Baseball to Play Auburn in MAX Capital City Classic on Tuesday
March 4, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Crimson Tide (8-3) will travel to Montgomery, Ala., to play Auburn Tigers (8-3) in the MAX Capital City Classic on Tuesday, March 5, with first pitch at 7 p.m. CT. The non-conference game between the Crimson Tide and Tigers will be played at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Montgomery Biscuits, the Tampa Bay Rays double-A affiliate. This will mark the fifth meeting for the two schools in the Max Capital City Classic. Auburn has won the four previous meetings.
The Tide opened the season with a 6-0 start, before dropping three of its last five games. Alabama is coming off a 2-2 week that included a 5-4 win over Samford on Tuesday, before dropping two of three games at home to Tulane on the weekend. Auburn opened the year with a 6-1 start, before suffering losses to Kennesaw State (9-2) and Eastern Illinois (11-10). The Tigers finished the series against EIU with 14-7 and 8-2 wins to capture their second series of the year. Alabama is slated to start sophomore left-handed pitcher Taylor Guilbeau (1-0, 2.61 ERA), while the Tigers plan to throw junior righty Dillon Ortman (0-1, 2.70 ERA).
Probable Starting Pitchers
Prior to the game both teams will have a collection of players and staff shaving their heads in support of the Vs. Cancer Foundation to help fight childhood cancer. Both teams encourage fans to show their support by making a donation online at www.maxcapitalcityclassic.com and at the game on Tuesday night. The money raised will benefit the Vs. Cancer Foundation, the Children’s Hospital of Alabama and research efforts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
All games for the 2013 season will be broadcast on the Crimson Tide Sports Network. The Tuesday game against Auburn will be broadcast on WTSK-AM 790 in Tuscaloosa, due to a scheduling conflict with Alabama men’s basketball. Lee Tracey will provide the commentary for the Tuesday’s contest. Livestats will also be available on RollTide.com.
The Crimson Tide is receiving one vote in this week’s USA Today Sports Coaches’ poll. Alabama has outscored its opponents 63-47 through its first 11 games. The Crimson Tide is 6-0 when leading after six, 7-0 when leading after seven and 8-0 when leading after eight innings. The Alabama pitching staff has a 3.58 ERA with 104 strikeouts to rank third in the SEC. Of its 104 strikeouts this season, 41 have been looking, which ranks third in the conference. Alabama is hitting .261 as a team, while averaging 5.7 runs and 8.1 hits per game. The Tide is 19-for-23 in stolen base attempts and ranks sixth in the SEC in stolen bases. Alabama was 13-for-13 in stolen base attempts to open the season. In the middle-third of the game, Alabama is outscoring its opponents 33-14 in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. UA’s biggest advantage is in the sixth inning, when it is outscoring the opposition 12-1. Bama is outscoring its opponents 14-5 in the eighth inning. Alabama has converted all five of its save opportunities and is third in the SEC with five saves.
Brett Booth, who had 10 walks in 55 games last season, leads the team with 11 this year to rank fifth in the SEC. Defensively, Booth has thrown out eight would-be base stealers to lead the SEC. Booth is 8-for-18 (.444) in throwing runners out this season. Booth continues to lead the team with a .375 average, in addition to team-highs in runs (13), RBI (8) and walks (11). Austen Smith is coming off a week that saw the junior first baseman hit .500 (7-for-14) with a team-high five RBI. Smith is now hitting .323 for the season, which ranks third on the squad. Senior catcher Brett Booth continues
Auburn enters the midweek non-conference match-up against the Crimson Tide with an 8-3 record after winning two of three games over Eastern Illinois this past weekend. After dropping the opening game of the series to the Panthers, 11-10, Auburn posted a 14-7 win on Saturday and an 8-2 win to close out the series on Sunday. Tuesday’s game will mark the first game that Auburn has played away from Plainsman Park in 2013. The Tigers enter the Max Capital City Classic with a .298 batting average, while averaging 6.6 runs and 9.9 hits per game. Auburn pitchers have a 2.91 ERA in 99.0 innings pitched. The Tigers hold opponents to a .231 batting average, with 67 strikeouts and 35 walks.
A junior from Huntsville, Ala., Ortman will be making his first appearance in the MAX CCC. In two years against Alabama, Ortman has appeared in three games totaling 3.1 innings pitched. He is 0-0 with one save and four strikeouts against the Tide. Jordan Ebert leads the Tigers’ offense with a .424 average in nine games. Ryan Tella, who is fifth on the team with a .325 average, leads the club with 15 RBI and 13 runs scored. Garrett Cooper is hitting .351 with 11 RBI and five doubles and Cullen Wacker has a .364 average with 10 RBI, three doubles and a triple.
Tuesday’s Max Capital City Classic will mark the fifth meeting between Alabama and Auburn in the event. Auburn has won the four previous meetings in Montgomery, outscoring Alabama 26-17 in the four games. Auburn has scored eight runs in three of the four games. Last season, the Tigers posted an 8-3 victory over the Tide on March 6, 2012. Auburn came from behind to win the first 8-7, on March 10, 2009, then defeated the Tide 8-6 on March 24, 2010. When the teams met on March 15, 2011, the Tigers squeaked out a 2-1 win over the Tide.
Tuesday’s game between Alabama and Auburn will mark the 268th meeting all-time between the two schools. Alabama holds a 146-121 record all-time versus the Tigers after sweeping the SEC series in Tuscaloosa last season over the No. 23 ranked team in the country. In the last 10 meetings, the teams have split down the middle with each team winning five times. The Tide and Tigers will meet for three games during SEC play later this year, when Alabama travels to The Plains for three games on March 28-30.
Following Tuesday’s game against Auburn, the Crimson Tide will travel to Louisville, Ky., for a three game series against the nationally ranked Louisville Cardinals this weekend. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT, from Jim Patterson Stadium. First pitch for the Saturday and Sunday games will be at Noon CT. Louisville is ranked fifth in the Baseball America top-25 poll, 14th by Perfect Game USA, 19th in the Collegiate Baseball poll, and No. 20 in the USA Today Sports Coaches’ and the NCBWA polls.
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