Baseball Opens 2012 Campaign at Home against FAU

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Taylor Dugas set to lead Tide as he enters his senior season.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Taylor Dugas set to lead Tide as he enters his senior season.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Feb. 16, 2012

Alabama Game Notes_FAU

FAU Game Notes

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama baseball team opens the 2012 campaign on Friday night against the Florida Atlantic Owls at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. First pitch for game one of the three-game series is slated for 6:05 p.m. The series continues on Saturday when the teams square off at 3:05 p.m., and Sunday marks the end of the series with first pitch slated for 12:05 p.m.
 
GAMES 1-3 • TUSCALOOSA, ALA.
FRIDAY, FEB. 17-SUNDAY, FEB. 19 (SEWELL-THOMAS STADIUM)
ALABAMA (0-0, 0-0 SEC) vs. FLORIDA ATLANTIC (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)

FOLLOW THE TIDE LIVE
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network
Stations: WFFN-FM 95.3-Tuscaloosa
Play-by-Play: Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey
TV: None
Streaming Audio/Video: www.RollTide.com
Live Stats: www.RollTide.com
Twitter: @AlabamaBSB
Facebook: Facebook.com/AlabamaBSB

PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
FRIDAY                          W-L  ERA   G/GS  IP   H  R  ER  BB  SO
UA-Taylor Guilbeau (Fr., LHP)   0-0  0.00  0/0   0.0  0  0  0   0   0
FAU-Ryan Garton (Sr., RHP)      0-0  0.00  0/0   0.0  0  0  0   0   0

SATURDAY                        W-L  ERA   G/GS  IP   H  R  ER  BB  SO
UA-Charley Sullivan (Jr., RHP)  0-0  0.00  0/0   0.0  0  0  0   0   0
FAU-Jake Meiers (Jr., RHP)      0-0  0.00  0/0   0.0  0  0  0   0   0

SUNDAY                          W-L  ERA   G/GS  IP   H  R  ER  BB  SO
UA-Justin Kamplain (Fr., LHP)   0-0  0.00  0/0   0.0  0  0  0   0   0
FAU-Jeremy Strawn (Jr., RHP)    0-0  0.00  0/0   0.0  0  0  0   0   0

THE SERIES
UA and FAU met three times during the 2002 season, with the Crimson Tide winning two of the three games. The series against FAU will mark the first time the two schools have played a three-game series. UA posted an 8-3 win over the Owls in the Hormel Foods Classic at the Metrodome. The teams met later in the season when they squared off in the finals of the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional. UA won the first game, 7-2, before the Owls defeated the Tide, 6-5, in the deciding game.

Florida Atlantic enters the season with 20 returning players and 15 newcomers. FAU posted a 32-25 record in 2011 and finished tied for fourth in the Sun Belt Conference with a 17-13 record. The Owls return two starting position players and three starting pitchers. Head coach John McCormack is in his fourth season and has a 99-75 overall record in three years. Last season, FAU posted a .297 team batting average, with 35 home runs. On the pitching side, the Owls had a 4.58 team ERA, while holding opponents to a .283 average.

FOLLOW THE TIDE LIVE
All games for the 2012 season will be broadcast on the Crimson Tide Sports Network. The games this weekend will be broadcast on WFFN-FM 95.3 in Tuscaloosa. Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey will provide the radio broadcast for all three games of the Florida Atlantic series. All home games during the 2012 season will be available through RollTide.com/Allaccess. Livestats will also be available on RollTide.com.

ABOUT THE TIDE
UA enters the 2012 campaign with 21 returning lettermen from a team that posted a 35-28 record in 2011 and advanced to the finals of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional.  The UA roster includes eight seniors, 13 juniors, five sophomores and 14 freshmen. Of 550.1 innings pitched last season, Alabama lost more than 385 innings, and returns 165.0 innings (30 percent) pitched from a year ago. Alabama enters the season with 19 pitchers on the roster, including five left-handed pitchers and eight freshmen.

Taylor Dugas is one of six returning position starter from last year’s NCAA tournament team. Dugas returns as the team’s top hitter, after leading the Tide with a .349 batting average in 2011. Dugas also led the Crimson Tide with eight home runs, 60 runs, 84 hits, 41 walks and a .455 on-base percentage.

Jared Reaves started all 63 games in 2011 at shortstop, and finished the season second on the team with a .340 batting average.  Reaves led the Tide with 47 RBI and 22 doubles last season, his first with Alabama.  Reaves’ 22 doubles in 2011 are the fourth most in a single season at Alabama.

Sophomore first baseman Austen Smith played in all 63 games with 59 starts as a true freshman in 2011, and finished the season fourth on the team with a .297 average. Smith, who started all 30 SEC games last season, posted a .312 batting average and led the Tide with 19 RBI during conference play.

Other returning starters include Brett Booth, who will move to catcher after starting more than 50 games at third base last season, right fielder Andrew Miller, outfielders Jon Kelton and Hunter Gregory, and designated hitter Josh Rosecrans, who made 33 starts last season.

Alabama returns nine pitchers from last year’s team that posted a 3.92 ERA in 2011. Junior right-hander, Charley Sullivan, turned in 16 appearances with two starts in his first year with the Tide. Sullivan posted a 3.03 ERA in 2011, the lowest of any returning pitchers in the Roster this season. Trey Pilkington made 20 appearances, with three starts last season, and finished second on the team in appearances last season. He returns as the team leader in appearances.  Pilkington was 2-3 with a 4.57 ERA in 45.1 innings pitched as a sophomore.

Tucker Hawley will miss the 2011 season after having Tommy John surgery following the 2011 campaign. Hawley posted a 6-2 record with a 3.65 ERA in 49.1 innings pitched last season.

SEASON OPENERS
Alabama opened the 2011 season with a home series sweep of Alcorn State. Following the 11-0 win over Alcorn State to open the 2011 season, UA has won its last five opening day games. The Tide’s last loss on opening day was a 9-6 defeat to No. 26 Winthrop in 2006. UA is 8-2 in its last 10 season openers, 17-3 over the last 20 seasons, 25-5 over the last 30 years, 32-8 over the past 40, and 40-10 in the last 50 season opening games. Mitch Gaspard is 2-0 in season openers with the Tide, and is 6-0 in the first three-game home series with Alabama.

DUGAS CHASING HISTORY
Taylor Dugas enters his final season at Alabama ranked in the top-10 in hits, batting average, on-base percentage, doubles, triples, runs scored and walks. Based on season averages, Dugas can set the school records for hits, doubles, triples and runs scored. See page six of the notes packet for a complete listing of Alabama’s offensive records and where current UA players rank. 
 
SENIOR LEADERSHIP
Alabama returns eight players that are in their senior season with the Tide. Jon Kelton and Taylor Dugas are the only two seniors to play all four years at Alabama. James Tullidge is a fifth year senior, but enters his third year on the team. Jared Reaves, Josh Rosecrans, Nathan Kennedy, Jason Zylstra and Hunter Gregory are all in their second year in the program.

ON DECK FOR THE TIDE
Alabama will play three home games next week against the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Lions. The series begins on Friday, Feb. 24, with first pitch at 6:05 p.m., at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.  The series continues on Saturday at 2:05 p.m., and wraps up on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. The series against Arkansas-Pine Bluff will mark the first ever games played between the two schools in baseball.