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Crimson Tide glides past State

By By Mark Etheridge / Special to The Star
May 23. 2002
HOOVER, Ala. One team had just completed a weekend where they could did no wrong getting a sweep. The other could do no right and was swept. The roles reversed Wednesday as struggling Alabama righted the ship at the expense of the formerly red-hot Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Scott McClanahan hit a three run homer to give Alabama a lead in the first inning and the Tide never looked back with a mercy-rule 12-2 win in first round of the SEC Tournament Wednesday. Freshman lefty Taylor Tankersley was the surprise starter and pitched well after a rocky beginning.
The Vicksburg native went 7.1 innings scattering nine hits and giving up two runs. He did walk six and struck out three. His record improved to 8-4.
Alabama blasted sixteen hits in the game while MSU was held to nine.
Tanner Brock started for MSU despite throwing over 130 pitches Saturday in his last start. He only lasted to the third giving up six hits and seven runs.
MSU jumped on Tide starter Taylor Tankersley in the first. Chad Henry singled and took third on a Matthew Brinson. After a walk to Jason Burkley loaded the bases, Robby Goodson knocked in a pair with a single. After a Casey Long single loaded the bases again, Tankersley caught Enrico Jones looking to end the inning.
Alabama did not trail long. Travis Garner led off with a double off the wall. Jeremy Brown walked setting the stage for Scott McClanahan's three run homer off MSU starter Tanner Brock. The homer marked the fifth consecutive game McClanahan has homered versus MSU.
Alabama added a run in third as Beau Hearod scored on a Garner groundout. Peter Stonard plated another run with a single to center scoring Adam Pavkovich.
The Tide added more in the third as Chad White plated a pair with a double to the wall in right. Brown and Brent Boyd had singled in front of White. Pavkovich blooped a single to center scoring White to stretch the lead to six runs.
Alabama added two more in the fifth. Brent Boyd was given a double when Jones lost a high fly to right in the bright mid-day Sun. He scored on a Pavkovich double to left. Pavkovich came around to score on an Allen Rice single.
Pavkovich got his third hit of the game in the seventh as he reached on a double. He took third on a Rice single. Garner knocked in Pavkovich with a single.
The game ended via the mercy rule in the bottom of the eighth as Zach Welch singled to right scoring Boyd who had reach on an error.
The loss puts a dent in the Bulldogs Regional chances. At 33-23-1 and a so-so RPI, Polk's pack needs desperately to defeat fellow bubble team Georgia at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Alabama (45-12) will face Florida Thursday at 5 p.m. The probable starters are Alabama ace Lance Cormier (9-3) and Florida ace Alex Hart (13-1).