Baseball Team Closes Five-Game Home Stand with Mississippi Valley State








The University of Alabama baseball team wraps up a five-game home stand Tuesday, May 1 as the Crimson Tide hosts the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils in a 6:30 p.m. (CDT) game at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The game is a makeup game of March 20 postponement between the two schools. Alabama (25-20, 10-11 SEC) is coming off it most impressive victory and series win of the 2007 season this past weekend against South Carolina.  The Crimson Tide won the series, which included an amazing comeback in the series finale Sunday afternoon.  Trailing 10-2 entering the bottom of the third inning, Alabama scored nine unanswered runs keyed by a three-hit, six RBI performance from sophomore Alex Avila (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), who hit two home runs in the win.  Avila capped the comeback with a two-out, three-run home run to dead center field in the bottom of the seventh inning for the 11-10 win. The six RBI tied Arkansas' Logan Forsythe (vs. Florida) for the most in the SEC this season.  Junior left-hander Will Stroup (Birmingham) gave the Crimson Tide 7 2/3 innings of relief en route to his first win of the year.  He held the potent South Carolina attack to three runs and seven hits as he produced the longest relief outing at Alabama in the Jim Wells era.  Junior right-hander Josh Copeland (Palmetto, Ga.) stranded two bases runners, including the tying run at third with one out in the ninth, as he struck out Trent Jones and got Trent Kline to ground out to end the nearly four hour game. Mississippi Valley State (18-27) is coming off a series sweep against Alabama A&M this past weekend.  The Crimson Tide and Delta Devils are meeting for the second time this season.  Alabama posted a 3-1 win on March 21 as junior-left hander Brian Griggs (Melbourne, Fla.) did not allow an earned run in six innings.  Bama scored all three runs in the first inning, including a solo home run by sophomore right fielder Kent Matthes (Orlando, Fla.).



Alabama has won all seven games with Mississippi Valley State, including a 3-1 win on March 21, 2007.  The Crimson Tide has outscored the Delta Devils, 80-16, in the previous seven meetings.



Alabama head baseball coach Jim Wells (Northwestern State, 1980) is the winningest coach in school history.  He has compiled a 548-266 (.673) record in 13 seasons at the Capstone. Overall, Wells has posted a 741-355 (.676) record in 18 seasons. He has led Alabama to two SEC Championships, three SEC Western Division titles, three CWS appearances and six SEC Tournament titles.  Mississippi Valley State head coach Doug Shanks has compiled a 177-237 (.428) in his eight years with the Delta Devils.



Alabama will send sophomore LHP Brian Griggs (Melbourne, Fla.) to the mound for his second career start and second start against the MVSU Delta Devils.  Griggs (4 G, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) worked six innings against the Delta Devils on March 21 en route to his only career win.  He allowed one unearned run and five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.  For the season, Griggs has appeared in four games and worked 9 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits, one unearned run, four walks and 10 strikeouts.  Mississippi Valley State did not name a starter for Tuesday's game at Alabama.



Alabama picked up its third SEC series win by taking two out of three against No. 4 South Carolina this weekend in Tuscaloosa ... The Crimson Tide posted a 10-5 win in the series opener and capped the series with an improbable 11-10 win in the series finale ... Alabama's series win moved to the Crimson Tide into a tie with Florida for sixth place in the overall SEC standings with three SEC series remaining ... Alabama travels to Gainesville this weekend to face Florida in a three-game series ... Alabama's 11-10 come-from-behind win over South Carolina on Sunday, April 29 was equaled the largest comeback win in the Jim Wells era ... The Crimson Tide also overcame an eight-run deficit against Arkansas on April 24, 1999 ... Bama erased an 8-0 deficit in the sixth inning and posted a 15-8 win over the Hogs ... Sophomore DH Alex Avila capped a strong week with a monster game against No. 4 South Carolina on Sunday, April 29 as the Crimson Tide took two of three from the visiting Gamecocks ... Avila went 3-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI in the series-clinching win, including the game-winning three-run home run with two outs in the seventh inning off Jeff Jeffords ... Avila's six RBI are the most by an Alabama player this season and the most since Matt Downs had six RBI against UAB on April 26, 2006 ... Avila's six RBI tied Arkansas' Logan Forsythe (vs. Florida) for the most in the SEC this year ... The two home runs marked the second time this season Avila has hit two home runs in a game (vs. Vanderbilt, April 8) ... Avila also went 2-for-3 with three runs scored, one home run and three RBI in the Tide's 10-5 series opening win on April 27 ... In the three game series, Avila was 5-for-15 (.333) with three home runs and seven RBI against the Gamecocks ... He had two, game-tying RBI and one game-winning RBI in the series ... For the season, Avila is batting .310 (54-for-174) with 10 home runs and 42 RBI ... He leads Alabama and ranks 10th in the SEC with 10 home runs ... He is fourth in the SEC with eight home runs in league play ... Alabama has scored 33 runs in its last three SEC wins over Auburn (12-4) and South Carolina (10-5 and 11-10) ... In those three games, the Crimson Tide is batting .327 (34-for-104) with five home runs and 31 RBI ... Alabama has scored 11 runs in the first inning and 11 runs in the sixth inning ... Bama had a nine-run first inning against Auburn (April 22) and an eight-run inning against South Carolina (April 27) ... Sophomore DH Alex Avila (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) leads the team with a .583 (7-for-12) in the last three SEC wins with three home runs and eight RBI ... Junior 1B Matt Bentley (Hazel Green, Ala.) has two home runs and five RBI ... Sophomore RF Kent Matthes has seven RBI in the last three SEC wins, including three in Sunday's 11-10 win over South Carolina ...



The Alabama bullpen has stranded 30 of its last 36 inherited runners, including 22 of its last 24 since April 7 ... Junior LHP Will Stroup earned a win and save in the Crimson Tide's series win over No. 4 South Carolina this past weekend ... He stranded the bases loaded in the seventh inning in the series to preserve UA's 10-5 lead in the seventh inning ... He worked 7 2/3 innings of relief (7.2-7-3-3-5-4) in the series-clinching win on Sunday to earn his first win at Alabama ... Stroup became the third Alabama reliever in the Wells era to log more than seven innings out of the bullpen in a game ... The 7 2/3 innings also mark the longest relief stint in the Wells era ... Tommy Hunter had a seven-inning relief outing against Tennessee (March 18, 2007) earlier this season and Lance Cormier worked 7 1/3 innings out of the pen against LSU (April 18, 1999) ... Sophomore RHP Tommy Hunter (Indianapolis, Ind.) made the move back to the starting rotation against South Carolina (6.1-6-5-5-6-5) in the series opener ... Sophomore LHP Miers Quilgey has a personal four-game losing streak and the Crimson Tide has scored seven runs in those four starts ... In three of the four starts, Alabama has scored two total runs against No. 1 Vanderbilt (L, 3-0), Georgia (L, 4-1) and No. 4 South Carolina (L, 4-1) ... Senior RHP Patrick Kelly (Dothan) made his return to the mound against Samford this week after a seven-week absence ... Kelly stranded two inherited runners in 1 2/3 inning stint against the Bulldogs ... Junior RHP Josh Copeland recorded his fourth save of the year in the series finale against South Carolina when he struck out Trent Jones and got Trent Kline to ground out to end the game with the tying run on third base ... Copeland has stranded 11 of his last 12 inherited runners dating back to April 7 ...



Alabama is back on the road this weekend with a three-game series at Florida, beginning Friday, May 4 at 5:35 p.m. (CDT).  The series finale is Sunday, May 6 at 12:06 p.m. (CDT) and will be televised by Sun Sports (DirecTV Channel 632) and SportSouth (DirecTV Channel 631).