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Tide Trio Leads McKinney to Texas Collegiate League Championship



Aug. 5, 2008

A trio of University of Alabama players helped the McKinney (Texas) Marshals to the 2008 Texas Collegiate League regular season championship with a 26-20 overall record.

The Marshals are the top seed in the TCL Playoffs, which begin tonight. The Marshals will face the Brazos Valley Bombers in game one of the best-of-three series in College Station, Texas. Games two and three (if necessary) will be played in McKinney on Wednesday, Aug. 6 and Thursday, Aug. 7. The McKinney-Brazos Valley winner will meet the Coppell-East Texas series winner for the TCL championship later this week.

Right-hander Jimmy Nelson was named the TCL Freshman of the Year after posting a 3-2 record and 2.55 ERA and a league-leading 66 strikeouts. Nelson made 11 appearances, including nine starts, and worked 49 1/3 innings and allowed 14 earned runs and 34 hits with 23 walks and 66 strikeouts. He held opponents to a .188 batting average and was also named to the TCL All-Star team. Nelson was also fourth in the TCL in innings pitched.

Left-hander Del Howell had a solid summer on the mound for the Marshals. In 14 games, Howell was 2-2 with four saves and 2.41 ERA. The Tuscaloosa native was third in the league in saves (4), third in the league in strikeouts (47) and fifth in ERA (2.41). Howell worked 33 2/3 innings and allowed nine earned runs and 23 hits, with 19 walks and 47 strikeouts. He held opponents to a .188 batting average and was named to the TCL All-Star team.

The Tide duo anchored the Marshals pitching staff that led the TCL in wins (26), innings pitched (406 2/3), strikeouts (402) and fewest home runs allowed (11).

Third baseman Jake Smith hit a team-leading .290 (36 for 124) with two home runs and 24 RBI in 36 games for the Marshals. Smith was third in the TCL in doubles (9), fourth in hitting (.290), fourth in slugging percentage (.411) and fifth in RBI (24). He was also named to the TCL All-Star team.