Alabama third baseman Kenny Roberts rounds first base after getting a hit in the Sunday game against VMI. Alabama won on Sunday 7-4 to complete the weekend sweep. (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)
After opening weekend in 2012, Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard was answering questions about the Crimson Tide baseball program being swept in its opening series for the first time since the John F. Kennedy presidency.
Gaspard likes being on the other side, after beating Virginia Military Institute 8-3 on Friday, 10-5 on Saturday and 7-4 on Sunday.
“It was a good weekend,” Gaspard said. “Particularly when you have that many freshmen on the field. With what we’ve seen in the first five months, we thought they were going to play well, but when the lights come on, that’s another step for them. I thought all the guys played well, mainly the poise and confidence you want to see.”
Alabama’s offensive firepower was on display throughout the weekend, as five players hit for a .300 batting average or better and .500 slugging percentage or better while adding in three with four RBI on the weekend.
“The one thing you’re seeing with a lot of our guys is when the game slows down and you’re taking more pitches that put you in a bind,” Gaspard said. “One big thing for us has been the slider in the dirt, we’ve been able to take that more times and not get in a bad count.”
“That didn’t just happen. (Alabama hitting coach) Andy Phillips has done a great job with our hitters.”
A complete boxscore for Game One can be seen by clicking here, Game Two’s can be seen here and Game Three’s can be seen here.
One week after winning the UNI Dome Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the Alabama softball team traveled south to win the Florida Gulf Coast University/LaQuinta Inn and Suites Tournament by tallying another five wins. Alabama won Friday’s doubleheader 9-3 over Appalachian State and 2-1 over Florida Gulf Coast, Saturday’s doubleheader 2-0 against Wichita State and 2-1 in nine innings over Georgia Southern and capped it off with a 10-1 win in five innings over Southern Illinois on Sunday.
Friday’s action saw pitcher Jackie Traina play designated hitter in the first game, going 2-3 with two RBI, and pitch seven innings in the second game, allowing three hits and one unearned run while striking out 12 batters.
Saturday was highlighted by a extra-innings walk-off two-run double from Danae Hays to beat Georgia Southern 2-1. Jackie Traina pitched all nine innings for the Tide against the Eagles and fanned 14 batters.
The Tide return to the state of Alabama for a road game with UAB on Tuesday before hosting the Easton Bama Bash presented by DRASH with action beginning Friday at 4 p.m.
It’s a beautiful day for baseball in Tuscaloosa as Alabama tries to get a 3-game sweep on Virginia Military Institute to open the season. Follow @Brett_Hudson on Twitter for live updates and stay tuned to Daily Bama Blog for full coverage.
#Alabama leaves a runner on third, still up 2-0 on #VMI after 3 innings.
Trevor Releford led the Crimson Tide with five assists and also contributed nine points, three rebounds and two steals in the win. (AP photo)
Here’s the story Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson sent for print publication in Sunday editions across the state, with press conference video at the bottom.
One day before a pivotal home game against South Carolina, Alabama coach Anthony Grant said he did not care that his team was averaging only 54.25 in its last four games, but that his team had won four out of its last five.
Grant got both a win and improved offense in Alabama’s 68-58 win over South Carolina.
“Today’s game, to me, was a game of spurts,” Grant said. “I didn’t like the way we finished the first half, but I thought we came out with better energy in the second half.”
Alabama had two big scoring runs in the first half that built an insurmountable lead: one 12-0 run to give Alabama a 17-4 lead with 12:37 in the first half and another 14-1 run to make for a 23-point lead with 5:55 left to go in the first half. Alabama knocked down five of nine three-point attempts in the two runs.
“We were able to, in the first half, penetrate and create help and they did a great job of moving the ball around,” Grant said. “I thought we had great looks. Even the ones that didn’t go in, I thought we had great looks and it was good to see our guys be aggressive.
“We had a spurt there where we were able to get the crowd back in the game and flip the momentum.”
Trevor Lacey led the Tide with 17 points, six of which coming from behind the three-point line. Redshirt freshman guard Retin Obasohan also added two three-point baskets and ended with eight points, nearly a career-high.
Lacey also contributed four assists, one below junior guard Trevor Releford for the team lead.
“My teammates are always on me about shooting more,” Lacey said. “I just like getting my teammates involved in some looks. I just try to let the shots come to me that I feel comfortable with.”
Alabama’s defense was an instigating force, also, forcing 18 turnovers. Sophomore guard Levi Randolph led the way with four steals, while Lacey, Releford and forward Nick Jacobs all had two each.
“We expected them from a defensive standpoint to really get after it and we knew we had to bring that energy, too,” Grant said. “We felt like we could have success with the press and certain halfcourt situations if we locked in and did it right.”
The win puts the Crimson Tide alone in second place in the SEC and making believers out of the competition.
“They’re in it, they aren’t going anywhere,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said, a longtime friend of Grant’s. “A team that plays the kind of defense they play, with the unity and passion they play, they’re in it.”