South Alabama Fall Report: Week One

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

AdamHeisler MOBILE, Ala. – The University of South Alabama baseball team held its first fall intrasquad scrimmages at Stanky Field over the weekend. While a handful of newcomers had impressive debuts, one returning Jag picked up right where he left off after earning all-conference honors following the 2009 season.

Adam Heisler, who chose to return to USA for his senior season after being selected in the 45th round of the 2009 MLB draft, was retired only one time in 10 plate appearances over the weekend.

Below are recaps from each of the weekend’s intrasquad games.

Friday’s scrimmage:
Senior southpaw Lance Baxter was the first Jag to take the hill during an intrasquad game. He got Clint Reynolds to ground out leading off, but junior transfer Taylor White got the first hit of the fall with a double. White came around to score one out later on a RBI single from another newcomer, junior Brent Tanner. Baxter settled in an worked around a two-out double from Adam Heisler in his second inning of work.

D.D. Hanks, who missed last fall with an injury, was the next Jag on the bump. He was impressive, working two perfect innings and striking out three batters. Another junior transfer, Garrett Harris, was the next pitcher in line. Harris retired the first six batters he faced before Tyler Vick doubled leading off the top of the fourth, but Harris got out of the inning unscathed.

Jarrett Bailey and Chris LaGrow also pitched for the Jags. Both struggled to find their command, but LaGrow struck out the side in his inning of work.

Heisler finished the day 2-for-2 with a double and a triple, while White and Vick each doubled and Tanner had the only other hit. Freshman Nolan Earley drew a pair of walks.

Saturday’s scrimmage:
Because Friday’s game was cut short, the Jags resumed where they left off with the bases loaded and one out. Lance Brown took over on the mound and escaped the jam with a strikeout and a groundout to wrap up the first game.

Brown stayed on the mound as the Jags started a new game. He got the first two batters to ground out, but Heisler was hit by a pitch and then singled, putting two on with two out. In fall scrimmages, batters start a new at-bat when they draw a walk or are hit by a pitch, and a runner is sent in from the bench to take the free base.

Sean Laird followed with a three-run homer to dead center that hit high on the batters’ eye beyond the outfield wall. Brown got out of the inning, then got the first out in the next inning before White tripled to center field. He came around to score on a groundout from Vick. Brown would allow four runs on four hits in 2.2 innings.

Travis Corley came on in relief and allowed one run after scattering five hits in 2.2 innings. The lone run scored off of Corley when Jake Overstreet doubled and came around to score on a RBI single from Earley.

Corley handed the ball to Kyle Dees after allowing back-to-back singles with two outs, and Heisler coming to the plate. Dees accomplished something no other Jag pitcher was able to do in the first weekend of fall practice; he retired Heisler, though it took a diving catch from White in left-center field. He worked 2.1 innings and allowed only one hit while striking out two.

Another newcomer, Carlton Paris, was the next to take the mound. He was solid, working 4.0 shutout innings and allowing just two hits while striking out three. Perhaps most impressive Paris’ outing is that both hits he allowed were leading off an inning, and both times he escaped without allowing a run. Dominic Diaz led off with a single and made his way around to third base before Paris got out to the jam, and Heisler led off another inning with a bunt single before being picked off of first base.

Michael Raia was the final Jag pitcher to see action on Saturday. He allowed two runs on four hits in 3.0 innings. Raia struck out each of the last four batters he faced on his way to recording six of nine outs by strikeout. Jaguar pitchers finished with 14 strikeouts against just one walk on the day.

Heisler and White both finished the day 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored, and Overstreet, Tanner and Diaz all went 2-for-3 as well. Tanner drove in a pair of runs, while Vick, Overstreet and Earley each had one RBI. Laird’s three-run homer was the only long ball in the opening weekend.

Sunday’s scrimmage:
The Jaguars broke out the wood bats for Sunday’s scrimmage, and while the power numbers went down, the overall hitting improved.

Redshirt freshman Eric Walters started on the mound. He scattered five hits and didn’t allow any runs in the first three innings, but ran into trouble with two outs in his fourth inning of work. Nathaniel Lami drew a walk that loaded the bases, then he knocked a two-run single down the left-field line. Zach Grichor’s RBI single ended Walters’ day, and Chris Brown came on in relief.

Brown, a sixth-year senior who has missed both of his previous seasons at USA with injuries, allowed a RBI single to Heisler before getting a flyout to end the inning.

Reynolds started the next inning with an infield single, but Brown got the final batter he would face, White, to ground into a fielder’s choice. Conner Reese took the hill in relief of Brown and got a pair of groundouts to get out of the inning, but not before White would steal second and third base and come around to score on Tanner’s grounder.

Reese allowed a leadoff double to Brad Hook to start the next inning, but then retired each of the next 12 batters he faced. He finished the day with only one hit allowed and two strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work.

Jake LeBlanc came on next and allowed one run on two hits in 3.0 innings. Phillip Byrd also allowed only one run, though he worked 2.2 innings and struck out four. LeBlanc’s younger brother Shane, a redshirt freshman, was the final Jag to take the hill. He allowed two runs on six hits in 2.1 innings, but struck out three without issuing a walk.

Heisler finished the day 4-for-4, bringing his weekend line to 8-for-9 with three runs and three RBI. Reynolds went 4-for-5 with two runs and one RBI, while White, Hunt Griffith, Lami, Hook and Brittian Schultz had two hits apiece.

The Jags return to practice Tuesday through Thursday before playing intrasquad scrimmages Friday, Saturday and Sunday.