March 20, 2010

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CBI Live
Alabama's Nelson puts hold on Vanderbilt

By Jimmy Jones

Special to

(photos by Jimmy Jones)


TUSCALOOSA, Alabama--Alabama extended its win streak to 17 games with its seventh consecutive win over Vanderbilt, 8-2, in front of a large home crowd on Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium to claim the SEC series.
Junior right-hander Jimmy Nelson (4-0) (left) allowed two runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings with five strikeouts to pick up the win and record the second quality start in as many games for the Crimson Tide (2-0, 16-1) in the series.
Alabama took the lead in the third on a leadoff base hit by Brock Bennett. He was bunted to second and had to stop at third on a sharply hit ball in front of VU leftfielder Aaron Westlake to put runners at the corners.
Ross Wilson (right) then hit a drive over the wall in left off of Commodore starter Taylor Hill, his fourth of the season, to give the Crimson Tide a 3-0 lead.
Vanderbilt (0-2, 15-4) cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth when Curt Casali walked, Jason Esposito doubled and freshman Connor Harrell singled back through the box to score both runners.
The Tide answered in the bottom half when John David Smelser opened the inning with a two-bagger. Jon Kelton followed with a bunt single that was misplayed by the Commodores allowing Smelser to cross the plate safely to bump the score to 4-2.
Alabama chased Hill (3-1) in his shortest outing of the year. Hill, who came into the game with a gaudy 1.98 ERA, allowed four runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings. He walked two and struck out two in his first loss of the season.
Drew Hayes (left) relieved and cruised through the Bama lineup in the fifth before allowing the bases to be loaded after getting two outs to start the frame. Josh Rutledge battled through a nine-pitch at-bat before doubling into right field to clear the bases and extend the cushion to 7-2.
Walk-on catcher Brock Bennett had four hits to extend his home hitting streak to 16 consecutive games. He also scored three runs, while Ross Wilson and Josh Rutledge had three-run hits apiece to pace the Crimson Tide offensively.
Vanderbilt came into the series with a team batting average of .352 and was scoring nine runs on an average of 12 hits per game, lost back-to-back games for the first time in 2010.
Hayes finished the night allowing two hits and three runs in 2.1 innings of work. He recorded three strikeouts and issued two bases on balls.
Freshman Anthony Gomez (right) continues to impress for the Commodores with three hits and is now 18 for 29 on the season.

Connor Harrell contributed two hits as well.
The two teams will conclude the series on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on CSS.