2010 Alabama Baseball: Season Review

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July 22, 2010

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ALABAMA BASEBALL GAME NOTES
2010 SEASON REVIEW
FINAL RECORD: 42-25, 15-15 SEC
NCAA ATLANTA REGIONAL CHAMPIONS
NCAA SUPER REGIONAL

SEASON RECAP: Alabama (42-25, 15-15 SEC) made its 21st NCAA Regional appearance during the 2010 season and advanced to its third NCAA Super Regional, where it fell one game short of the College World Series.

After closing the regular season with five straight wins to qualify for the SEC Tournament, Alabama won three straight postseason games over Auburn, Mississippi and Florida to advance to the championship game. Seeking its eighth SEC Tournament title, Alabama fell to LSU 4-3 in 11 innings in a championship game that pitted the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds against one another for the first time in league history.

Following its strong showing in Hoover, Alabama carried its momentum to the NCAA Atlanta Regional, where the Tide would meet No. 8 national seed Georgia Tech, Elon and Mercer in the four-team tournament. After an easy win over Elon in the opener, the Tide fell to Georgia Tech in the winner’s bracket final. The Crimson Tide then reeled off three straight wins, including back-to-back wins over the Yellow Jackets to secure its seventh NCAA Regional championship and it’s first on the road since 1983.

Alabama remained on the road, where it would face Clemson in the NCAA Super Regional with the winner advancing to the College World Series. The Crimson Tide posted a 5-4 win in the series opener, putting itself one win from its first CWS appearance since 1999. Clemson rebounded with a 19-5 win in game two, scoring six runs in the first inning to set up a winner-take-all game three. The Tide grabbed 1-0 first inning lead, but quickly fell behind as the Tigers scored runs in each of the next three innings to take a 6-1 lead. Clemson added two more runs in the seventh for a seemingly comfortable 8-1 lead heading into the final inning. Alabama scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth and had runners and second and third with senior third baseman Jake Smith at the plate. Smith, who had homered in each of the first two games against Clemson, flied out to left-center field to end the game and the Crimson Tide’s magical postseason.

Alabama opened the season with an eight-game winning streak and matched the school record for the best record (16-1) after 17 games. Following one of the best starts in school history, the Tide hit a lull and dropped 14 of its next 20 games and was 22-15 on April 19. Alabama won five straight games in late April, before losing six of eight games following a 5-4 loss to Mississippi on May 14. With its back to the wall, Alabama closed the regular season with five straight wins. The Crimson Tide went 8-4 in the postseason to finish with 13 wins in its last 17 games.

Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas was named First-Team All-American by Baseball America to become the school’s 15th first team All American selection. Dugas and junior shortstop Josh Rutledge were First-Team All-SEC selections in 2010. Rutledge was also a semifinalist for the 2010 Brooks Wallace Award, presented annually to the top collegiate shortstop, while Smith and junior RHP Jimmy Nelson were named to the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year watch lists, respectively.

The Crimson Tide had seven players selected in the 2010 MLB Draft, including Nelson, Rutledge, junior shortstop Ross Wilson, Smith, sophomore RHP Tyler White, senior first baseman Clay Jones and junior RHP Jason Townsend.

FINAL RANKINGS: Alabama closed the season by winning 13 of its last 17 games and found itself ranked among the top 20 teams in the six major baseball polls. The Crimson Tide was 16th in the final rankings compiled by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and PING Baseball. Alabama finished 17th in the Rivals.com poll and 18th in the ESPN Coaches and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCWBA) rankings.

HEAD COACH Mitch Gaspard: Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard is 42-25 (.629) following his first season as the Crimson Tide’s head coach. He guided Alabama to the 2010 NCAA Atlanta Regional championship and tied Jim Wells’ school record for wins by a first-year head coach. Wells led the Tide to a 42-23 record in 1995. Overall, Gaspard has compiled a 253-155 (.621) record in seven seasons as a head coach. He was named the school’s 30th head coach on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009, replacing Wells, who retired after 15 seasons. Gaspard begins his 10th overall season with the Crimson Tide baseball program this spring, after serving two stints as an assistant coach under Wells from 1995-2001 and 2008-09, where he helped land some of the nation’s top recruiting classes. Gaspard spent six years as the head coach at Northwestern State, where he compiled a 211-128 (.622) record from 2002-07. He led the Demons to a pair of Southland Conference championships, one SLC Tournament title and a berth into the 2005 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.

GASPARD TIES ROOKIE WINS RECORD: With 42 wins this season, Coach Mitch Gaspard tied the Alabama record for most wins by a first-year head coach. Jim Wells also won 42 games, leading the Crimson Tide to 42-23 record in his first season in 1995. Gaspard is the first Alabama baseball coach to lead his team to an NCAA Regional championship in his first season. The first-year coach led the Crimson Tide to a 4-1 record at the 2010 NCAA Atlanta Regional, which included two wins over No. 8 Georgia Tech. Gaspard and Wells are the only two coaches in Alabama history to lead his team to the championship game of the SEC Tournament. The Crimson Tide defeated Auburn, Mississippi and Florida to reach this year’s championship game, before losing to LSU. Wells directed Alabama to the 1995 SEC Western Division Tournament championship with four wins in its final at-bat against LSU, Mississippi State, Arkansas and LSU.

ALABAMA COACHING DEBUTS: Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard enjoyed a successful debut on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010 as the Crimson Tide beat South Alabama 12-4. Alabama head coaches are 19-11 in their coaching debuts. Four of the last five UA coaches have had successful debuts, including Joe Sewell (1964), Barry Shollenberger (1980), Jim Wells (1995) and Gaspard (2010). The Crimson Tide posted a 20-3 win over Massey’s Business College in Joseph Black’s head coaching debut in 1898. The win over Massey’s Business College are the most runs scored and is the most lopsided win by a coach in his UA debut.

ALABAMA SEC COACHING DEBUTS: Gaspard also enjoyed a successful SEC debut, leading the Crimson Tide to a 4-1 win over No. 16 Vanderbilt on March 19, 2010, at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Gaspard is one of only four UA coaches to win his SEC coaching debut, joining Tilden “Happy” Campbell, Barry Shollenberger and Jim Wells.

GASPARD POSTS THIRD-BEST START FOR ROOKIE COACH: Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard led the Crimson Tide to an 8-0 start in 2010, the third-best start by a first-year coach in school history. Only Kid Peeples (10-0, 1897) and Wallace Wade (9-0, 1924) led their first UA squads to better starts. In addition, the Crimson Tide’s 8-0 start equaled the sixth-best record to open as season in school history. The 1924 team owns the fifth best start with a 9-0 record. Four teams (1897, 1988, 1998 and 2002) opened the season with 10 wins. The school record is 15 straight wins held by the 1997 team.

ALABAMA SETS SINGLE-SEASON FIELDING MARK: Alabama posted a school record .977 fielding mark during the 2010 season, eclipsing the previous mark of .971 set in 1996 and 2009. The previous 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. The Crimson Tide committed 56 errors in 2010 and played 29 errorless games. Alabama was 24-5 in those games in which they did not make an error. The Tide played 12 errorless SEC games and went 10-2 in those games. Alabama played two errorless SEC series in 2010 against Mississippi State (April 23-25) and Tennessee (May 20-22). Alabama closed the regular season with six straight errorless road games, including five in a row in SEC play.

TOURNAMENT TESTED: Alabama recorded 26 wins and played 45 games against teams in the 2010 NCAA Baseball Tournament this season. The Crimson Tide compiled a 26-19 (.578) slate and recorded key series wins against Auburn, College of Charleston, Minnesota, Mississippi and Vanderbilt. The complete list of opponents to make this year’s tournament field includes Arkansas (0-3), Auburn (3-2), Elon (1-0), College of Charleston (2-1), Florida (2-2), Georgia Tech (2-1), Jacksonville State (2-0), LSU (0-4), Mercer (1-0), Minnesota (2-0), Mississippi (3-1), South Carolina (1-2), Stony Brook (4-0) and Vanderbilt (2-1). Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley), LSU (SEC), Minnesota (Big 10) and Stony Brook (America East) were all automatic qualifiers.

*Alabama played seven games against the 2010 College World Series field and posted a 3-4 record against South Carolina (1-2) and Florida (2-2).

*Alabama compiled a 4-3 record in 2010 against the top eight national seeds. The Crimson Tide was 2-1 against No. 8 Georgia Tech and posted a 2-2 mark against No. 3 seed Florida.

*Alabama played 14 games during the 2010 against teams that advanced to NCAA Super Regional. The list includes Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Alabama went 6-8 against those four teams.

*Alabama was one of five SEC teams to advance to the 2010 NCAA Super Regional. Joining Alabama were Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The five Super Regional teams were the most by any conference. The ACC had four teams, including Clemson, Florida State, Miami and Virginia. The SEC and ACC accounted for nine of the 16 teams in Super Regional play.

*Alabama was one of four teams to have its football team finish in the top 10 in the final polls and have its baseball team playing in the NCAA Super Regional. The Crimson Tide football team 14-0 this past season and won the BCS National Championship under head Nick Saban. Alabama beat Texas 37-21 in the BCS Championship Game in Pasadena. The other three teams to finish in the top 10 in football and send a team to the 2010 NCAA Super Regional were Florida, TCU and Texas. 

2010 POSTSEASON NOTEBOOK: Alabama posted an 8-4 record in its 12 postseason games in 2010 … the Crimson Tide hit .289 (121-for-418) in the postseason with 13 home runs and 70 RBI and averaged 6.1 runs and 10.1 hits per game … Wilson was the Crimson Tide’s leading hitter with .415 (17-for-41) batting average with two home runs and nine RBI … he was second on the team with 17 hits and third with 10 runs scored in the postseason … Smith (.320, 4 HR, 15 RBI) led the Crimson Tide in home runs and RBI in the postseason … Dugas (.360, HR, 5 RBI) and Rutledge (.346, 2 HR, 10 RBI) led Alabama with 18 hits and 14 runs in 12 postseason games … the UA pitching staff went 8-4 with three complete games, three saves and 4.96 ERA during the postseason … junior right-handers Nathan Kilcrease (4 G, 3 GS, 3-1, 4.10 ERA) and Jimmy Nelson (4 G, 3 GS, 2-1, 3.86 ERA) and sophomore left-hander Adam Morgan (3 GS, 2-1, 5.40 ERA) combined for seven of the eight wins … Morgan (2) and Nelson (1) accounted for the three complete games in the postseason … Kilcrease logged a team-best 23 1/3 innings … he and Nelson led the team with 17 strikeouts … Smith was 0-1 with three saves and 1.17 ERA in four relief appearances in the postseason … freshman right-hander Tucker Hawley also had an exceptional postseason for the Tide … he was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four appearances … he worked 13 innings and allowed four runs on 15 hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks … Alabama fielded .974 (11 errors) in its 12 postseason games and played six errorless games.

2010 ATLANTA REGIONAL NOTEBOOK:  Alabama went 4-1 at the 2010 Atlanta Regional with a wins over Elon (11-2), Mercer (5-3) and Georgia Tech (8-1 and 10-8) ... the Crimson Tide won its seventh NCAA Regional on June 7, 2010, with a 10-8 win over No. 8 Georgia Tech ... Alabama hit .314 (55-for-175) in the tournament with nine home runs and 36 RBI ... the Crimson Tide scored 36 runs and swatted seven doubles ... Alabama has scored 27 of its 36 runs in the first four innings ... Rutledge led the Tide with a .455 (10-for-22) with two home runs and eight RBI in five games ... he also led the Tide with eight runs scored ... he was 7-for-10 against Elon (4-for-5) and Georgia Tech (3-for-5) in his first two games of the regional ...Wilson was the second-leading hitter with a .444 (8-for-18) average with one home run, four RBI and six runs scored ... he was 3-for-3 with a two-run home run and scored two runs in the 8-1 win over Georgia Tech on June 6 ... Smith hit .381 (8-for-21) with two home runs and eight RBI and Jones hit .294 (5-for-17) with two home runs and seven RBI ... on the mound, the Tide went 4-1 with one complete game, one save and a 3.68 ERA in Atlanta ... the staff worked 44 innings and allowed 19 runs (18 ER) on 48 hits with 39 strikeouts and 12 walks ... Kilcrease posted a 2-0 record and a 2.08 ERA in wins over Elon and No. 8 Georgia Tech ... he pitched six innings in relief against the Yellow Jackets in the championship game and allowed two runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts and two walks ... he limited Elon to one run on three hits in seven innings in the Tide’s opening round win ... Morgan tossed the first nine-inning complete game of his career against Georgia Tech (9 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) on June 6 ... Hawley was 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his two relief appearances (6.2 IP,  6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) against Elon and Mercer ... he earned his second career win and first postseason victory against Mercer on June 6 .. Alabama made five errors in the regional, including three in the loss to Georgia Tech on June 5 ... the Tide played three straight errorless games against Mercer and Georgia Tech (June 6-7).

2010 SEC TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOK: Alabama posted a 3-1 record at the 2010 SEC Tournament and played in its eighth championship game. ... the Crimson Tide lost to LSU 4-3 in 11 innings in the championship game, which was played in front of 13,327 fans ... Alabama defeated No. 14 Auburn (7-1), No. 21 Mississippi (6-3) and No. 4 Florida (5-2) to advance to its eighth championship game ... the Crimson Tide overcame a 3-0 deficit against the Tigers with single runs in the fourth, seventh and eighth innings to force extra innings ... LSU won the game on Tyler Hanover’s two-out RBI single in the top of the 11th inning ... the game had two rain delays that totaled two hours and 27 minutes ... there was an 80-minute rain delay at the end of the fourth inning and a 67-minute delay in the middle of the ninth ... the Alabama pitching staff was the story in Hoover with two complete games and 2.50 ERA in the four-game tournament ... the staff worked 36 innings and allowed 10 earned runs and 32 hits with 24 strikeouts and only four walks ... all four walks came in the championship game against LSU ... Nelson set the tone in the opener with a complete-game, five-hitter against the SEC Western Division champion Auburn Tigers ... he held the SEC’s top-rated offense to one run and struck out six for his third straight complete game ... Kilcrease pitched into the ninth inning in the Tide’s 6-3 win over Mississippi on May 27 ... Kilcrease allowed three runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and no walks in 8 1/3 innings ... Morgan tossed a seven-inning complete game in the semifinal win over No. 4 Florida ... he allowed two runs on six hits with five strikeouts and no walks ... the Crimson Tide bullpen allowed one run in nine innings in the championship game against LSU ... Hawley threw four scoreless innings and Nelson, making his first relief appearance of the year, added two scoreless innings ... Smith pitched the final three innings and allowed one run on five hits ... Alabama hit .284 (38 -for-134) in the tournament with seven extra base hits and 21 RBI ... the Tide averaged 5.25 runs and 9.5 hits per game ... Wilson was the leading hitter with a .455 (5-for-11) average with three runs scored and two RBI ... the Crimson Tide hit .360 (18-for-50) and scored 13 of its 21 runs in the tournament with two outs ... Alabama fielded .978 in the four-game tournament and made only three errors.

2010 SEC REVIEW: Alabama finished 15-15 in SEC play this season and earned the No. 7 seed at the 2010 SEC Tournament at Regions Park in Hoover. The Crimson Tide won three of its last five series in the second half of the season and compiled a 10-5 record in its last 15 league games, with series wins over Mississippi State (3-0), No. 14 Mississippi (2-1) and Tennessee (3-0).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 hit .290 (307-for-1,060) in conference play with 30 home runs and 175 RBI this season. Dugas led Alabama with a .407 (44-for-108) batting average in league play and a .545 on-base percentage. He has reached base safely 79 times via hit (44), walk (27) or hit by pitch (8) this season. Rutledge batted .353 (49-for-139) with five home runs and 33 RBI this season. He hit safely in 29 of 30 SEC games this season, including a 21-game hitting streak in league play.

On the mound, the Tide went 15-15 with a 6.09 ERA. The Tide has been outscored 201-195 in the 30 SEC games. Nelson and Morgan have started all 10 SEC series and were a combined 7-6 in 20 starts in league play. Kilcrease, who started the in each of the last three series against No. 3 Florida, No. 14 Mississippi and Tennessee, went 3-2 with a 3.04 ERA in 16 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 league-best .979 fielding percentage in SEC play with 23 errors and 21 double plays in 30 games.

2010 NON-SEC REVIEW: 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.

RANKED TEAMS: Alabama played 31 games against ranked teams in 2010 and compiled a 14-17 (.452) record. The Crimson Tide went 5-4 record against ranked teams at home and has posted a 5-11 mark away from home, including three postseason wins over Georgia Tech and Clemson. The Tide was 4-2 against top-25 teams at neutral sites. Alabama had series wins over College of Charleston, Vanderbilt and Mississippi and won three straight SEC Tournament games over No. 14 Auburn, No. 21 Mississippi and No. 4 Florida. Alabama also won two games against No. 8 Georgia Tech to capture the 2010 Atlanta Regional and won one game against No. 14 Clemson in the Super Regional.

COMEBACK WINS: Alabama had 17 come-from-behind wins during the 2010 season, including nine in SEC play. The most improbable of the 14 comeback victories came against Kentucky on April 11. The Crimson Tide trailed 9-0 after five innings, but outscored the Wildcats 11-0 over the final four innings for an 11-9 win. Alabama scored five times in the fifth inning, highlighted by senior third baseman Jake Smith’s fourth career grand slam. The Crimson Tide added five runs in the eighth inning to take a 10-9 lead and then put an insurance run on the board in the ninth inning. Smith was 3-for-5 with three runs scored, one home run and four RBI in the win. The nine-run comeback is the largest verifiable rally in Alabama history. Alabama has erased three eight-run deficits in recent history, including two against Arkansas in 1999 and one against South Carolina in 2007. In 1999, Alabama trailed 8-0 in back-to-back games against Arkansas but rallied for the win both times. On April 24, 1999, Alabama trailed Arkansas 8-0 in the sixth inning before posting a 15-8 win. The next day (April 25, 1999), Alabama found itself down 8-0 in the sixth before winning 9-8. On April 29, 2007, Alabama trailed South Carolina 10-2 in the third inning but won the game 11-10 on Alex Avila’s three-run home run in the eighth inning. In addition, two of those wins came against Mississippi State on Sunday, April 25 when the Tide swept a doubleheader with a pair of last at-bat wins.

2010 Comeback Wins
*at South Alabama (Feb. 21) - South Alabama took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning before the Tide responded with three runs in the eighth inning to gain its first lead of the day. Jon Kelton’s two-out double provided the game-winner.

*Illinois-Chicago (Feb. 26) - Wilson singled on the 12th pitch of his at-bat in the sixth inning and eventually scored the tying run as UA erased a 1-0 deficit to the Flames. Alabama snapped the 1-1 tie with three runs in the seventh and tacked on five runs in the eighth for the 9-4 win.

*Minnesota (March 17) - Rutledge’s one-out single in the bottom of the ninth scored pinch-runner Cal Tinsley as the Crimson Tide overcame three deficits for a 5-4 win over Minnesota. Brett Whitaker’s pinch-hit single scored Kelton with the tying run.

*Minnesota (March 18) - Alabama scored five runs in the eighth inning en route to a 9-4 win over Minnesota. The Crimson Tide trailed 3-0 in the fourth inning and 4-2 in the sixth before mounting its second straight comeback.

*Auburn (April 2) - The Tide fell behind 1-0 in the second inning before scoring five runs on six hits in the bottom of the third inning to take a 5-1 lead en route to a 10-5 win.

*Auburn (April 3) - The Crimson Tide erased a four-run deficit in the third inning to post a 6-5 series-clinching win. Trailing 4-0 in the third inning, Alabama scored three times in the bottom of the inning on Wilson’s sixth home run of the year. Alabama added three more runs in the seventh when Smith drew a bases-loaded walk and Kelton drove in two runs with a two-out single.

*at Kentucky (April 11) - Trailing 9-0 in the sixth, Alabama scored five runs, highlighted by Smith’s fourth career grand slam, to pull to within 9-5. The Crimson Tide scored five more runs in the eighth, capped by Rutledge’s two-out, two-run single that gave Alabama its first lead at 10-9. Alabama tacked on an insurance run in the ninth for the 11-9 win.

*Mississippi State (April 25 - Game 1) - Alabama recorded its second-largest comeback win of the season to beat Mississippi State 9-8 in extra innings in game one of an SEC doubleheader. The Crimson Tide erased a seven-run deficit and scored eight runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take an 8-7 lead. Smith’s second grand slam of the season cut the lead to 7-4. Rutledge added an RBI single and Wilson followed with a three-run home run to give the Tide the lead. MSU tied the game in the sixth inning before Alabama won it in the bottom of the eighth. Andrew Miller ripped a one-out double down the right field line and scored on Brock Bennett’s game-winning single to center.

*Mississippi State (April 25 - Game 2) - Alabama scored five times in the bottom of the sixth inning en route to a 6-4 win over Mississippi and complete a doubleheader sweep of MSU. The Tide trailed 4-1 entering the sixth inning, but scored five runs on five hits for the win. Jones drove in the first run and RBI single. Smith followed with a single to put runners at first and second with one out. A pair of wild pitches by MSU starter Luke Bole allowed Jones to score and send Smith to third base. Whitaker and Miller drew walks to load the bases, before Trey Johnson struck out Kelton for the second out. Bennett then lined a two-out single to center to score Smith and pinch-runner Matt Taylor to give the Tide a 5-4 lead. Dugas followed with an RBI single to center to give the Tide a key insurance run and a 6-4 lead.

*Mississippi Valley State (April 27) - After spotting Mississippi Valley State a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Alabama scored single runs in the second and fifth innings to take a 2-1 lead. Clay Jones tied the game with a solo home run in the second inning and the Tide scored the go-ahead run in the fifth. Rutledge and Wilson reached on consecutive errors before Rutledge scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. Alabama added three insurance runs in the seventh inning for the 5-1 win. Kelton had an RBI single and Miller added a two-run single in the decisive inning.

*Florida (May 9) - After falling behind 1-0 in the second inning, Alabama scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning to take its first lead of the series, and then snapped a 6-6 tie with three runs in the bottom of the fifth en route to a 10-8 win over the Gators in the series finale. Rutledge had a career-high six RBI for the Crimson Tide, including a go-head three-run home run in the second inning. Dugas drew a bases-loaded walk in the decisive fifth inning.

*Mississippi (May 16) - Alabama scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to post a 6-3 come-from-behind win over Mississippi on May 16. Freshman left fielder Brett Booth started the rally with a one-out triple and scored the tying run on Miller’s double. Rutledge knocked in the winning run with a base hit and Wilson padded the lead with an RBI single.

*Tennessee (May 21) - Smith hit a game-winning, two-run home run in the 11th inning to give the Tide a 4-2 win at Tennessee and clinch the team’s sixth straight SEC Tournament appearance. The Crimson Tide fell behind 1-0 in the third inning when Josh Liles stroked a leadoff double and came around to score on two infield ground outs. Alabama tied the game at 1-1 with back-to-back doubles by Kelton and Miller in the fifth inning. UA took a 2-1 lead in the eighth on Rutledge’s RBI single, but Tennessee forced extra innings on Cody Hawn’s solo home run in the ninth.

*Tennessee (May 22) - After building a 6-2 lead, Alabama watched Tennessee scored five runs in the sixth inning to take a 7-6 lead. The Vols took advantage of three walks in the inning, including one with the bases loaded to get back in the game. P.J. Polk’s bases-loaded triple put the Vols ahead. Alabama answered with three runs in the eighth inning. Miller and Cody Trotter stroked one-out singles and pinch-hitter David Kindred walked to load the bases. Dugas was hit by a pitch to force home a run and Rutledge’s sac fly put the Tide up by a run. Wilson capped the inning with an RBI single to give UA a 9-7 lead.

*Auburn (May 25) - Miller’s two-run single in the fourth inning gave the Tide a 2-1 lead and the Tide added five more runs over the final three innings for a 7-1 win in the opening round of the SEC Tournament. Auburn had taken a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a pair of sacrifice bunts.

*Mercer (June 6) - Smith hit a game-tying home run to spark a four-run third inning en route to a 5-3 win over the Mercer Bears. Smith’s home run tied the game at 1-1 and Cody Trotter later added a go-ahead two-run single as the Tide eliminated the Bears from the Atlanta Regional.

*Georgia Tech (June 7) - Georgia Tech hit a pair of two-run home runs in the first inning and took a 6-3 lead into the fourth inning before Jones’ three-run home run gave the Tide an 8-6 lead. Tech tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of runs. Alabama scored two runs in the sixth inning and held on for a 10-8 win to capture the 2010 NCAA Atlanta Regional.

ALABAMA EQUALS BEST START: Alabama opened the season with a 16-1 record, tying the 1997 team for the best start in school history. The Crimson Tide won its first eight games this season before suffering a 7-6 loss at College of Charleston on March 7. Alabama followed that loss with another eight-game winning streak to run its overall record to 16-1 and match the 1997 College World Series runner-up squad for the best start. The 1997 team opened the year with a school-record 15-game winning streak. During its first 17 games this season, Alabama hit 326 (182-for-559) with 16 home runs and 132 RBI. The Tide averaged 8.6 runs and 10.7 hits per game. The Crimson Tide had three players hit .400 or better in the first 17 games, including Dugas (.448, 19 R, 16 BB, 9 RBI), Bennett (14 G, .423, HR, 5 RBI) and Kelton (14 G, .407, 10 R, 9 BB, 9 RBI). The pitching staff went 16-1 with five saves and a 3.05 ERA. The Tide threw two shutouts against Illinois-Chicago (Feb. 27) and College of Charleston (March 6). Nelson was 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA and two shutouts in his first five starts. He had 31 strikeouts and eight walks. Alabama also played exceptional defense as the Tide recorded a .980 fielding mark (13 errors) in the first 17 games.

WINNING STREAKS: Alabama has had four winning streaks of five or more games during the 2010 season, including an eight-game winning streak that was snapped at the SEC Tournament. Alabama opened the season with an eight-game winning streak, and following a 7-6 loss at the College of Charleston on March 7, reeled off a second eight-game winning streak from March 12-20.

During its season opening eight-game winning streak, Alabama hit .335 (90-for-269) with six home runs and 68 RBI. The Tide averaged 9.8 runs and 11.3 hits per game. Dugas (.407, 10 R, 7 RBI), Jones (.400, 4 HR, 15 RBI) and Rutledge (.333, HR, 10 RBI) were a combined 34-for-90 (.378) with 33 runs scored, five home runs and 32 RBI.

The pitching staff had eight wins, two saves and a 2.44 ERA during the winning streak. UA pitchers worked 72 innings and recorded 83 strikeouts, while holding opponents to 2.4 runs and 7.2 hits per game. Nelson was 2-0 with a team-best 1.12 ERA, with 19 strikeouts and one walk.

During its second eight-game winning streak (March 13-20), Alabama hit .319 (81-for-254) with eight home runs and 58 RBI. The Tide averaged 7.9 runs and 10.2 hits per game. 

Rutledge hit a team-best .455 (15-for-33) during the streak with five doubles, nine RBI and 10 runs scored. Dugas was the second-leading hitter with a .444 (12-for-27) average with nine runs scored, four doubles and two RBI. Jones hit .407 (11-for-27) with five extra base hits, five runs scored and nine RBI.

The pitching staff had eight wins, three saves and 3.25 ERA during the eight-game winning streak. The eight wins came from seven different pitchers. Nelson (2 GS, 2-0, 1.42 ERA) was the only pitcher with multiple wins during the streak. The staff worked 72 innings and held opponents to a .260 batting average.

Alabama’s third eight-game winning streak of the season ended a 4-3 loss in 11 innings to LSU in the SEC Championship Game. The pitching staff was the story during the streak. In eight games, the pitching staff went 8-0 with a 2.62 ERA (72 IP, 50 H, 22 R, 21 ER, 16 BB, 49 K) and held opponents to a .193 batting average. The Tide also had five complete games and two saves. The starting pitching was even more impressive during the eight-game winning streak. UA starters were 5-0 with four complete games and a 2.20 ERA (65.1 IP, 47 H, 17 R, 16 ER, 9 BB, 46 K) and held opponents to a .199 batting average. Nelson was 3-0 with 1.29 ERA (27 IP, 17 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 25 K) and three complete games in his last three starts. He held opponents to a .179 batting average. Kilcrease is 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA (26.1 IP, 20 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 14 K) with one complete game in his last three starts. Morgan tossed his second career complete game (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) against No. 4 Florida in the SEC Tournament semifinal on May 28.

On offense, Alabama hit .276 (72-for-261) with four home runs and 48 RBI and averaged 6.0 runs and 9.5 hits per game. Rutledge led the team with 11 RBI, while Smith added 10 RBI. Smith also had two of the four homers. Alabama committed only five errors during the eight-game winning streak and played an errorless series at Tennessee (May 20-22) to close out the regular season.

Alabama also had a five-game winning streak this season. UA won five in a row from April 23-28, including a three-game sweep of Mississippi State and a two-game midweek sweep of Mississippi Valley State. Alabama hit .290 (45-for-155) during the streak and averaged seven runs and nine hits per game. The Tide also slugged eight home runs. Wilson was the leading hitter with a .467 (7-for-15) average with six runs scored, one home run and five RBI.  Jones hit .400 (6-for-15) and led the team with three home runs and also added five RBI. Smith hit two homers and led UA with seven RBI in five games.

The pitching staff had a 5-0 record and 4.71 ERA with two saves during the streak. They held the opposition to just over four runs per game and recorded 45 strikeouts in 42 innings. Kilcrease was 1-0 with one save and 1.35 ERA in his three appearances on the mound.

HOME SUCCESS: Alabama posted a 23-7 record at home during the 2010 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) combined for eight wins in 16 home starts. Smith did not allow an earned run in his five home relief appearances in 2010. He recorded 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Kilcrease (4-0, 2.68 ERA, 2 SV) 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.

The Crimson Tide has won 33 of the 43 home series against SEC Eastern Division teams since 1995. Alabama 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 series wins over South Carolina and Georg1a 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 has won 27 of its 38 home series against Western Division teams since 1995. The Tide has won 10 of its last 12 home series against SEC Western Division teams, dating back to 2006. The Tide won all three home series against Western Division teams in 2010, taking two of three from Auburn (April 2-4) and Mississippi (May 14-16) and sweeping Mississippi State (April 23-25). Dating back to 2005, Alabama has won 24 of its last 29 SEC home series. 

ALABAMA TIES NCAA RECORD: Alabama tied an NCAA and SEC record and set the single-game school record with six sacrifice bunts in its 10-4 win over Jacksonville State on April 7. Dugas tied the individual school record with two sacrifice bunts, while Kelton, Rutledge, Trotter and Bennett had one each. The six sacrifice bunts ties the NCAA record held by five other schools. Alabama also tied the SEC record with six sac bunts. South Carolina also had five sac bunts against Arkansas on March 8, 2004. Alabama broke the school record, previously set against Vanderbilt on March 26, 2005.

JONES TIES SCHOOL RECORD FOR WALKS: Alabama senior first baseman Clay Jones tied the single-game school record with four walks in the Crimson Tide’s 10-5 win at SE Louisiana on April 14. The record is shared by many players with Kody Valverde being the last UA player to draw four walks in a game against Mississippi on March 26, 2006.

JONES SETS PUTOUT MARK: Jones set the Alabama single-game record with 18 putouts at LSU on April 18. The previous record was 17 putouts held by four different players, including catchers Dax Norris, David Ferazza and Kody Valverde and first baseman Kyle Bryan. Jones had 18 putouts in the Tide’s 6-5, 14-inning loss in Baton Rouge. Bryan held the previous record for a first baseman with 17 putouts against Southern Mississippi on Feb. 21, 1985. Norris, Ferraza and Valverde own the record for most putouts by a catcher with 17. Norris had 17 putouts against Murray State on March 12, 1996. Ferazza tied the record with 17 putouts against Morehead State on March 24, 2004. Valverde put his name in the record book with 17 putouts against McNeese State on March 4, 2005. Aaron Clark holds the single-game record for putouts by an outfielder with 12 against Tennessee on April 9, 2000.

OUTFIELD ASSISTS: Alabama had 16 outfield assists during the 2010 season. The 16 assists were recorded by seven different players. Dugas led the team with five outfield assists. Miller was second with four outfield assists and Booth added three. Dugas and Miller combined for three outfield assists in the NCAA Atlanta Regional, including one each in the Tide’s 5-2 loss to No. 8 Georgia Tech on June 5. Booth tied the UA single-game record with two assists in the Tide’s 6-2 win at College of Charleston on March 5, when he threw out one runner at home and one at third base. He shares the record with G.W. Keller (vs. Southern Cal, 1997), Chad White (at LSU, 2002) and Gabe Scott (at Mississippi, 2004). Alabama outfielders have thrown out seven runners at home plate, two at second base and two runners at third base. In addition, nine of the 11 outfield assists have ended innings.

2010 HONORS AND AWARDS: Here is a listing of the honors and awards accumulated by the Crimson Tide baseball team during the 2010 season.

2010 ALL-AMERICAN
Taylor Dugas (Baseball America, First Team)

2010 ALL-SEC
Taylor Dugas (First Team)
Josh Rutledge (First Team)
Jake Smith (All-Defensive Team)
Andrew Miller (All-Freshman Team)

2010 NCAA ATLANTA ALL-REGIONAL TEAM
Nathan Kilcrease (MVP)
Taylor Dugas
Josh Rutledge
Jake Smith
Ross Wilson

2010 SEC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Brock Bennett
Jimmy Nelson
Jake Smith

UA COACHING STAFF PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Taylor Dugas and Adam Morgan (Feb. 22)
Brock Bennett and Jimmy Nelson (March 1)
Josh Rutledge and Taylor Wolfe (March 8)
Ross Wilson and Tyler White (March 15)
Brock Bennett and David Head (March 22)
Jon Kelton and Jimmy Nelson (March 29)
Taylor Dugas and Jason Townsend (April 5)
David Kindred and Nathan Kilcrease (April 11)
Taylor Dugas and Tucker Hawley (April 18)
Brock Bennett, Nathan Kilcrease, Josh Rutledge and Jonathan Smart (April 25)
Clay Jones, David Kindred, Adam Morgan and Jake Smith (May 3)
Josh Rutledge and Nathan Kilcrease (May 10)
Jimmy Nelson and Nathan Kilcrease (May 17)
Jon Kelton, Nathan Kilcrease, Jimmy Nelson and Jake Smith (May 24)

SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ross Wilson (March 15)
Jake Smith (May 24)

COLLEGE BASEBALL 360.COM PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Josh Rutledge (March 8)
Adam Morgan (March 22)
Jimmy Nelson (May 17)
Jake Smith (May 24)
Jake Smith (June 8)

SEC GOOD WORKS TEAM
Adam Scott

SEC ACADEMIC HONOR ROLL
Danny Collins (Undecided)
Taylor Dugas (Human Performance - HPES)
Tucker Hawley (Undecided)
Brandt Hendricks (HPES)
Clay Jones (HPES)
Jon Kelton (Economics)
David Kindred (Management)
Jimmy Nelson (HPES)
Josh Rutledge (Marketing)
Chris Smelley (Finance)
John David Smelser (HPES)
Cal Tinlsey (HPES)
Jason Townsend (Management)
Brett Whitaker (HPES)
Adam Windsor (Undecided)

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

     
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