Baseball Heads to Knoxville Looking for SEC Tourney Berth

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

May 19, 2010

Alabama Baseball Game Notes (Tennessee Series) Get Acrobat Reader

Alabama Player Bios (May 20) Get Acrobat Reader

Player Game-By-Game Stats Get Acrobat Reader

Records:           Alabama (31-21, 12-15 SEC)
                         Tennessee (30-23, 12-15 SEC)

Game Times:     Thursday, May 20 (6 p.m.) (CDT)
                          Friday, May 21 (6 p.m.) (CDT)
                          Saturday, May 22 (12 p.m.) (CDT) (CSS)

Radio:               Crimson Tide Sports Network (WFFN-FM, 95.3)
Play-by-Play:   Chris Stewart

TV:                     CSS (Saturday)
Announcers:      Matt Stewart and Rusty Ensor

Alabama Pitchers
Game 1             Jimmy Nelson (RHP, 13 GS, 6-2, 4.17 ERA)
Game 2             Nathan Kilcrease (RHP, 29 G, 5-2, 2.44 ERA)
Game 3             Adam Morgan (LHP, 14 GS, 5-4, 6.58 ERA)

Tennessee Pitchers
Game 1             Stephen McCray (RHP, 13 GS, 6-3, 2.86 ERA)
Game 2             Steven Gruver (LHP, 11 GS, 4-4, 6.62 ERA)
Game 3             TBA

TODAY'S GAME: The Alabama baseball team wraps up the 2010 regular season with a crucial three-game Southeastern Conference series at Tennessee this weekend at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville. The series opener is Thursday, May 20, at 6 p.m. (CDT). Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and LSU are in a four-way tie for seventh place in the overall SEC standings and fighting for the final two berths in the 2010 SEC Tournament, which will be held May 26-30, at Regions Park in Hoover. Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina and Vanderbilt have already qualified for the eight-team, double-elimination tournament. Alabama (31-21, 12-15 SEC) would need to sweep Tennessee this weekend in Knoxville and have either LSU or Kentucky lose one game to make the SEC Tournament. The Crimson Tide would clinch an SEC Tournament berth with two wins in Knoxville, but would then need two losses by either LSU or Kentucky to reach the SEC Tournament. Tennessee (29-23, 12-15 SEC) has the same scenario as Alabama. The Volunteers would need to sweep the Crimson Tide and have LSU or Kentucky lose one game in order to reach the Tournament. LSU (34-18, 12-15 SEC) hosts Mississippi State this weekend, while Kentucky (29-23, 121-5 SEC) closes the season at Georgia.

2010 SEC RACE: The 2010 SEC baseball race has shaped up as one of the best in league history, with 10 teams still in SEC Tournament contention entering the final weekend. The 2010 SEC Championship will be decided this weekend in Columbia, S.C., as South Carolina (41-11, 20-7) hosts the Florida Gators (37-12, 20-7) in a winner-take-all series. It will take 22 wins to claim the regular season championship, the most since 1999 when Arkansas (21-8) edged Alabama (21-9) in an exciting league race. Both division races have come down to the final weekend, also believed to be a first in league history. Auburn (35-17, 17-10) leads the SEC Western Division by one game over Arkansas (38-14, 16-11) and Mississippi (36-17, 16-11). Auburn plays at Mississippi this weekend and Arkansas travels to Vanderbilt. If the Rebels take two from the Tigers and the Razorbacks get two wins in Nashville, there will be a three-way tie atop the SEC Western Division standings, another first in league history.

BUILDING THE RESUME: Alabama has compiled a 31-21 overall record against some of the toughest competition in the country. The Crimson Tide is 6-10 (.375) record against the top 20 RPI; 12-17 (.414) against the top 50 RPI and 17-19 (.472) against the top 100 RPI.

*Alabama is 15th in the latest RPI tabulations compiled by Boyd Nation (www.boydsworld.com).

*Alabama is 17th in the latest RPI recorded by Warren Nolan (www.warrennolan.com).

*Alabama is 15th in the NCAA's latest RPI heading into the final weekend.

*According to Warren Nolan, Alabama's opponents (plus their opponents) winning percentage (.6234) is the highest in the nation. Kentucky ranks second with a .6233 winning mark.

*The Crimson Tide has played the second-toughest schedule in the nation this year. UA's opponents (plus their opponents) have compiled a 1,536-928 (.6234) record this season. Kentucky's opponent's own a 1,562-943 (.6233) overall record.

*Alabama's opponents have compiled a 666-441 (.601) record this season.

*Alabama has played more games against top 50 RPI teams (32) than any other team ranked in the latest top 20 RPI.

*The Crimson Tide has played 36 games against teams currently ranked in the top 100 RPI. 

*This week's opponent is #39 Tennessee, which will give Alabama 32 games vs. top 50 RPI and 39 games vs. top 100 RPI.
 
*Alabama has posted a 22-21 record against teams ranked in the top 100 RPI at the time of the game. The Crimson Tide's final three games will take place against teams ranked in the top 100, which will give the Tide 46 games against teams in the top 100 at the time of the game.

*Alabama has a number of key wins this season against No. 4 Florida, No. 13 Vanderbilt, No. 14 South Carolina, No. 16 Auburn, No. 26 Mississippi, and No. 29 College of Charleston and No. 62 South Alabama.

*The Crimson Tide has wins over SEC Eastern Division leaders South Carolina (W, 6-4) and Florida (W, 10-8).

*Alabama owns four wins against the top two teams in the SEC Western Division, including series win against Auburn and Mississippi.

*The Tide has a road series win over No. 29 College of Charleston, winning two out of three at Patriots Point on March 5-7. The Cougars are second in the Southern Conference and own a series win over league-leader The Citadel.

*Alabama has an SEC series win over No. 13 Vanderbilt. The Tide took two of three from the Commodores March 19-21 in Tuscaloosa. Alabama won the first two games over Vandy to extend its series winning streak to seven games.

*Alabama posted a 10-5 win at No. 40 Southeast Louisiana on April 14 in Hammond. The Lions are 39-14 this season and sits atop the Southland Conference standings heading into the final weekend.

*The Crimson Tide swept a two-game series with No. 143 Minnesota on March 16-17 in Tuscaloosa. The Golden Gophers are 25-27 this season and currently leads the Big Ten Conference. Minnesota closes out the season with Ohio State this weekend.

SEC RECAP: Alabama is 12-15 in SEC play this season and sits in a four-way tie for seventh place with Kentucky, LSU and Tennessee entering the final weekend of the regular season.

The Crimson Tide has won two of its four series in the second half of the season and compiled a 7-5 conference record heading into this weekend's series at Tennessee.

Alabama owns series wins over Mississippi State (3-0) and Mississippi (2-1) in the second half of the SEC season. The series losses came to SEC leaders South Carolina (1-2) and Florida (1-2).

Alabama was 5-10 during the first half of the SEC season with series wins over Vanderbilt (2-1) and Auburn (2-1). The Crimson Tide lost all three road series in the first half against Arkansas (0-3), Kentucky (1-2) and LSU (0-3).

The Crimson Tide is hitting .292 (277-for-950) in conference play with 26 home runs and 153 RBI this season.

Dugas leads Alabama with a .417 (40-for-96) batting average in league play and a .554 on-base percentage. He has reached base safely 72 times via hit (40), walk (25) or hit by pitch (7) this season.

Rutledge is hitting .360 (45-for-125) with four home runs and 27 RBI this season. He has hit safely in 26 of 27 SEC games this season, including an 18-game hitting streak in league play.

On the mound, the Tide is 12-15 with a 6.37 ERA. The Tide has been outscored 189-171 in the 27 SEC games.

Nelson and Morgan have started all nine SEC series and are a combined 6-6 with 6.68 ERA in 18 starts in league play.

Kilcrease, who has started the series finale in each of the last two series with Florida and Mississippi, is 3-2 with a 3.27 ERA in 15 appearances. Both of his losses came as a result of a walk-off home run in extra innings at No. 6 LSU and No. 3 South Carolina.

Alabama has played well defensively all season long. The Tide owns a .977 fielding percentage in SEC play with 23 errors and 19 double plays in 27 games.

NON-SEC RECAP: Alabama posted a 19-6 record in non-conference games during the 2010 regular season.

The Crimson Tide won seven of its nine series, with series win against South Alabama, Illinois-Chicago, College of Charleston, Stony Brook, Minnesota, Jacksonville State and Mississippi Valley State.

Alabama also had non-conference wins over No. 25 Georgia and at No. 23 Southeastern Louisiana.

The Crimson Tide hit .308 (261-for-847) in non-league games this year with 23 home runs and 178 RBI. Alabama outscored its non-SEC brethren 200-108 in 25 games, including a 26-4 mark in the first inning.

Dugas led the team with a .400 (34-for-85) average with 29 runs scored and 15 RBI. He reached base safely 64 times via hit (34), walk (29) or hit by pitch (1).

Jones hit .382 (34-for-89) in 25 non-SEC games with a team-leading nine home runs and 33 RBI.

The pitching staff went 19-6 with a 3.86 ERA with six saves and two shutouts in 25 games. The Tide allowed just over four runs and less than 10 hits per game.

Nelson was 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA in four non-conference starts. He had 26 strikeouts in 22 innings. Kilcrease was a 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA in 14 games. He recorded 24 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings.

WEEKEND BREAKDOWN: RECAP: Alabama has compiled a 23-16 record in weekend games this season, including a 10-4 mark on Saturday.

The Alabama-Tennessee series will be played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday as the 2010 regular season comes to close. The Crimson Tide is 6-6 on Friday, 10-4 on Saturday and 7-6 on Sunday this season.

Alabama is 3-6 in its nine SEC openers and has lost three in a row and five of its last six SEC openers.

The Crimson Tide is 5-4 in the middle game of an SEC series with two wins in its last three tries.

Alabama is 4-5 in SEC series finale's this season and has won three of its last four against Mississippi State, Florida and Mississippi.

2-0 OR 0-2: Alabama has either been 2-0 or 0-2 following the first two games in seven of its nine SEC series this season.

The Crimson Tide won the first two games of its SEC series with No. 16 Vanderbilt, Auburn and Mississippi State, but completed only one sweep. The Tide swept the Bulldogs, but dropped the series finale to both the Commodores and Tigers.

Alabama opened with a 0-2 SEC record against No. 15 Arkansas, Kentucky, No. 6 LSU and No. 3 Florida. The Tide was swept by Arkansas and LSU. Alabama posted two Sunday wins over Kentucky and Florida.

The Crimson Tide split the first two games with No. 3 South Carolina and No. 14 Mississippi. South Carolina earned a series win with a 20-15 victory in the series finale on May 2. Alabama picked up a crucial series win with a 6-3 victory over Mississippi on May 16.

HOME SUCCESS: Alabama posted a 23-7 record at home this season and won four of its five SEC series. The Crimson Tide was 10-5 in SEC home games with series wins over No. 16 Vanderbilt, Auburn, Mississippi State and No. 14 Mississippi. Alabama went 13-2 in non-conference home games.

In 30 home games, Alabama hit .311 (310-for-997) with 27 home runs and 195 RBI. The Tide outscored the opposition 220-145 this season at home.

Dugas and Jones both hit .400 at home this season. Dugas was the leading hitter at "The Joe" with a .417 (40-for-96) average with 34 runs, 34 walks and 16 RBI. Jones hit .410 (43-for-105) and led the Tide with eight home runs and 31 RBI.

The pitching staff posted a 23-7 record with seven saves and a 4.45 ERA at home this season. The staff has worked 265 innings and allowed 145 runs (131 ER) and 278 hits with 253 strikeouts and 97 walks.

Nelson (7 GS, 5-1, 4.29 ERA) and Morgan (9 GS, 3-2, 5.98 ERA) have combined for eight wins in 16 home starts.

Smith has not allowed an earned run in his five home relief appearances this season, with 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Kilcrease (4-0, 2.68 ERA, 2 SV) has recorded 39 strikeouts in 37 innings in his team-leading 15 appearances at the Joe.

SEC HOME SUCCESS: Alabama has been almost unbeatable at home, winning 61 of its last 78 SEC home series in the last 16 years.

Since 1995, Alabama has won 33 of the 43 home series against SEC Eastern Division teams. The Crimson Tide had its streak of 14 straight home series wins against Eastern Division snapped with a series loss to Florida on May 7-9, 2010. Prior to the UF series the last time UA did not win a home series against an Eastern Division opponent was against Florida in 2004.

The Tide's 14 straight home series wins came against Eastern Division foes included wins over South Carolina and Georgia in 2005, Vanderbilt and Florida in 2006, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina in 2007, Vanderbilt and Florida in 2008, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky in 2009 and Vanderbilt in 2010.

Alabama also won 13 straight home series wins against Eastern Division teams.

Since 1995, Alabama has won 27 of its 38 home series against Western Division teams, including 10 of its last 12 home series dating back to 2006. The Tide has won all three home series against Western Division teams this season, taking two of three from Auburn (April 2-4) and Mississippi (May 14-16) and sweeping Mississippi State (April 23-25).

The Tide lost its only home series to a Western Division team last season, losing to No. 2 LSU (April 10-12) to snap its streak of 10 straight home series wins. From 1996-2000, the Tide won 11 straight home series against SEC Western Division clubs.

Dating back to 2005, Alabama has won 24 of its last 29 SEC home series. 

SEC HOME SCORING STREAK INTACT: Alabama freshman right fielder Andrew Miller not only hit his first career home run on May 7 against No. 3 Florida but he also extended a SEC home scoring streak for the Crimson Tide that dates back to the 1992 season.

Alabama trailed Florida 9-0 entering the bottom of the ninth inning on May 7. Miller led off the inning and swatted the first pitch he saw from Jeff Barfield over the wall in right field for his first collegiate home run. 

The home run also allowed the Crimson Tide to avoid its first SEC home shutout since a 10-0 loss to LSU on April 25, 1992. Miller's ninth-inning home run extended Alabama's SEC home scoring streak, which now stands at 263 consecutive games.

ROAD GAMES: Alabama is 7-13 (.350) on the road this season. 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 2-10 in SEC road games this season, dropping all four SEC series against No. 15 Arkansas, Kentucky, No. 6 LSU and No. 3 South Carolina. The Crimson Tide held the lead in 11 of those 12 SEC road games and led in the sixth inning or later nine times.

The Crimson Tide will close out the 2010 season at Tennessee and will be looking to avoid five SEC series losses since the 2003 season. Alabama did not win an SEC road series that year, losing at No. 21 Florida, No. 6 Auburn, Mississippi, Tennessee and Mississippi State.

Alabama is 0-6 in one-run games on the road.

The Crimson Tide is hitting .284 (207-for-729) with 21 home runs and 120 RBI in 20 games. The Tide has scored 132 runs and collected 65 extra base hits.

Rutledge is the Tide's leading hitter on the road with a .389 (37-for-95) average with four home runs and 18 RBI. He has hit safely in all 22 games away from Tuscaloosa this season, including a 20-game road hitting streak. He also leads the Tide with 18 runs scored away from home.

Dugas is second on the team with a .385 (30-for-78) road average with one home run and 12 RBI. He is second on the team with 16 runs scored.

Jones leads the team with five home runs and 15 RBI, while Smith has five home runs and 14 RBI in 20 road games.

The pitching staff is 7-13 with five saves and 621 ERA. The staff has worked 178 1/3 innings and allowed 142 runs (123 ER) and 231 hits with 145 strikeouts and 66 walks.

Kilcrease has been the most consistent pitcher on the road this season, posting a 1-2 record with two saves and a team-best 2.25 ERA in 12 appearances. He has worked 24 innings and allowed six runs and 15 hits with 21 strikeouts and eight walks.

Both losses have come at No. 6 LSU and No. 3 South Carolina in extra innings. LSU's Grant Dozar hit a walk-off home run in the 14th inning on April 18 and USC's Brady Thomas hit a walk-off two-run home run in the 11th inning on April 30.

Alabama is fielding .973 on the road with 20 errors in 20 games. The Tide has played three consecutive errorless road games. UA opponents have turned 19 double plays, compared to only eight for the Tide.

ROAD WARRIORS: With three games at Tennessee this weekend, Alabama will have played 23 road games this season, tying Kentucky for the most road games by an SEC team. 

Entering the weekend, South Carolina leads the pack with 22 road games, while Tennessee (21), Alabama (20), Kentucky (20) and Mississippi (20) have also played 20 or more road games.

USC, Mississippi and Tennessee are all at home this weekend. Alabama plays at Tennessee and Kentucky travels to Georgia, giving both teams 23 road games.

Kentucky has played three neutral site games, giving the Cats 26 total games away from Lexington. Alabama had two neutral site games and 25 games away from Tuscaloosa.

ALABAMA HITTING NOTES: Alabama is third in the SEC with 40 sacrifice bunts ... sophomore CF Taylor Dugas leads Alabama and ranks second in the league in 10 sacrifice bunts this season ... current San Francisco Giants middle infielder Matt Downs (2006) and Nate Duncan (1997) hold the UA single-season record with 13 sacrifice bunts ... the Crimson Tide is in the top 50 nationally in walks (47th, 231) and sacrifice bunts (45th, 40) ...  Alabama is third in SEC with 34 hit by pitch this season ... Alabama pinch hitters are 20-for-54 (.370) this season ... the 20 pinch-hits and 53 at-bats are the third-highest total in the SEC ... the Crimson Tide has scored 10 or more runs 11 times this season and is 10-1 in those 11 games ... Alabama has also recorded 27 double-digit hit games ... Alabama and LSU combined for the most at-bats (99) in an SEC game this season on April 18 ... Alabama and South Carolina combined for the most runs (35), hits (41), doubles (11) and home runs (9) in a game this season on May 2 ... Alabama homered in a season-high five straight games from May 2-12 ... the Tide is 19-10 when it hits a home run and 12-11 without a home run ... Alabama hit a season-high five home runs at South Carolina on May 2 ... the previous high was three home runs against Stony Brook (March 13), LSU (April 17) and Mississippi Valley State (April 27) ... Alabama is 3-for-21 (.143) with the bases loaded since April 17 ... Alabama went 1-for-9 (.111) in the Florida series with the bases loaded ... the Tide is 24-1 when leading after eight innings and 1-18 when trailing after eight innings ... the Crimson Tide stranded a season-high 13 base runners against Mississippi Valley State (April 27) and Stamford (April 13) ... junior SS Josh Rutledge scored five runs in the win over Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 27, the most by an SEC player this year ... 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 ... UA tied an NCAA record with six sacrifice bunts in its 10-4 win at Jacksonville State on April 7 ...  Dugas and Rutledge had an SEC-high seven at-bats at LSU on April 18 ... UA scored seven of its eight runs against Mississippi State on April 23 with two outs.

200-HIT CLUB: Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge and senior third baseman Jake Smith have both joined the career 200-hit club at Alabama.

Rutledge is ninth all-time at the Capstone with 257 career hits. Smith is the newest member of the 200-hit club as he tallied the milestone hit against Mississippi on May 16.

Junior second baseman Ross Wilson enters the Tennessee series with 197 career hits, leaving him three hits shy of the 200-hit club at Alabama.

With three more hits, Wilson will give Alabama three active players with 200 career hits, marking the second time in school history that has happened. 

In 2002, Brent Boyd, Jermey Brown and Scott McClanahan all eclipsed the 200-hit barrier for the Tide. Boyd and Brown join Andy Phillips (1996-99) and Joe Caruso (1994-97) as the only four players with 300 career hits. Boyd ranks second all-time with 313 career hits, while Brown is fourth with 307 hits. McClanahan finished 10th with 238 hits.

RUTLEDGE STREAKING: Rutledge has hit safely in 26 of the Crimson Tide's 27 SEC games this season, including his current 18-game hitting streak in SEC play. The only SEC game in which he did not collect a hit came in a 7-1 loss to Auburn on April 4.
 
During the current streak, the Cullman, Ala., native is batting .370 (31-for-85) with four home runs and 23 RBI. He has added four doubles and scored 13 runs.

Overall, he is riding a 10-game hitting streak, dating back to April 30, where he is hitting .413 (19-for-46) with three home runs and 16 RBI. He has also scored 12 runs.

Rutledge hit a team-best .467 (7-for-15) with one home run and six RBI in the series with No. 3 Florida. He compiled a .667 slugging percentage and a .467 on-base mark. 

He went 3-for-5 with a home run and career-high six RBI in the Tide's 10-8 win on May 9. He slammed a three-run home run in the second inning to give Alabama its first lead of the series at 4-3. His previous high was five RBI, most recently against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 27, 2010.

Rutledge leads the Tide with 26 multi-hit games this season and has 76 in his three-year career.

He also recorded his 250th career hit on May 9 with a two-run single in the fourth inning. He is the eighth player in Tide history with 250 career hits, joining Andy Phillips (322, 1996-99), Brent Boyd (313, 1999-2002), Joe Caruso (309, 1994-97), Jeremy Brown (307, 1999-2002), G.W. Keller (292, 1997-99), David Magadan (268, 1981-83) and Emeel Salem (259, 2004-07).

In his three-year career, Rutledge has hit safely in 74 of 85 career SEC games, including 28 of 30 games as a true freshman in 2008. He had a school-record 23-game SEC hitting streak in 2008. He hit safely in 20 of 28 SEC games in 2009. 

Rutledge has posted 41 career mutli-hit games in SEC play, including 14 this season. He had 17 multi-hit games last year.

RUTLEDGE HAVING A BANNER YEAR: Rutledge is having another quality season for the Crimson Tide. He is hitting .368 (85-for-231) with seven home runs and a team-leading 52 RBI. He leads Alabama in total hits and RBI and ranks second in hitting, runs scored (48), home runs.

He is a two-time all-conference selection and is making a strong case for All-SEC honors for the third year in a row.

The Cullman, Ala., native leads the SEC with 231 at-bats and ranks second in total hits (85), fifth in plate appearances (256), eighth in hitting (.368) and total bases (124) and 11th in doubles (14).

He leads the league with 125 at-bats in SEC games and ranks third in hits (45), fourth in plate appearances (134), seventh in hitting (.360), ninth in RBI (27) and 10th in total bases (64).

Rutledge also paces all SEC shortstops in hitting (.370) and RBI (49). He is second to UK's Taylor Black (9) in home runs with seven. He also has more at-bats, more runs, more hits and more stole bases than any other shortstop in the SEC.

RUTLEDGE KNOCKS THEM IN: Rutledge has been the Tide's most consistent run producer of late with 16 RBI in his last nine SEC games.

He now leads the Crimson Tide with 53 RBI in 52 games this season and is bidding to become the first shortstop to lead Alabama in RBI since Steve Houlberg had 28 RBI to pace the club in 1978.

Rutledge's RBI binge began against South Carolina on April when the junior knocked in six runs in the three-game series. He hit a game-tying three-run home run in the ninth inning of the series opener and gave the Tide the lead with two RBI in a five-run fifth inning that put the Tide in front 5-2 on May 1.

He had seven RBI in the three-game series against Florida, including a career-high six RBI in the Tide's 10-8 win on May 9.

Rutledge had 13 RBI in a six-game stretch against the Gamecocks and Gators from April 30-May 9.

He added three more RBI in the series with Mississippi, including a two-run single to cap a three-run seventh inning in the Tide's 4-1 win on May 15 and a game-winning RBI single in the seventh inning of UA's 6-3 win on May 16.

SMITH NEARING GRAND SLAM RECORD: Alabama senior third baseman Jake Smith has five career grand slams, leaving him one shy of the Alabama career record. Mike Pitisci hit six grand slams in 1984 to set the NCAA career and single season record for grand slams. The 1984 season was the only year in which Pitisci played for the Tide.

Smith has hit five grand slams in his four-year career, including two this season against Kentucky (April 11) and Mississippi State (April 25).

Ironically, both grand slams came in games in which the Tide trailed by seven or more runs, and Smith's grand slams ignited an Alabama offense and keyed two impressive comeback wins.

Alabama trailed Kentucky 9-0 in the sixth inning on April 9 before Smith's grand slam pulled the Crimson Tide to within 9-5. UA took a 10-9 lead by scoring five runs in the eighth inning and added a huge insurance run in the ninth for an improbable 11-9 win.

The Crimson Tide found itself down 7-0 in the fourth inning to Mississippi State on April 25, but scored eight times in the bottom of the fourth inning to take an 8-7 lead. Smith put the Tide on the board with a grand slam to cut the lead to 7-4. Josh Rutledge added an RBI single and Ross Wilson gave UA its first lead with a three-run homer.

Mike Pitisci Career Grand Slams
Feb. 28, 1984     Alabama Christian
March 7, 1984     at Southern Mississippi
March 15, 1984   at New Orleans
March 21, 1984  Clemson
March 23, 1984  Florida State
April 23, 1984     Auburn

Jake Smith Career Grand Slams
March 3, 2007   McNeese State
April 7, 2009     Troy
April 24, 2009   Kentucky
April 11, 2009   at Kentucky
April 25, 2009   Mississippi State

SEC HOMER STREAK ENDS: Alabama did not hit a home run in its series win over No. 14 Mississippi (May 14-16), marking the first time since 2004 the Tide did not hit at least one home run in an SEC series. The last time Alabama failed to hit a home run in an SEC series was at LSU on May 1-2, 2004.

ALABAMA PITCHING NOTES: Alabama is second in the SEC in fewest hit batters (30), fifth in strikeouts (419) and tied for fifth in saves (12) ... the 12 saves are the most since 2007 (14) ... the Tide had only 11 saves in each of the last two seasons ... in SEC play, Alabama is third in innings pitched (238 2/3), fourth in strikeouts (196) and tied for fourth in saves (6) ... sophomore LHP Adam Morgan leads the SEC with 14 starts on the mound ... junior RHP Jimmy Nelson is tied for second with 13 starts ... Alabama is 17-10 (.630) in those 27 starts ... Alabama has yielded 63 home runs this season ... only Tennessee (65) and Georgia (64) have allowed more ... South Carolina hit nine home runs in the three-game series against Alabama, April 30-May 2 ... the Tide has yielded 15 home runs in its last six SEC road games ... LSU hit eight home runs (April 16-18) ... Auburn hit seven homers (April 2-4) ... the Tide is 17-3 when it does not allow a home run and 14-18 when it allows at least one home run ... UA opponents have hit 58 home runs in the last 35 games ... on March 24, Alabama led the SEC in fewest home runs allowed with five dingers ... 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 ... Alabama has 19 double-digit strikeout games this season ... UA pitchers recorded 25 strikeouts in the two-game series with Mississippi Valley State on April 27-28 ... the Tide recorded a season-high 16 strikeouts at College of Charleston on March 6 ... Alabama had an SEC-high 12 strikeouts against Mississippi State on April 23 ... the Tide has allowed four double-figure scoring games this season, including a season-high 20 by South Carolina on May 2 ... Alabama has allowed 25 double-figure hit games, including 25 hits by South Carolina on May 2 ... Nelson, Wolfe and Pilkington combined for the SEC's only one-hitter this season against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 27 ... Alabama and LSU combined for an SEC season-high 27 1/3 innings pitched in Baton Rouge on April 18 ... Alabama recorded 12 strikeouts and no walks in its 8-5 win over Mississippi State on April 23 ... the MSU game marked the fourth time this season the Crimson Tide has not issued a walk ... the others came against Illinois-Chicago (Feb. 26), College of Charleston (March 6) and Auburn (April 4) ... Nelson and junior RHP Nathan Kilcrease threw back-to-back shutouts against Mississippi on May 15-16.

KILCREASE HAVING BIG SEASON: Alabama junior right-hander Nathan Kilcrease is having his best season in his three-year career for the Crimson Tide. The Phenix City, Ala., native has compiled a 5-2 record with four saves and a team-best 2.44 ERA in 29 appearances. Kilcrease has worked 62 2/3 innings and has allowed 19 runs (17 ER) and 44 hits with 61 strikeouts and 15 walks.

He has started the series finale in each of the last two weekends against No. 3 Florida and No. 14 Mississippi. He is 2-0 in those two games, leading the Tide to pivotal wins.
 
Kilcrease made his first start of the season on May 9 against Florida after 26 consecutive relief appearances. It was his fifth career start and first career SEC start. Kilcrease allowed seven (6 ER) and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and one walk.

In his second start of the year on May 16 against Mississippi, Kilcrease tossed his first career complete game as the Tide posted a 6-3 series-clinching win. He held the Rebels to three runs (2 ER) on five hits in nine innings with seven strikeouts and two walks while eventually retiring the last nine batters he faced.

Kilcrease leads the SEC in appearances (29), relief appearances (27), fewest runs allowed (19), fewest earned runs allowed (17) and fewest hits allowed (44). He is second in opponent's batting average (.199), third in ERA (2.44) and ninth in saves (4).

Kilcrease has turned in 20 scoreless relief appearances this season and he opened the year by retiring the first 16 batters he faced over his first four outings. He has retired 21 of 27 first batters and stranded 11 of 16 inherited base runners.

BACK-TO-BACK CG's:  Junior RHPs Jimmy Nelson and Nathan Kilcrease tossed back-to-back complete games against Mississippi on May 15-16 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Nelson went the distance for the first time in his career as he matched his career high with 11 strikeouts. He held the Rebels to one run on four hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks. 

The Niceville, Fla., native matched zeroes with Mississippi right-hander Aaron Barrett, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.

Kilcrease tossed his first career complete game the following day as the Tide posted a 6-3 series-clinching win. Kilcrease allowed three runs (2 ER) and five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in his second start of the 2010 season. He retired the last nine batters he faced.

The back-to-back complete games are the first by Alabama since the 2006 when Bernard Robert and Tommy Hunter threw back-to-back complete games in a double header sweep of No. 1 South Carolina on April 9, 2006 at Sarge Frye Field in Columbia.

ALABAMA FIELDING NOTES: Alabama is tied with Florida for the best fielding percentage (.977) in the SEC ... the Crimson Tide ranks ninth nationally with .977 fielding clip this season ... Alabama has committed the second-fewest errors (45) in the SEC ... in conference play, Alabama is second in the league in fielding (.977) and has the third-fewest errors (23) ... Alabama and Tennessee have thrown out more base runners (28) than any other team ... in SEC play, Alabama and Tennessee lead the way with 17 base runners thrown out ... Alabama catchers have the third-highest fielding percentage (.990) and second-fewest errors (5) in the SEC ... UA catchers also have the second-fewest passed balls (5) in the league ... Alabama and Georgia are tied for first in the SEC with 13 outfield assists ... the 13 assists have been recorded by seven different players, including Taylor Dugas (4), Brett Booth (3), Andrew Miller (2), Cal Tinlsey (1), Jon Kelton (1), John David Smelser (1) and Kent Myer (1) ... Alabama and LSU combined for 82 putouts in the Tigers 14-inning win at Alex Box Stadium on April 18 ... Clay Jones set an Alabama record with 18 putouts at LSU on April 18 ... Alabama has played 20 errorless games this season and is 17-3 in those 19 games ... Alabama is 14-18 when committing at least one error ... Alabama is 28-14 when its opponent makes at least one error and 3-7 when opponents play errorless baseball ... UA played a season-high four straight errorless games from April 23-27, including all three games of its SEC series sweep against Mississippi State ... from April 18-28, Alabama played 46 1/3 consecutive errorless innings and handled 176 straight chances without a miscue ... UA played three straight errorless games from March 3-6 ... from Feb. 27-March 7, UA logged 35 2/3 consecutive errorless innings and fielded 133 consecutive chances without an error ... the Crimson Tide has played three straight errorless road games (May 1-Present) ... 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 ... Alabama did not make an error in the win over Mississippi State on April 23, snapping a streak of 11 consecutive games with at least one error.

UA DEFENSE ON RECORD PACE: Alabama and Florida lead the SEC with a .977 fielding percentage this season. The Crimson Tide has committed the second-fewest errors (45) in the SEC and is on pace to shatter the school single-season fielding percentage mark. The highest fielding percentage in school history is .971 set in 1996 and 2009. Last year's team committed just 61 errors in 58 games, while the 1996 made 78 errors in 69 games.

MISSISSIPPI SERIES RECAP: Alabama posted a critical series win over No. 14 Mississippi at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, May 14-16. The Tide has won three straight home series against the Rebels.

After dropping the opener, Alabama rebounded to win the next two games and capture its fourth SEC home series win of the season. Junior RHPs Jimmy Nelson and Nathan Kilcrease tossed back-to-back complete games on May 15-16 as the Tide clinched the series.

Neither team generated a lot of offense in the three-game series. The Tide and Rebels combined for 23 runs and 37 hits in the three games.

Alabama hit .200 (18-for-90) with seven extra base hits (6 doubles and one triple) and 12 RBI. Mississippi hit .204 (19-for-93) with two home runs and nine RBI.

Jones (4-for-11, 2 RBI) and Rutledge (4-for-12, 3 RBI) led the Tide on offense.

Alabama scored 11 of its 14 runs in the seventh inning or later.

The story of the weekend was on the mound as Alabama compiled a 2.67 ERA and fired back-to-back complete games for the first time since 2006.

Nelson went the distance for the first time in his career on May 15 as he matched his career high with 11 strikeouts. He held the Rebels to one run on four hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks in the Tide's 4-1 win.

The Niceville, Fla., native matched zeroes with Mississippi right-hander Aaron Barrett, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.

Kilcrease tossed his first career complete game the following day as the Tide posted a 6-3 series-clinching win. Kilcrease allowed three runs (2 ER) and five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in his second start of the 2010 season. He retired the last nine batters he faced.

The back-to-back complete games are the first by Alabama since the 2006 when Bernard Robert and Tommy Hunter threw back-to-back complete games in a double header sweep of No. 1 South Carolina on April 9, 2006 at Sarge Frye Field in Columbia.

Mississippi pitchers compiled a 3.96 series ERA (25 IP, 11 ER), but struggled with command. The Rebels issued 19 walks in the series, including 15 walks by starters Drew Pomeranz (8) and Barrett (7) in the first two games.

TENNESSEE SERIES: Alabama leads the all-time series with Tennessee, 65-28. The two teams did not begin meeting on regular basis until 1986 and the Crimson Tide has won 13 of the 19 series during that time.

The two teams have met every year since 1986, with the exception of 1992, 1993, 2004 and 2005. The Crimson Tide posted series wins in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2009. Tennessee owns series wins in 1988, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2008. 

Alabama has won eight of the last 11 meetings, including a three-game sweep last season in Tuscaloosa. Tennessee claimed a series win the last time the two teams met in Knoxville in 2008. 

Alabama and Tennessee first met in 1897 with the Tide claiming the series two games to one. Alabama and Tennessee played only 18 times prior to the 1968 season, with the Crimson Tide posting a 14-4 record in those 18 games. Since 1969, Alabama has compiled a 51-24 record in the 75 meetings between the two schools. The Crimson Tide and Volunteers met in the 1969 Alabama Classic and 1975 Joe Sewell Classic in Tuscaloosa. Alabama and Tennessee also met in back-to-back SEC Tournaments in 1982 and 1983. The Tide and Volunteers played a pair of neutral site games in 1984 and 1985 in two of the Southern League's oldest ballparks. Alabama beat Tennessee 8-4 at historic Engle Stadium in 1984. The following year, Alabama posted a 7-4 win at Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville.

Alabama won all four games against the Volunteers in 2002, including a 9-0 win in the Hormel Foods Classic at the HHH Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. Alabama closed out the 2006 season with a three-game series sweep in Knoxville to clinch a tie for the 2006 SEC Championship.

Alabama holds a 41-14 lead in games played in Tuscaloosa. The Tide is 19-13 in games played in Knoxville. Alabama holds the upper hand in neutral site games, winning five of six meetings. 

Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard will be making his coaching debut against Tennessee this weekend. UT head coach Todd Raleigh is 2-4 in his career against the Tide.

TENNESSEE SCOUTING REPORT: Tennessee (30-23, 12-15 SEC) has won three of its four SEC series in the second half of the league schedule. The Volunteers are 11-3 in their last 14 games with series wins over Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Georgia. 

Offensively, Tennessee ranks among the NCAA leaders in home run and walks. The Volunteers are 18th nationally with 76 home runs and 22nd nationally with 1.46 homers per game. Tennessee is also 19th among Division I schools with 251 walks. Defensively, Tennessee is 15th nationally with a .976 fielding percentage and 27th among Division I schools with 53 double plays.

As a team, Tennessee is hitting .297 (550-for-1,849) with 76 home runs and 369 RBI. The Volunteers are averaging 7.8 runs and 10.8 hits per game this season. In SEC play, Tennessee is hitting .279 (266-for-953) with 36 home runs and 154 RBI. UT is averaging 6.2 runs and 9.9 hits in 27 SEC games.

Junior outfielder P.J. Polk leads UT with a .361 (73-for-202) average in 51 games with 12 home runs and 47 RBI. He is second on the team in homers and third in RBI. Junior first baseman Cody Hawn leads the team with 13 home runs and 58 RBI this season. He is second on the team with a .319 batting average. Senior catcher Blake Forsythe also has 13 home runs and is second on the club with 53 RBI.

In SEC play, junior third baseman Matt Duffy leads the Volunteers on offense with a .366 (37-for-101) average in 26 games with a team-high 10 doubles, four home runs and 18 RBI. Polk is second on the team with a .353 (41-for-116) average in SEC play and paces the Volunteers with eight home runs and 24 RBI. Hawn has six home runs and 30 RBI in 27 games, while Forsythe has added six homers and 17 RBI in 27 SEC games.

On the mound, Tennessee has compiled a 30-23 record with a 5.88 ERA this season. The staff has worked 461 innings and allowed 325 runs (301 ER) and 496 hits with 365 strikeouts and 202 walks. Tennessee pitchers lead the SEC with 86 hit batters this season, an average of 1.65 per game. Tennessee also has an SEC-low four saves this season.

In SEC play, UT pitchers are 12-15 with three saves and a 7.01 ERA. The staff has worked 235 innings and allowed 193 runs (183 ER) and 294 hits with 178 strikeouts and 112 walks. 

The weekend rotation is expected to be senior RHP Stephen McCray, sophomore LHP Steven Gruver and junior LHP Bryan Morgado.

McCray is 6-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 13 starts this season. He also has UT's only complete games. McCray has worked 85 innings and allowed 28 runs (27 ER) and 70 hits with 60 strikeouts and 26 walks. In SEC play, he is 4-2 with a 3.73 ERA in nine starts. He has worked a team-high 60 2/3 innings and allowed 26 runs (25 ER) and 57 hits with 45 strikeouts and 21 walks. McCray held Auburn to three runs on nine hits in 7 1/3 innings in a 9-3 win on the Plains last weekend.

Gruver has posted a 4-4 record and 6.62 ERA in 11 starts this season. He has 53 innings and allowed 41 runs (39 ER) and 71 hits with 31 strikeouts and 20 walks. He is 2-4 with a 9.00 ERA in seven SEC starts this season. He has worked 30 innings and allowed 32 runs (30 ER) and 49 hits with 18 strikeouts and nine walks. He gave up nine runs and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings in last Saturday's 18-0 loss at Auburn.

Morgado is 2-7 with a 7.43 ERA in 13 starts this year. He has worked 66 2/3 innings and allowed 57 runs (55 ER) and 69 hits with 71 strikeouts and 33 walks. The lefty is 0-6 with an 8.59 ERA in nine SEC starts this season. He has logged 44 innings and allowed 44 runs (42 ER) and 54 hits with 42 strikeouts and 12 walks. He allowed four runs and two hits and walked three in 1 1/3 innings in last Sunday's 9-2 loss at Auburn.

The Volunteers have relied a number of arms out of the bullpen this season, including sophomore RHP Matt Ramsey (20 G, 4-1, 4.25 ERA), senior RHP Steve Crnkovich (22 G, 5-1, 5.73 ERA), sophomore LHP Will Locante (24 G, 1-1, 7.29 ERA) and freshman RHP Nick Blount (20 G, 2-2, 8.10 ERA) in 86 combined appearances.

Tennessee has been solid on defense this season with a .976 fielding mark and 53 double plays. UT is third in the league in fielding and first in double plays. In SEC play, the Volunteers are tied for fourth with a .976 fielding mark and first with 36 double plays.

NEXT GAME: Alabama and Tennessee meet in game two of this three-game SEC series on Friday, May 21, at 6 p.m. (CDT) from Lindsey-Nelson Stadium. The series finale is Saturday, May 22, at 12 p.m. (CDT).and will be televised by Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) and ESPN3.com.