Baseball Travels to Florida Atlantic for Three Games against Owls

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Charley Sullivan will make his second start of the season on Friday night at FAU.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Charley Sullivan will make his second start of the season on Friday night at FAU.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Feb. 21, 2013

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) will play its first road games of the 2013 season when it travels to Boca Raton, Fla., for three games against Florida Atlantic (3-1). First pitch for the series is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CT, on Friday night from FAU Stadium. Game two will start at 3 p.m. CT, on Saturday, and the series concludes on Sunday, with first pitch at noon CT.

Alabama enters the weekend with a 4-0 record following a 10-8 win over No. 21 Southern Mississippi at home on Tuesday night. The Crimson Tide opened the season with a three-game series sweep over VMI at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama won the opening game of the series, 8-3, before posting a 10-5 win on Saturday and a 7-4 victory on Sunday. Florida Atlantic dropped its first game of the season on Wednesday night, falling to No. 23 Miami, 5-4, in 11 innings. The Owls opened the season with a series sweep on Cincinnati.

All games for the 2013 season will be broadcast on the Crimson Tide Sports Network. Only Friday night’s game against FAU will be broadcast on the full CTSN network. The Saturday and Sunday games against FAU will be broadcast in Tuscaloosa only on WTSK-AM 790. Lee Tracey will provide the radio broadcast for all three games of the Florida Atlantic series. Livestats will also be available on RollTide.com. Live video will not be provided by Florida Atlantic.

Alabama is slated to start senior right-hander Charley Sullivan (0-0, 6.23 ERA) on Friday, sophomore lefty Jon Keller (1-0, 6.75 ERA) on Saturday and sophomore righty Spencer Turnbull (0-0, 2.45 ERA) on Sunday. Florida Atlantic’s rotation for the weekend will be left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber (1-0, 3.00 ERA) on Friday night, righty Jake Meiers (1-0, 3.60 ERA) on Saturday, and right-hander Jeremy Strawn (0-0, 3.00 ERA) on Sunday.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
FRIDAY                            W-L  ERA   G/GS  IP   H  R  ER  BB  SO
UA-Charley Sullivan (Sr., RHP)    0-0  6.23  1/1   4.1  6  3  3   4   5 
FAU-Austin Gomber (Soph, LHP)     1-0  3.00  1/1   6.0  4  2  2   0   6

SATURDAY                          W-L  ERA   G/GS  IP   H  R  ER  BB  SO
UA-Jon Keller (Soph., LHP)        1-0  6.75  1/1   4.0  7  3  3   1   8
FAU-Jake Meiers (Sr., RHP)        1-0  3.60  1/1   5.0  5  2  2   2   3

SUNDAY                            W-L  ERA   G/GS  IP   H  R  ER  BB  SO
UA-Spencer Turnbull (Soph., RHP)  0-0  2.45  1/1   3.2  4  3  1   2   1
FAU-Jeremy Strawn (Jr., RHP)      0-0  3.00  1/1   6.0  6  3  2   1   4

Alabama is off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2011, and the Crimson Tide was never four games over .500 during the 2012 season. Alabama has outscored its opponents 35-20 through its first four games. The Alabama pitching staff has a 3.75 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 17 walks in 36 innings pitched. Alabama is hitting .299 as a team, while averaging 8.7 runs and 9.5 hits per game. The Tide had swiped 10 bags this season, and is a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts.

Brett Booth leads the way with a .636 average, has a three-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in all four games, bringing his streak to 10 games dating back to last season. Booth also leads the team with six RBI and eight runs scored. Cary Baxter, who has started the last three games at first base, is hitting .500 with two doubles, four RBI and five runs scored. Shortstop Mikey White was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday after posting a .545 average against VMI. White is hitting .467 with five RBI, four runs scored, three walks and three stolen bases this season.

Florida Atlantic enters the series versus Alabama with a 3-1 record, following a 5-4 loss to No. 20 Miami in 11 innings on Wednesday night. FAU opened the season by sweeping Cincinnati at home by scores of 9-2, 7-5 and 4-3, respectively.  As a team, the Owls are hitting .329 through four games, with 11 doubles, three triples and a pair of home runs. The FAU pitching staff is holding opponents to a .196 batting average, while allowing 15 runs (13 earned) for a 3.00 ERA this season. The Owls’ pitchers have struck out 37 hitters while walking just 10.

Outfielder Geoff Jimenez leads the team with a .600 average, collecting three hits in five at-bats. Jimenez has a double and a triple in his three hits. Right fielder Corey Keller is hitting .474 with a double, a triple and three RBI and Mitch Morales has a .400 average. Levi Meyer has one of the team’s two home runs and is hitting .350 for the season. Tyler Rocklein, who is hitting just .211, has the team’s second home run. Austin Gomber started the season opener for FAU where he allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts against Cincinnati. Jake Meiers threw 5.0 innings in his first start of the season, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Sunday starter Jeremy Strawn got a no decision in his first start of the year after allowing three runs (2 earned) on six hits with four strikeouts in 6.0 innings versus the Bearcats.

The series between Alabama and Florida Atlantic will make games 7-9 overall and the second ever series between the two schools. After sweeping the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa last season, Florida Atlantic holds a 4-2 advantage in the series. UA and FAU met three times during the 2002 season, first in the Hormel Foods Classic at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., as the Tide posted an 8-3 win over the Owls. The Tide and Owls met twice later that year in the NCAA Regional in Tuscaloosa. Bama won the first game, 7-2, before FAU knocked Bama out of the tournament with a 6-5 win on June 2, 2002. FAU swept the Tide to open the 2012 season in Tuscaloosa, by scores of 5-2, 9-2 and 9-4, respectively.

Following the series at Florida Atlantic this weekend, Alabama returns home to Sewell-Thomas Stadium to take on Samford on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 6:05 p.m. After winning both games over the Bulldogs last season, the Crimson Tide has an 89-15 overall record against the state rival. In the last three season with Mitch Gaspard as the head coach at Alabama, the Crimson Tide is 3-2 against Samford.

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