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FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2007
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Tide hopes 'Sunday situation' is solved

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com · 340-2460

It could have been one of those seasonal turning points.

Rewind to the top of the 10th inning of Alabama's game at Ole Miss on Saturday. The Crimson Tide already had taken the first game of a tough series on the road. And with the bases loaded, two outs and Alex Avila at the plate, Alabama stood one hit away from at the worst winning two out of three from the Rebels.

Avila grounded out, and Ole Miss won 3-2 in 11 innings. The Rebels then followed by pummeling the Tide on Sunday 15-9.

Now Alabama sits at 17-10 and 3-3 in the Southeastern Conference heading into its weekend series against LSU (15-11-1, 1-4-1 SEC).

"You knew you had to win the game," Alabama coach Jim Wells said. "It hurt not only that day but going into Sunday's game knowing you were going to have to outslug them. Hopefully, now we won't need to be dealing with a Sunday situation like we have in previous weeks."

Alabama's "Sunday situation" was a direct effect of pitching injuries. Starter Brandon Belcher has dealt with a forearm injury since the start of the season, but should return to pitching this weekend.

Belcher has seen some action in left field, which according to Wells, doesn't put the same kind of strain on his forearm as pitching does. If he takes the mound, Belcher will be on a pitch count of 50.

Miers Quigley will start Friday and Bernard Robert will pitch Saturday.

Sophomore reliever Austin Hyatt will be back after missing several games with a sore shoulder.

Hyatt has made only eight appearances this season.

Wells said that this will give his team the kind of pitching depth it needs if there is a breakdown in any of the games.

"To me, this is what it's about. Getting guys healthy, getting guys better and not throwing from behind on Sunday games," Wells said.

An interesting side note to the series is Wells' flirtation with the LSU job last season. A former graduate assistant under former Tigers coach and current athletics director Skip Bertman in the late 1980s, Wells met with Bertman last year about the LSU baseball coaching job, but decided to take his name out of the running.

The opening was filled by Paul Mainieri, formerly from Notre Dame.

When pressed on the issue this week, Wells jokingly answered, "C'mon guys, let's talk about pitching."

The Bossier City, La., native then said that it was "old news" and didn't want to comment on it further.

Alabama baseball

  • Friday’s game:LSU (15-11-1, 1-4-1 SEC) at Alabama (17-10, 3-3), 6:30 p.m.

  • Saturday’s game:LSU at Alabama, 6 p.m.

  • Sunday’s game:LSU at Alabama, 2 p.m.

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