Baseball Returns Home for Two Midweek Games against Memphis

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Taylor Guilbeau leads the Crimson Tide starters with a 2.30 ERA.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Taylor Guilbeau leads the Crimson Tide starters with a 2.30 ERA.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

March 11, 2013

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Crimson Tide (8-7) returns home to begin a five-game homestand on Tuesday, playing a pair of midweek games against Memphis (9-5) on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both games between Alabama and Memphis will begin at 6:05 p.m. CST, from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The Crimson Tide is coming off an 8-7 loss in 10 innings to No. 5 Louisville on Sunday. With the extra-inning loss to the Cardinals, the Tide was swept in Louisville, Ky. After opening the season with a 6-0 start, Alabama has dropped seven of its last nine games, and is currently riding a four-game losing streak.

Memphis will make the trip to Tuscaloosa with a 9-5 overall record after taking two of three games against Buffalo this past weekend. Since opening the season with a 1-3 start, the Tigers are 8-2 in their last 10 games. Memphis posted a three-game sweep over SEC member Missouri, before defeating eighth-ranked Mississippi, 4-3, to post a 4-0 record against the SEC this season.

All Alabama baseball games throughout the 2013 season will be broadcast by the Crimson Tide Sports Network (CTSM). The games against Memphis on Tuesday and Wednesday will be broadcast live on 95.3 FM The Bear in Tuscaloosa, and elsewhere on the CTSM network. Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey will provide the commentary for both games. Livestats will also be available on RollTide.com. A live webcast of all three games of the series will be available through the Alabama website at www.RollTide.com/TideTV, as part of the school’s subscription package.

Alabama is slated to start sophomore left-handed pitcher Taylor Guilbeau (1-0, 2.30 ERA) on Tuesday, and he will face junior lefty Alex Gunn (0-1, 0.69 ERA) in game one. Alabama has not named a pitcher for Wednesday’s game, but Memphis is slated to start senior lefty Michael Wills (0-0, 2.89 ERA).

Probable Pitching Matchups
Tuesday                          W-L  ERA   G/GS  IP    H   R  ER  BB  SO
UA-Taylor Guilbeau (Soph., LHP)  1-0  2.30  5/3   15.2  13  5  4   13  15
MEM-Alex Gunn (Jr., LHP)         0-1  0.69  4/4   13.0  11  4  1   0   9

Wednesday                        W-L  ERA   G/GS  IP    H   R  ER  BB  SO
UA-TBA
MEM-Michael Wills (Sr., LHP)     0-0  2.89  2/2   9.1   12  3  3   5   8

Alabama Quick Hitters
• Alabama has lost seven of its last nine games after starting the season 6-0.
• After being swept by No. 5 Louisville last weekend, the Crimson Tide has lost its last four 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 3.40 ERA with 130 strikeouts to rank sixth in the SEC. Of its 130 strikeouts this season, 46 have been looking, which ranks fourth in the conference.
• Alabama is averaging 8.7 strikeouts per game this season.
• The Tide is 22-for-26 (.846) in stolen base attempts and ranks seventh in the SEC in stolen bases. Alabama was 13-for-13 in stolen base attempts to open the season.
• Alabama is outscoring its opponents 12-1 in the sixth inning and 17-5 in the eighth inning. However, Bama is being outscored 7-1 in the third, 14-5 in the seventh and 6-0 in the ninth innings.
• Alabama has converted all five of its save opportunities and is fourth in the SEC with five saves.
• Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard has filled out the lineup card at the Capstone 200 times in four years with Sunday’s game at Louisville.
Brett Booth continues to lead the Tide in average (.298), runs (16), slugging percentage (.447), walks (14) and on-base percentage (.460), is tied for the team lead in home runs (2) with Ben Moore, and is second on the club with 10 RBI. Booth, who had 10 walks in 55 games last season, leads the team with 14 this year to rank fifth in the SEC. Defensively, Booth has thrown out nine would-be base stealers, which is second most in the conference.
 
Predicted to finish sixth in the Preseason Conference USA coaches poll, the Memphis Tigers enter the two-game set against Alabama with a 9-5 overall record. The Tigers have won eight of their last 10 games, which include four wins over Southeastern Conference opponents. The Tigers are hitting .270 as a team, while averaging 5.0 runs and 8.8 hits per outing, while the pitching staff has a 2.34 earned run average while holding opponents to a .225 batting average for the year. The Tigers have 132 strikeouts (9.4 per game) while walking 46 batters (3.2 per game) this season.

The leading hitter for the Tigers is the catcher/designated hitter Keaton Aldridge with a .410 average. Aldridge has one of the team’s four home runs, with five RBI and seven runs scored. Outfielder Jake Little leads the team in extra base hits with six, which include a team-high two home runs to go along with a pair of doubles and two triples. Little, who’s hitting .326, leads the team with 11 runs scored and is second on the squad with nine RBI. The team leader in RBI is Tucker Tubbs with 10. Tubbs is also tied for the team lead with four doubles, while hitting .300 for the season.

Tuesday starting pitcher Alex Gunn has a 0-1 record with a 0.69 ERA in four starts this season. Gunn has thrown 13.0 innings, allowing four runs (one earned) with nine strikeouts and no walks. Wednesday starter Michael Wills is 0-0 with a 2.89 ERA in two starts this season. In 9.1 innings pitched, Wills has allowed 12 hits, three earned runs, has eight strikeouts and five walks.

When Alabama and Memphis play on Tuesday and Wednesday, it will make games 17 and 18 all-time between the two schools. Alabama holds an 11-5 record against the Tigers and is 8-1 all-time at home against Memphis. Tuesday’s game will be the first between the two schools since 2006, when the Tigers defeated the Tide 2-0 in Tuscaloosa on Feb. 21. Head coach Mitch Gaspard will coach is first ever game against Memphis on Tuesday.

In the 14-inning game to open the series at No. 5 Louisville (March 8), Austen Smith recorded 21 putouts, to set an Alabama single-game record. Smith topped Clay Jones’ single-game record when the first baseman recorded 18 putouts against LSU on April 18, 2010, also a 14-inning game. In three seasons with the Tide, Smith has 789 career putouts, and will need 16 more to tie Matt Frick (1997-98) and Frank Velleggia (1982-84) for 10th all-time on the career records list.

Following the two-game set against Memphis, Alabama will open Southeastern Conference play against Tennessee this weekend. Alabama will host the Vols for three games, beginning on Friday night with first pitch slated for 6:35 p.m. CST, at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Game two is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CST on Saturday and Sunday’s game will start at 1:05 p.m. CST. Game two is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CST on Saturday and Sunday’s game will start at 1:05 p.m. CST.

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