Bama, Portland, USF, JMU, Louisville, TCU pick up wins

FROM PRESS RELEASE

Alabama 9 Samford 5

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – University of Alabama senior first baseman Matt Bentley slammed two home runs, including a solo blast in the fifth inning that gave the Crimson Tide the lead for good, in a 9-5 win over the Samford Bulldogs Wednesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Bentley went 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI in leading the Crimson Tide to its sixth straight win. Bentley gave the Tide the lead for good with a two-out, solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning off losing pitcher Michael Jarry. Bentley slammed a two-run home run with two outs in the third inning to give Alabama a 4-3 lead.

Alabama (9-5) scored eight of its nine runs in the win over Samford with two outs.

“We had some offense tonight,” Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. “We have shown to be a good offensive club. This was a good win, especially the way we swung the bats.”

Alabama trailed 3-0 and 4-3, but rallied each time with the long ball. In addition to Bentley’s career-high two home runs, junior catcher Alex Avila hit a solo home run in the fifth inning. The Crimson Tide has hit six home runs in its last two games in wins over North Alabama and Samford.

Avila tied the game with a solo home run in the fifth and Bentley’s second home run of the game put the Tide ahead to stay.

Freshman right hander Nathan Kilcrease (1-0) earned his first career win with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. He allowed two hits, struck out three and walked one.

“Kilcrease pitched well,” Wells added. “He throws strikes and that is the key. He did a good job tonight holding them down after we took the lead.”

Jarry (0-2) took the loss for Samford. He allowed six runs and seven hits in five innings on the mound, with three strikeouts and no walks.

Samford (6-6) scored three runs on four hits in the top of the third inning to take a 3-0 lead. Alex Godshall drove in the first run with an infield single and Michael Marseco added a two-out, two-run single to center to stake the Bulldogs to the three-run lead.

Alabama answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-3 lead. Junior centerfielder Alex Kubal reached on an error by Samford first baseman Marcus Rodriguez to open the inning. With one out, freshman second baseman Ross Wilson dropped a bunt single in front of third baseman Michael Rutledge to put runners at first and second. After Avila grounded out, sophomore left fielder Brandon May lined a two-out single to center to score Kubal and Wilson. Bentley followed with a two-run home run to give the Tide a 4-3 lead.

Samford regained the lead with two runs on three straight hits and one error in the top of the fifth inning to take a 5-4 lead. Michael Johnson, Wayne Miller and Marseco tallied the three straight hits in the inning, with Marseco’s infield hit scoring Johnson with the tying run. Miller also scored on a throwing error by Wilson at second base to give the Bulldogs a one-run lead.

Alabama answered right back in the bottom of the inning with solo home runs from Avila and Bentley to take a 6-5 lead.

The Crimson Tide scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a 9-5 lead. Kent Matthes drove in two runs with a two-out single to center and later scored on a passed ball by Samford catcher Bear Burnett to give the Tide a four-run lead.

Alabama opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend at No. 4 Kentucky. The three-game series begins Friday, March 14 at 4 p.m. (EST) and continues, Saturday, March 15 at 2 p.m. (EST) and Sunday, March 16 at 1 p.m. (EST).

Portland 12 Gonzaga 7

Fresno, Calif. – Evan Wells extended his current hit-streak to 10 games but it wasn’t enough as the Gonzaga University baseball team dropped a 12-7 decision to the University of Portland Wednesday in non-conference action at the 2008 Pepsi/Johnny Quick Classic in Fresno, Calif. The Zags are now 2-1 during the six-day tournament.

Gonzaga (8-6) starter Chris Highmark (0-2) took the loss allowing two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out three. Andrew Danner, Brandon Blank, Jake Adkins, and Cody Martin each saw time out of the pen as Martin led the way allowing one hit in one inning with two punch-outs. Portland (12-5) starter Brennan Thorpe (2-0) took home the victory allowing one run on five hits over seven frames.

Tyson Van Winkle led the Bulldogs for the afternoon going 3-for-4 with a run scored and one run driven in. Drew Heid and Jason Chatwood each posted two hits as piece while both driving in one. Wells extended his hit streak thanks to a single in the eighth.

Portland jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Paul Crowder hit a single to right field that plated Riley Henricks, who led off the inning with a double.

The Zags knotted the scored at one in the bottom of the second thanks to a run-single by Van Winkle.

The Pilots regained the lead for good in the top of the third as Cory Wiltshire scored on a wild pitch. Portland would rally for five runs in the fourth frame, highlighted by a two-run home run to left field by Henricks. UP continued to add to its total, scoring three runs in fifth on run-scoring hits by Billy Krause and Danny Meier as the Pilots extended their lead to 10-1.

Portland went on to add two more runs before Gonzaga could score five in the bottom of the eight to narrow UP’s advantage to 12-6. The five runs were scored on three-run double by Anthony Synegal and one-run hits by Heid and Chatwood.

The Zags added one more run in the bottom of the ninth as Brett Nicholas scored on a passed ball.

The Bulldogs will return to the field Thursday when they face host Fresno State University during the fourth day of the 2007 Pepsi/Johnny Quick Classic. Brandon Harmon (1-1) is expected to get the start for Gonzaga in the 6 p.m. game.

South Florida 7 North Florida 1

TAMPA, Fla. – The University of South Florida baseball team (8-5) won its fifth-straight game this season, defeating the University of North Florida Ospreys, 7-1, Wednesday night at Red McEwen Field.

“I like the way we are playing,” said Prado. “I still think there is a lot of improvement to be made, but if we continue to make progress every time out, we are going to be pretty tough down the stretch and late in the season.”

Freshman right-handed pitcher Derrick Stultz picked up his second win of the season, striking out three while allowing five hits and no runs in 7.0 IP.

“Stultz did a good job for us tonight, that’s what we expect of him,” said Prado “When he is throwing strikes and getting ahead on the count on almost every hitter, it’s great to play behind a guy like that.”

For the eighth time this season, USF scored first in the game, tagging the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. The Bulls collected two more in the fourth and a home run from junior Chris Rey gave USF the 4-0 lead after five. USF added three in the seventh, including a bomb from senior Joey Angelberger, to pick up the eighth win of the season.

Rey’s home run was his second of the season, and Angelberger’s was the first of the year and 14th of his career.

Junior Addison Maruszak and Angelberger each notched doubles in the game, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI. Junior Brandon Smith also had two hits, batting 2-of-2 with an RBI and a run scored.

USF opens BIG EAST Conference play this weekend as Seton Hall comes to town for a three-game series. Junior RHP Daniel Thomas will take the mound for the Bulls at 7 p.m. Friday night, then sophomore Matt Quevedo will get the nod at 7 p.m. Saturday. Freshman Randy Fontanez will wrap up the weekend for USF, starting the 1 p.m. matchup with the Pirates.

JMU 20 George Washington 5

HARRISONBURG, Va., March 12, 2008 – James Madison University hit four home runs and five batters had at least three hits as part of a 20-hit attack in a 20-5 victory over George Washington University in a non-conference baseball game on Wednesday afternoon at Long Field/Mauck Stadium.

JMU improved to 10-3 and won its sixth game in a row. GWU dropped to 6-6 on the season. The Dukes surpassed 20 runs for the first time since plating 21 against Hofstra last April. JMU also scored in every inning in the game, the first time for that feat since a seven-inning win over Central Connecticut State in 2003. The Dukes have not scored in every inning of a nine-inning game since at least 2001, the timeframe for which records were immediately available.

The four home runs in the game for JMU were the most since hitting four in a 15-9 win at Georgia State last April. The Dukes now have 18 long balls through the first 13 games, compared to last year when they hit seven over the same time frame in getting off to a 1-12 start.

Not to be overshadowed by the offensive numbers, redshirt sophomore Jason Kuhn (Stafford, Va./Brooke Point) relieved freshman starter Turner Phelps (Roanoke, Va./Lord Botetourt) after an injury in the second inning and worked 4 2/3 perfect innings for his first collegiate victory. He gave up a sacrifice fly to the first batter he faced before then setting down 13 more consecutively, including three strikeouts. Freshman James Weiner (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne’s-Belfield) allowed one run on two hits in the final three innings for his first save.

Freshman McKinnon Langston (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian) had the best game of his young career with season highs of four hits, three runs, and five RBIs, including a double and a home run. Sophomore Matt Browning (Mystic, Conn./Fitch) also reached a career high with five RBIs on three hits, including a home run, with three runs scored.

Three other JMU batters had three-hit days as freshman David Herbek (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) reached base in all five plate appearances with three hits, including a home run, three RBIs, two walks, and two runs scored. Redshirt junior Brett Sellers (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) was 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs to extend his career-best hitting streak to nine games. Redshirt sophomore Steven Caseres (New City, N.Y./St. Joseph’s Regional) was 3-for-5 with a career-high four runs scored.

Redshirt sophomore Justin Dignelli (Katonah, N.Y./The Hackley School) took the loss for the Colonials after surrendering seven runs, six earned, on six hits in 2 1/3 innings. GWU had just five hits in the game with two each by sophomore Sean Rockey (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake) and senior Charlie Kruer (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge). Rockey hit a solo home run on the second pitch of the game while Kruer also scored twice in the game.

George Washington scored three times in the first inning with the only hit the leadoff home run. Phelps issued four walks and hit a batter to account for the other runs. GWU led 4-1 entering the bottom of the second before JMU scored 17 unanswered runs to pull away. The scoring included six runs in the third, three in the fifth, four in the seventh, and three in the eighth.

JMU will be home again this weekend when the Dukes take a 5-1 conference record into a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series against Towson beginning at 3 p.m. Friday.

Louisville 7 Wright State 5

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The 23rd-ranked University of Louisville baseball team held on for a tenuous 7-5 come-from-behind victory over Wright State on a sunny Wednesday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.

“I thought our will to win was great today,” said Head Coach Dan McDonnell.

“We really come out and played hard – it wasn’t the cleanest game of the year, but we did handle some big pressure situations.”

A pair of unearned runs in the second inning put the Raiders (1-9) on top, and the lead was extended on a solo home run off the bat of leadoff man R.J. Gundolff with one out in the third.

A four-run Cardinal third gave Louisville (7-4) a lead they would never relinquish.

The frame opened with a leadoff single by Derrick Alfonso, and after a fielder’s choice by Stewart Ijames, freshman Josh Richmond hammered a double to left to extend his team-best hitting streak to all 10 games he has played as a Cardinal.

Nate Holland was hit by a pitch to load the bases and a four-pitch walk to Andrew Clark pushed across the first Cardinal run. Justin McClanahan then singled home two more and an RBI single by Dominguez gave the Cardinals a 4-3 lead.

Ijames singled an stole second with one away ahead of a walk to Richmond before Clark plated a pair with a two-out double to left to extend the advantage to 6-3.

Gerald Ogrinc’s RBI single cut the lead to 6-4 with two out in the sixth, chasing Cardinal starter James Belanger.

The senior righty improved his record to 1-1 on the season with 5.2 innings, allowing four runs – two of which were earned, on five hits and two walks, striking out four.

Freshman Dean Kiekhefer entered with a runner on and struck out Kris Steffen to end the inning.

After a 1-2-3 by Kiekhefer, his fielding error and a single put runners at the corners with nobody out. An RBI single by Jeff Mercer edged the Raiders to within a run and a groundout by Ross Vagedes on a slash play put runners at second and third with one away, setting the stage for freshman closer Gabriel Shaw.

After an 0-2 pitch hit Ogrinc to load the bases, Shaw knocked down a comebacker and got the force at the plate for the second out of the inning and induced a groundout to second for the final out of the eighth, preserving a 6-5 lead.

Dominguez singled and stole second to open the Cardinal eighth, and Jeff Arnold was plunked. WSU left fielder Zach Strauss dropped a fly ball and tried to get the force at third, but his throw was dropped by third baseman Kyle Mossbarger to load the bases for Louisville.

Alfonso made them pay for the pair of miscues, drilling an RBI single to center for an insurance tally.

Kiekhefer finished with 1.2 innings out of the pen, allowing an unearned run on two hits, striking out three.

Shaw notched his third save in as many opportunities, striking out one in an inning and two-thirds, tossing a 1-2-3 ninth.

A staff day for the Raiders saw Alex Kaminsky (0-1) enter the game to start the third and surrender four runs on four hits and a walk, recording just one out in taking the loss. He was one of six pitchers to take the hill for the Raiders.

Clark was 2 for 3 with three RBI, Dominguez and Alfonso also enjoyed two hits apiece on the afternoon and Holland and Ijames scored two runs while McClanahan drove in a pair.

The Cards will next face Kent State in a three game series featuring two teams from last season’s Columbia Regional and two of the top pitching staffs in the region. The Flashes are 3-8 to open the season.

First pitch Friday is slated for 2:00 p.m. with 1:00 starts on Saturday and Sunday to follow. Admission to all regular season home games at Jim Patterson Stadium is free.

TCU 6 Prairie View A&M 0

 

FORT WORTH, Texas – The TCU Horned Frogs put together another impressive effort on the mound as they extended their win streak to four games with a 6-0 win over Prairie View A&M Wednesday night. The Frogs closed out their season-long seven-game home stand with a 6-1 mark. The offense tallied 12 hits in the contest, highlight by big nights from Aaron Schultz and Ben Carruthers. Five pitchers combine to hold the Panthers to just three singles on the night.

The Horned Frogs struck first with a run in the first inning. Carruthers started things with a base hit up the middle and moved to third on a bunt single off the bat of Bryan Kervin. Bryan Holaday gave the Frogs the lead with a ground ball to third.

The Panthers best chance to score came in the second inning as they had the bases loaded with two outs, but TCU starter Derek VerHagen was able to get Odie Davis to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Back-to-back doubles by a pair of freshmen, Jimmie Pharr and Schultz, gave the Frogs a 2-0 lead in the second inning. A Carruthers fly ball moved Schultz to third where he scored on a Kervin sacrifice fly to left.

VerHagen (1-0) tossed three innings of scoreless baseball in his first career start. He didn’t surrender a hit, walked four and struck out one to earn his first win of the season.

The Frogs doubled their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring three runs on three hits, helped along by two walks and a hit-by-pitch. Hunt Woodruff got things going with a double to left field and scored on Schultz’s second double of the game. Carruthers followed with a single through the left side that plated Schultz. After a walk to Kervin, Clint Arnold took a pitch off the arm to load the bases. Holaday worked a walk to drive in the sixth run of the game for the Frogs.

From there, pitching was the name of the game. The Frogs had base runners in each of the final three innings, but were unable to solve Jose Mata as he was able to work out of the innings without surrendering any runs.

On the Frogs side, they got six innings of excellent relief out of their bullpen. Eric Marshall struck out two in his lone inning of work, while Taylor Cragin also tallied two strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit in his two innings. Chris Anagnostou was touched for two hits in two innings, while Collin Auten pitched a scoreless ninth inning to nail down the shutout.

The Frogs improve to 8-5 on the season with the victory. They will hit the road for their first road series of the 2008 season when they head to Wichita, Kan. for a three-game series with Wichita State. The Shockers enter the weekend ranked as high as No. 15. First pitch for Friday’s series opener is slated for 7 p.m.