TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Baseball team (3-0, 0-0 SEC) hosts its second out-of-conference team of the season when the Alabama State Hornets (3-0, 0-0 SWAC) come to Tuscaloosa for a midweek contest on Tuesday, February 22. The first pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
ON THE RADIO
The baseball game between Alabama and Alabama State can be heard on the radio on WFFN-FM (95.3) and WTSK-AM 790 in Tuscaloosa and WJOX-FM (94.5) and WJOX-AM (690) in Birmingham. Mick Gillispie will call the action on Tuesday from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
Alabama State comes in Tuscaloosa sporting a 3-0 overall record after beating Tuskegee University, 9-5, on Friday and winning both games of a doubleheader against Clark University, by a total score of 33-2. ASU won the first game of the day 19-0, then defeated Clark 14-2 in the nightcap. As a team, ASU posted a .364 batting average over the weekend, with 36 total hits, including seven doubles and a pair of home runs. The Hornets were paced by Ronald James, who was 5-for-6 (.833) on the weekend with a home run and five RBI. Senior catcher Jourdan Mott kicked off the 2011 season with a fine game against Tuskegee, stringing together three hits and three RBIs in the season opener. Mott finished the weekend 4-for-6 (.667) overall. Darrion Pedro was 5-for-10 (.500) with two doubles and four RBI in the three games, which included a 3-for-4, four RBI performance in game two of the doubleheader. The Hornets' pitching staff held their opponents to a .221 average for the weekend, while allowing seven runs, just three earned, in 23.0 innings. Last season Alabama State collected a 13-28 (6-20 SWAC) record, and returns 25 letterwinners for 2011. Returners of note include sophomore All-SWAC pitcher Anthony Ricciardi, who led the Hornets last season with a 5.37 ERA in 11 starts, sophomore outfielder Kejuan Riley returns his 308 average and his 11 RBIs, and senior first baseman Ron James (.281, team-leading five home runs and 30 RBI).
SERIES HISTORY VS. ALABAMA STATE
Alabama and Alabama State have only played five times and the Crimson Tide has won all five of the contests. The two teams first met in 1983, but have not played since 1988 in Tuscaloosa, where Alabama won 12-2. Four of the games have been played in Tuscaloosa: The Tide won 10-4 in the first game in 1983, 6-1 in 1985, 10-1 in 1987, and the final one in 1988. Alabama won the only matchup hosted by ASU in Montgomery, Ala., 13-4 in 1985.
ALABAMA STATE HEAD COACH LARRY WATKINS
Larry Watkins is in his 30th season with the Hornets with a career record of 506-725, all with Alabama State. The Hornets are 3-0 this season under Watkins. He was the coach for all five games against Alabama in the 1980s, making his career record against the Tide 0-5.
LOOKING BACK AT LAST WEEK
The University of Alabama swept the Alcorn State Braves on the opening weekend of the 2011 season. Alabama opened the series with an 11-0 win on Friday, followed by a 5-1 victory Saturday, and capped the sweep with a convincing 8-1 win on Sunday. The Crimson Tide allowed Alcorn State two runs in the series, one earned, and held the Braves to a .196 (18-for-92) batting average. Alabama outscored Alcorn State 24-2 in the series and out-hit the Braves 27-18 overall. Alabama's starting pitching earned the win in all three games, as Adam Morgan was the winner on Friday, Nathan Kilcrease on Saturday and Tucker Hawley on Sunday. Morgan allowed just one hit in 5.1 innings with six strikeouts. Kilcrease tied a career-high with eight strikeouts in 6.0 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits. Hawley pitched into the sixth inning, allowing one unearned run on six hits with five strikeouts. Offensively, Alabama hit .297 for the series, while posting a .440 slugging percentage. The Tide had 27 hits, 12 walks, 10 doubles and one home run. Junior shortstop Jared Reaves, who was in his first weekend with the Tide, hit .636 with an .818 slugging percentage, five runs scored and three RBI. Fellow newcomer Josh Rosecrans was 4-for-11 in the series for a .364 average while knocking in three runs. Preseason All-American Taylor Dugas hit the only home run in the series, when he led off game two with a line shot over the fence in right. Dugas was 2-for-9 (.222) but had a .556 on-base percentage for the series.
REAVES IMPRESSES IN BAMA DEBUT
Junior shortstop Jared Reaves helped Alabama to three straight wins over Alcorn State to open the season, posting a .636 batting average with no errors in his Crimson Tide debut. Reaves made 13 plate appearances and was on base nine times, for a .692 on-base percentage. He also had two doubles in the series, both coming in game two, had an .818 slugging percentage, scored five runs and had three RBI. He made his debut at Alabama on Friday with a 2-for-4 day with three runs scored and reached base three times in the game with one hit-by-pitch. He had a career-high three hits and reached base in all four plate appearance in game two of the series. In the series finale, he was 2-for-4 and had a stolen base. Defensively, he made all 13 chances as the starting shortstop for the Tide.
MORGAN GETS TIDE OFF TO A GOOD START
Alabama junior pitcher Adam Morgan got the start for the 2011 season opener and did not disappoint. He threw 5.1 innings before leaving the game for pitch-count reasons, allowing just one hit, which came in the fifth inning. After opening the game with a walk, Morgan retired 13 straight hitters before a leadoff infield single in the fifth. He set the table for a shutout in the season opener, as the Tide posted an 11-0 win over Alcorn State. He finished the game with six strikeouts, as he threw 46 strikes in his 64 pitches.
PITCHING STAFF SINES DURING OPENING WEEKEND
The starting pitching for Alabama allowed one earned run in 16.1 innings, with 19 strikeouts and just two walks. The Tide bullpen didn't yield a single run in 10.2 innings and gave up only seven hits. Combined, the Alabama pitching staff posted a 0.33 ERA in the series, with 30 strikeouts, six walks and three extra base hits.
NEXT TIME OUT
The Alabama baseball team will travel to Mobile, Ala., to compete in the South Alabama Tournament this weekend. The Tide opens the three-day event against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions on Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. from Stanky Field. The Crimson Tide then plays tournament host South Alabama on Saturday with first pitch at 1 p.m. The final game of the weekend has Alabama playing Central Florida at 11 a.m. on Sunday.