2006 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional
June 2-5, 2006
POST-GAME NOTES and QUOTES
University of Alabama
Head Coach Jim Wells
“We’re very happy to win. Some how, some way, we stayed in the game long enough for something to happen. The key to it was Kent Matthes being able to take curve balls in the dirt and get on to (Kody) Valverde to the plate.”
# 9 Kody Valverde, Catcher:
“We would have had to play two games tomorrow to come out of the loser’s bracket, so it was a big win for us. Now we’re in good shape for tomorrow as far as pitching-wise. We didn’t play our best tonight. We had a couple of errors and some timely hits we didn’t get in but it’s big for our pitchers and our whole team to be fresh tomorrow with an evening game.”
On pressure he may have felt with two outs & score tied in his 9th inning at bat when he hit the winning RBI: “I’m a veteran 5th year player, so you know I’ve been under pressure, in those type situations for a couple of years now, so it didn’t affect me too much. I guess I’m used to it. But we needed a big hit out of it. I didn’t want us to play extra innings. It’s more work on us. I would have had to catch some more innings and I didn’t want to do that so I just figured, let’s get it out of the way early.’ I got a good pitch to hit and I just hit it up the middle.”
# 3 Greg Paiml, Shortstop:
“It was a great game. Troy is such a good team. Getting some hits like that, especially the way Tommy (Hunter) pitched---it’s a great win.”
“We didn’t do as well on defense but we finally got some big hits when we needed them. And pitching was as good as it’s always been.”
On his homerun that tied the score at 3-3: “I was just looking for a pitch to hit and luckily I got a fastball and I got a good piece of it and it went out of the park.”
On Alabama’s chemistry: “We don’t have any superstars on our team. I think we just play real well as a team. Just the way we’ve been playing can only help us.”
#19 David Robertson, Pitcher:
“I came in a situation that was kind of tough and just tried to throw strikes and get people out so I could help give us a chance to win.
“There’s a little pressure in stepping into that situation but I’ve been doing it all year and Coach (Jim Wells) keeps putting me out there, so I guess I’m getting used to it. I just went out there and tried to do my best.”
Alabama is 43-19 following its 4-3 win against Troy. The Crimson Tide will play in the Tuscaloosa Regional championship game on Sunday, June 4 at 6:30 p.m. The Crimson Tide will face the winner of the Troy/Southern Miss game. Those two teams play an elimination game at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Senior catcher Kody Valverde (Baton Rouge) drove in the winning run with a two-out ninth inning single off Troy reliever Mike Felix. Valverde was 2-for-4 with two RBI and also added an RBI single in the fifth inning that gave the Tide a 2-1 lead. Today was his mother Sharon’s birthday and Valverde had quite a day. HIs grand slam against Jax State in the Tide’s opening round win came after midnight on Saturday morning, giving him three hits and six RBI on his mother’s birthday. Valverde is the UA co-leader with 57 RBI this year.
Alabama improved to 12-8 in one-run games this season following its 4-3 win over Troy. This was Alabama’s fifth walk-of win of the season.
The Crimson Tide made three errors in the game against Troy and has committed eight errors in its last three games. Junior SS Greg Paiml (Hoover) made two errors in the game. The three errors led to two unearned runs.
Junior CF Emeel Salem (Mountain Brook) had led off both games of the Tuscaloosa Regional with first inning singles. In the first inning this season, Salem is batting .500 (28-for-56) with 17 runs scored and eight walks. He has reached base in the first inning in 36 of 61 games. Salem was 2-for-5 in the game and scored the winning run in the ninth inning. He has 99 hits this season.
Senior third baseman Matt Downs (Centreville) set the Alabama single-season record with his 13th sacrifice bunt in the third inning. He eclipsed the previous record of 12 sac bunts held by Nate Duncan (1997) and Adam Pavkovich (2003).
Junior LF Brandon Belcher (Ruston, La.) recorded his third outfield assist of the 2006 season when he threw out Jared Keel at second base in the fourth inning. Alabama has 13 outfield assists this season, led by Salem with six outfield assists.
Sophomore RHP David Robertson (Tuscaloosa) gave up his first lead off single of the season when Troy’s Tom King singled off Robertson in the seventh inning. In 28 appearances this season, the first batter was 0-for-22 against Robertson before King’s base hit. Robertson earned his fourth win of the season with three innings of relief. After allowing the leadoff single to King in the seventh inning, he retired the next nine Troy batters in order, including three strikeouts.
Paiml tied the game with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the seventh inning off Troy reliever Mike Felix. It was Paiml’s first career post-season home run. Paiml has six career home runs, including a career-high three this season.
Head Coach Bobby Pierce
“That was a great college baseball game. That’s what you sign up for and that’s what the kids enjoy. It’s a tough loss for us, obviously. We’re going to have to battle back now. Our kids laid it on the line today like they always do. I thought we had opportunities to score and I have to credit Alabama’s pitching for making the pitches when they had to. I was really proud of our guys for putting ourselves in a position to win the game and that’s all you can ask.”
“Coming up short is really tough because you have a quick turnaround with tomorrow’s game. Tomorrow’s first game is the only one of importance when you look at the big picture. We have to take it one game at a time and maybe make it back to the championship game.”
#18 Josh Drew, 1B
On throwing error in 9th inning: “Salem is a fast runner so Tom (King) had to get rid of the ball quickly with it hit in the hole. It’s unfortunate that the throw was a little offline because Tom usually makes that play.”
#2 Edgar Ramirez, 2B
On Alabama pitcher David Robertson: “He has a really good fastball with good velocity and he just really brought it to us. He challenged us and did a great job just going after us. Unfortunately we didn’t get the runs we needed.”
On playing Southern Miss Sunday: “Southern Miss is a good baseball team and it will be a good game. Hopefully we’ll bring our best game and go right at them.”
Tom King’s two hits in the game give him 115 on the season, which leads the nation. King was held without a double for the fourth straight game and is still two doubles shy of the NCAA single-season record of 36.
King’s single off Alabama reliever David Robertson in the seventh inning was the first leadoff hitter to deliver a hit off Robertson in 28 appearances this season.
Troy suffered a walk-off loss for just the third time this season when Alabama’s Kody Valverde singled up the middle in the ninth for a 4-3 Alabama win. Troy lost at Auburn 5-4 on Feb. 21 in the bottom of the 10th on a single by Josh Stapleton in the 10th, and to Southern Miss on March 18, 3-2, on a single by Kevin Coker in the bottom of the 11th.
The loss snapped Troy’s 11-game winning streak. It was the second double-figure win streak of the season for the Trojans, who won 14 in a row from March 22 (an 8-5 win at Alabama) and April 15 (a 9-5 loss to Florida International).
With the 4-3 loss, the Trojans fall to 8-6 in one-run games this year.