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GAC's Bennett sparks Bama's win in regional

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Alabama's Brock Bennett, a GAC grad, follows through on his swing during Friday's game against Elon in the NCAA Atlanta Regional at Georgia Tech.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Alabama's Brock Bennett, a GAC grad, follows through on his swing during Friday's game against Elon in the NCAA Atlanta Regional at Georgia Tech.

ATLANTA -- Brock Bennett isn't known for his hitting. It's his work behind the plate -- not at it -- that earned the walk-on a regular spot in the Alabama lineup.

The Greater Atlanta Christian graduate's first NCAA tournament at-bat produced a base hit, though, that got the Crimson Tide offense going Friday. It's been that kind of magical season.

Bennett barely played his first two years at Alabama and he was a redshirt last year. But he cracked the lineup this season and hit just enough to keep his spot.

Coming into the NCAA opener against Elon with a .290 average, Bennett slapped a single up the middle leading off the third inning and scored Alabama's first run in the 11-2 victory at Russ Chandler Stadium.

Then Bennett walked and scored again in the Crimson Tide's six-run fourth inning that broke the game wide open.

Josh Rutledge hit a three-run homer in the big inning and Clay Jones homered for Alabama (38-22) in the sixth after Ryan Adams got Elon (38-23) on the scoreboard with a homer in the top of the inning.

Rain hit shortly afterward, forcing a delay of more than an hour.

Alabama struggled offensively most of the season and was just 15-15 in the SEC regular season. But the Crimson Tide made it to the title game in the SEC tournament thanks to its pitching and earned a No. 2 seed in the Atlanta regional.

Nathan "Peanut" Kilcrease, moved from the bullpen to the rotation, allowed just three over seven innings while improving his record to 7-2. Taylor Dugas and Rutledge each had four hits for the Crimson Tide.

Elon, a member of the Southern Conference, earned a spot in the NCAA tournament as an at-large team and second straight trip to Atlanta.