Baseball Begins 2013 Campaign on Friday against VMI

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM After starting five games on Friday night last season, sophomore Spencer Turnbull will get the ball in Friday to open the 2013 season.
After starting five games on Friday night last season, sophomore Spencer Turnbull will get the ball in Friday to open the 2013 season.

Feb. 14, 2013

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama opens the 2013 season with a three-game series against the Virginia Military Institute this weekend. Game one of the series is scheduled for 6:05 p.m., on Friday night from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Game two will begin at 2:05 p.m., on Saturday, and first pitch for game three will be 1:05 p.m., on Sunday.

Alabama posted a 21-34 overall record in 2012, while posting a 9-21 mark against Southeastern Conference opponents. Alabama returns 17 letterwinners, which includes four starting pitchers and four starting position players from last season. The Crimson Tide welcomes back 86.2 percent of its innings pitched from last year. Alabama’s top returning hitter from last season is outfielder Ben Moore, who posted a .342 average as a freshman in 2012. Senior catcher/infielder Brett Booth hit four home runs last season to tie for the team lead. Booth also drove in 32 runs, which was second on the 2012 squad.

All games for the 2013 season will be broadcast on the Crimson Tide Sports Network. The Friday and Sunday games of the series between Alabama and VMI can be heard on WFFN-FM 95.3 in Tuscaloosa. Due to a schedule conflict with the UA men’s basketball game against South Carolina on Saturday, the middle game of the series will be broadcast on WTSK-AM 790 in Tuscaloosa. Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey will provide the radio broadcast for games one and three of the series, while Tracey will fly solo on Saturday. Livestats will also be available on All home games during the 2013 season will be webcast, with audio and video through

Fans that attended that baseball Fan Appreciation Day back on Jan. 12, received a voucher for free admission to all games of the VMI series. Saturday will be baseball bingo at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Sunday is Kid’s Day at “The Joe.” All kids 18 and under will receive free admission and the first 250 kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog and a drink from the concession stand. After Sunday’s game, kids will get to run the bases and the Crimson Tide players will sign autographs.

Season tickets for the 31-game Alabama baseball season are available for as low as $60 for general admission. Chair back season tickets are $125 for the public, $100 for faculty and staff and $65 for adults 65 and older. Reserved bleacher season tickets are $75. Fans can purchase tickets at or by calling the ticket office at 205-348-BAMA or toll free at 1-877-TIDETIX.

VMI is coming off a 16-36 season in 2012 after finishing Big South Conference play with a 7-17 record. The Keydets return 20 letterwinners, which include six position starters and 10 pitchers. The Keydets posted a .255 team batting average, hit 31 home runs and scored 226 runs in 2012. VMI had a 5.58 team ERA in 2012, with 376 strikeouts and 167 walks in 454.2 innings pitched. Opponents hit .314 against the Keydets last season. VMI returns its leading hitter from a year ago in Rob Dickinson, who hit .320 with six home runs and 32 RBI. He led the team in batting average and RBI last season. Relief pitcher John Garrett recorded a team-high six saves a year ago, to go along with a 2-3 record and a 2.03 ERA in 48.2 innings pitched. Reed Garrett had 25 appearances and one start in the mound in 2012 and finished the year with a 2-3 record and a 2.17 ERA in 54 innings. Head coach Marlin Ikenberry is entering his 10th season as the head coach at VMI and has a 237-249-1 overall record at the school.

The series between Alabama and VMI will mark the first ever games between the two schools in baseball. Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard has never coached against VMI. Alabama holds a 13-5 record against schools that currently makeup the Big South Conference. UA is 6-4 against Winthrop, 4-0 against Radford, 3-0 against UNC-Ashville and 0-1 against Coastal Carolina. In their most recent meeting against a BSC opponent, the Tide suffered a 13-10 loss to Coastal Carolina in the NCAA Conway Regional on May 31, 2008.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups (2012 Statistics)
Friday                            W-L  ERA   G/GS   IP    H   R   ER  BB  SO
UA-Spencer Turnbull (Soph., RHP)  2-6  5.60  15/10  53.0  54  34  33  26  45
VMI-Reed Garrett (Soph., RHP)     2-3  2.17  25/1   54.0  47  18  13  21  41

Saturday                          W-L  ERA   G/GS   IP    H   R   ER  BB  SO
UA-Jon Keller (Soph., LHP)        2-5  3.74  20/9   67.1  64  31  28  23  43
VMI-Campbell Henkel (Jr., LHP)    1-5  6.86  15/14  61.2  89  56  47  19  32

Sunday                            W-L  ERA   G/GS   IP    H   R   ER  BB  SO
UA-Charley Sullivan (Sr., RHP)    2-3  5.09  14/11  63.2  31  40  36  15  34
VMI-Connor Bach (Fr., LHP)        0-3  6.75  11/4   24.0  32  23  18  15  22

Alabama opened the 2012 season with three losses to Florida Atlantic at home. UA had its five-game season opener winning streak snapped, after suffering a 5-2 loss to the Owls last year. UA is 7-3 in its last 10 season openers, 16-4 over the last 20 seasons, 26-4 over the last 30 years, 33-7 over the past 40, and 40-10 in the last 50 season opening games. Mitch Gaspard is 2-1 in season openers with the Tide, and is 6-3 in the first three-game home series with Alabama.

Over the past 65 years, Alabama has posted a 52-13 record in its home opener at the current location for Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide has been playing at its current location since 1948, the longest of any team in the SEC. In the current location for “The Joe,” Alabama has a home record of 1,151-488-2 (.701). Alabama’s 1,151 home victories at its current location are the most among the 14 members of the SEC.

Alabama signed 12 players for the 2013 season, which included four players that were picked in the 2012 MLB Draft. With 11 of its signees and three of its draft picks coming to Tuscaloosa, Alabama welcomed one of the top recruiting classes in the country for the 2013 season. The incoming class was rated No. 4 in the Baseball America national rankings, while Collegiate Baseball ranked the 2013 Crimson Tide class No. 16 overall.

Following the series against VMI to open the season, Alabama will host the No. 23 ranked Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on Tuesday for its first midweek game of the year. First pitch between Alabama and the Golden Eagles is scheduled for 6:05 p.m., from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama and USM spilt the two games during the 2012 season. The Tide suffered a 14-2 loss at Southern Miss on Feb. 29, before posting an 8-3 victory over the Golden Eagles on March 13, at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

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