team's that have won at least one football national championship. Alabama has 12 football national championships to its credit. Including Alabama, the 12 teams have combined to win 31 football national titles. There are five Football Bowl Championship teams that have won at least Associated Press or BCS National Championship, including Auburn (1957), Florida (1996 and 2006), Georgia (1980), LSU (1959, 2003 and 2007) and Tennessee (1998). The other six schools have won national championships at the Football Subdivision (formerly I-AA) and Division II levels, including Cal Poly (1980), Jacksonville State (1992), North Alabama (1993, 1994 and 1995), Troy (1984 and 1987) and Youngstown State (1991, 1993, 1994 and 1997). In addition, four UA opponents have one at least one baseball national championship, including Cal Poly (1989), Jacksonville State (1990-91), LSU (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 2000) and Troy (1986 and 1987). Those four teams have accounted for 10 baseball national titles.

CELEBRATIONS: The Crimson Tide baseball team will host three reunions this season at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama welcomes back to campus the 1983 College World Series runner-up, March 7-9, when the Crimson Tide hosts Youngstown State. The 1983 CWS team will celebrate its 25th anniversary this season. Alabama will celebrate the 60th birthday of "The Joe" on Friday, March 21, when the Crimson Tide opens SEC play against the defending SEC Champion Vanderbilt Commodores. The celebration will include a large birthday cake and party favors for Tide fans, along with the return of all former baseball lettermen for the game. One former player, representing each decade of "The Joe's" existence will throw out the first pitch. The final celebration will take place April 25-27, when the Crimson Tide hosts the Auburn Tigers. The Crimson Tide will honor the 1968 team that weekend as the SEC Champions hold their 40th reunion in Tuscaloosa.

ALABAMA'S PRO PLAYERS: Thirteen former University of Alabama baseball players made their 2008 season debuts when professional baseball opened its season the first week of April. The only Major League player in the group is left-hand pitcher Taylor Tankersley, who began his third season with the Florida Marlins earlier this week. Tankersley, who played at Alabama from 2002-04, was a first-round pick of the Marlins in 2004. The Crimson Tide has five former players at the Triple-A level, including Lance Cormier, Wade LeBlanc, Adam Pavkovich, Andy Phillips and Paul Phillips. Three of those Triple-A players are in the International League, including Cormier (Norfolk Tides), Andy Phillips (Louisville Bats) and Paul Phillips (Charlotte Knights). LeBlanc opened the season with the Pacific Coast League's Portland Beavers. Pavkovich is back for his third season with the Salt Lake Bees. Phillips was on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster this spring and was one of the last players sent to Louisville. LeBlanc is on the fast-track to the big-leagues in just his second full season with the San Diego Padres. He was mentioned this spring by manager Bud Black as the Padres potential No. 5 starter, but will begin the year in Triple-A. Alabama's lone Double-A player is New York Yankees farmhand David Robertson, who opened his third professional season with the Eastern League's Trenton Thunder. Robertson played in low-A, high-A and Double-A last season and finished the year with more any innings pitched than any other professional pitcher not to allow a home run in 2007. He is also on the fast track to the big leagues with the Yankees. The Crimson Tide has six players at the Single-A level, including Matt Downs, Tommy Hunter, Cale Iorg, T.J. Large, Greg Paiml and Emeel Salem. Hunter, Paiml and Salem began their first full season of pro ball on April 4. Hunter, a supplemental first-round pick by the Texas Rangers in June, 2007, was the opening day starter for the Bakersfield Blaze in the California League. Downs (San Jose Giants) and Large (Lancaster Jethawks) also play in the California League. Iorg, who was taken in the sixth round last season by the Detroit Tigers, opened the 2007 season with the Lakeland Flying Tigers in the Florida State League. Paiml (Kannapolis Intimidators) and Salem (Columbus Catfish) are both in the South Atlantic League.