March 13, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - After posting a 12-1 victory over Samford on Tuesday, the Alabama Crimson Tide (10-5, 0-0 SEC) will open Southeastern Conference play at home against the No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats this weekend. The series between Alabama and Kentucky begins on Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT. Game two will be Saturday at 6 p.m. CT, and the finale will be Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
Prior to Friday's game, Alabama will recognize Justin Kamplain, Jay Shaw and Geoffrey Bramblett, who combined to throw UA's first 9-inning no-hitter since 1942.
The Tide is 4-0 in its season-long nine-game homestad after posting three wins over Mississippi Valley State and a win over Samford. The Tide is 8-2 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Dating back to the Sunday game of the UL-Lafayette series, Alabama has won a season-long six straight games entering the series against Kentucky, and the Tide is 7-3 in its last 10 games. The Crimson Tide has won three of its four weekend series.
Alabama (10-5, 0-0 SEC) vs. Kentucky (13-4, 0-0 SEC)
Sewell-Thomas Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Schedule - Friday, 6:35 p.m., Saturday, 6:05 p.m., Sunday, 1:05 p.m.
Television - None
Steaming - RollTide.com (TIDETv subscription)
Radio - Tide 99.1 FM and CTSN
Livestats - Rolltide.com
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday-UA-Spencer Turnbull (Jr., RHP, 1-1, 0.42) vs. Kent-A.J. Reed (Jr., LHP, 3-0, 1.38)
SaturdayUA-Justin Kamplain (Jr., LHP, 2-1, 2.45 vs. Kent-Chandler Shepherd (Jr., RHP, 3-0, 2.42
Sunday-UA-Jon Keller (Jr., LHP, 4-0, 0.83) vs. Kent-TBA
Follow the Tide Live
All Alabama baseball games throughout the 2014 season will be broadcast by the Crimson Tide Sports Network (CTSN). The radio broadcast for all games of the 2014 season will be available on 99.1 FM in Tuscaloosa and available on the CTSN throughout the state, unless there are scheduling conflicts. Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey will provide the call for all three games of the Kentucky series. The games will be available on the CTSN, locally on 99.1 FM in Tuscaloosa and online at RollTide.com, through the subscription plan on TIDETV. Livestats will be available on RollTide.com.
About the Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide is hitting .267 as a team, while averaging 4.8 runs and 9.3 hits per game. When the Tide scores three or more runs in a game they are 10-0. Alabama's 21 hits against UL-Lafayette on March 2, marked the first 20-hit performance for UA since having 20 against Tennessee on March 17, 2013, and the most since having 23 hits against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 27, 2010. The Alabama pitching staff has been outstanding this season, posting the fourth best ERA in the SEC and ninth best ERA in the country at 1.71. In 137 innings, Alabama has given up 32 runs (26 earned) on 78 hits with 123 strikeouts and 51 walks. Opponents are hitting just .174 against the Tide this season, which ranks second in the SEC. Alabama is second in the country, allowing 5.2 hits per game. In 60 innings this season, the Tide bullpen has allowed just 11 runs (9 earned) for a 1.35 ERA, while allowing a .218 batting average.
Offensively, Alabama is paced by senior first baseman Austen Smith, who has team-highs with a .362 average and 11 RBI this season. Georgie Salem is riding an eight-game hitting streak and is second on the team with a .318 average. Ben Moore is hitting .300 and leads the team with five double, a .433 slugging percentage and 12 runs scored. Freshman catcher Will Haynie has been on a tear of late, posting a .526 average over his last five games. He is now hitting .297 this season with two doubles and a home run.
Alabama will start Spencer Turnbull (1-1, 0.42) on Friday, Justin Kamplain (2-1, 2.45) on Saturday and Jon Keller (4-0, 0.83) on Sunday. Turnbull earned his first win of the season last Friday after throwing seven shutout innings against Mississippi Valley State. Kamplain is coming off seven no-hit innings against the Delta Devils where he struck out a career-high 12 batters. Keller, who is tied for the SEC lead with four wins this season, will make his second start of the season on Sunday. Last week, Keller threw six scoreless innings against MVSU, allowing one hit with seven strikeouts in his first start of the year.
About the No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky enters this weekend ranked No. 20 by Baseball America and No. 21 by the NCWBA, in the USA Today Coaches Poll and by Collegiate Baseball, and No. 18 by Perfect Game USA. The Wildcats are one of the most prolific hitting teams in the country, ranking first in batting average (.337), scoring (184/10.8 rpg), hits (205) and on base percentage (.449), while ranking second in slugging percentage (.499). On the mound, Kentucky has a 2.74 ERA while allowing the opposition to hit .219 against them. UK is allowing 3.9 runs and 7.3 hits per game.
A.J. Reed has been a star on the mound and at the plate for the Wildcats. The Friday night starter has a 3-0 record with a 1.38 ERA in four starts this season. Offensively, Reed is hitting .414 with a nation-leading eight home runs. He also leads the country with 28 RBI and is third with a .897 slugging percentage. Junior outfielder Austin Cousino leads the team with a .432 batting average to go along with nine doubles and 25 runs scored, ranking second in the SEC in all three categories. In addition to Reed and Cousino, Michael Thomas is hitting .400, Ka'al Thom has a .362 average, Max Kuhn is hitting .361 and Kyle Barrett has a .324 average. Kuhn leads the country with 26 runs scored.
Saturday starting pitcher Chandler Shepherd is 3-0 in four starts this season, posting a 2.42 ERA in 26 innings pitched. Dylan Dwyer leads the team with 25 strikeouts in 22.1 innings, posting a 1-1 record with a 4.43 ERA in four starts this season. Spencer Jack leads the team with eight appearances out of the bullpen, posting a 1-0 record with a 0.00 ERA in 12 innings.
All-time Series against Kentucky
In a series that dates back to the 1925 season, this weekend's series will mark games 93-95 of the all-time series. Alabama holds a 56-36 advantage in the series. In the last series, the Wildcats swept all three games when the teams met in Lexington, Ky., during the 2012 campaign. In the last series played in Tuscaloosa, the Tide swept the Wildcats during the 2011 season.
On Deck for the Tide
After the three-game SEC series against No. 20 Kentucky, Alabama will close its nine-game homestand with a two-game midweek series against the Alcorn State Braves. The series will be played on March 18 and 19, with first pitch on Tuesday night at 6:05 p.m. and 5:05 p.m. on Wednesday. Alabama is 16-1 all-time versus the Braves, after winning both games of a midweek series last season.