Alabama Baseball Takes On Kentucky for Three This Weekend

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Brock Bennett is batting .435 at home this season.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Brock Bennett is batting .435 at home this season.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

March 24, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama baseball team (15-7, 2-1 SEC) continues Southeastern Conference competition on Friday, March 25 with game one of a three-game series against Kentucky (14-8, 2-1 SEC). First pitch for Friday's game is slated for 6:35 p.m. at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, game two begins at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday, and game three gets underway at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.

Games 23-25
Friday-Sunday, March 25-27
Alabama (15-7, 2-1 SEC) at Kentucky (14-8, 2-1 SEC)
Sewell-Thomas Stadium (6,571) • Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (CTSN)
Play-by-Play: Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey
Stations: WFFN-FM 95.3, WTSK-AM 790- Tuscaloosa, and CTSN Affiliates
TV: None
Streaming Audio: www.RollTide.com
Live Stats: www.RollTide.com

Alabama on the Radio
The three games of the SEC weekend series between Alabama and Kentucky can be heard on the on the radio through the Crimson Tide Sports Network. The games can be heard on WFFN-FM 95.3 and WTSK-AM 790 in Tuscaloosa, as well as other stations around Alabama, or on RollTide.com. Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey will call the action for the broadcast live from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Kentucky Wildcats at a Glance
Kentucky opened the season at a weekend invitation by the College of Charleston and fell in three consecutive contests to the host Cougars, Marshall, and Miami (Ohio).  Since that weekend the Wildcats are 14-5, and are coming off a 4-2 win over Cincinnati on Tuesday and a 12-4 triumph over Canisius on Wednesday. Kentucky opened SEC play with a series win over Tennessee at home Tennessee last weekend, winning games one and three of the series. The Kentucky offense has outscored its opponents 136-99 this season behind some power that has tallied 16 home runs, which is fourth in the conference. As a team, Kentucky is hitting .312 overall, good for sixth best in the SEC. Chad Wright (.355), Braden Kapteyn (.321) and Michael Williams (.264) have all hit three homers so far this season to lead the club. Kapteyn also leads the team with 21 RBI, while Wright is tied with Taylor Black for second on the club with 18 RBI. Wright also leads the team with 11 stolen bases. Freshman J.T. Riddle has emerged as one of the Wildcats' most consistent hitters, posting a team-leading .373 average while collecting 10 RBI and has yet to commit an error in 15 starts in the outfield this year. On the mound, Kentucky ranks 10th in the SEC with a 3.69 team ERA. The Wildcats are led by starters Alex Meyer (3-2, 2.60 ERA), Jordan Cooper (1-1, 5.40 ERA), and Taylor Rogers (2-1, 4.45 ERA), who should start Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively. Two position players have found time on the mound and earned saves for the Wildcats including OF/LHP Mike Kaczmarek (four saves) and INF/RHP Braden Kapteyn (two saves). Trevor Gott (1-1) has also been a dependable reliever for the visitors, throwing 14.2 innings without allowing an earned run.

Series History Versus Kentucky
Alabama and Kentucky have met on the diamond 86 times and the Crimson Tide have come away victorious in 53 of those games. Kentucky has won six of the last 10 contests, including a home sweep in 2008.  Last season, the Wildcats took two out of three against Alabama in Lexington. In the last game, Alabama trailed 9-0 entering the sixth before rallying to score 11 straight runs and net an 11-9 victory.

The Last Outing
Alabama won its fourth straight game following 9-5 win over Jacksonville State on Wednesday night, while improving to 13-1 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium this season. The Tide opened an 8-1 lead behind a five-run third inning - the most in an inning this season - before the Gamecocks scored four times in the seventh and eighth innings to cut the lead to 8-4. The Crimson Tide added a run in the bottom of the eighth, as starting pitcher Trey Pilkington improved to 1-0 on the season. Brett Whitaker also picked up his second save of the season. Josh Rosecrans had the big night offensively for Alabama, posting a 3-for-5 performance from the plate, with a home run (second of the year) and four RBI. The three hits and four RBI were career-highs for the junior transfer from Wichita State. Jared Reaves and Austen Smith had two hits each, and center fielder Taylor Dugas was 1-for-2 with three walks and two runs scored, extending his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the fourth inning.

Tide at the Joe
Following wins over UAB and Jacksonville State this week, Alabama is now 13-1 when playing at Sewell-Thomas Stadium this season. The Tide has won 36 of its last 44 games at The Joe, and since 1948, Alabama has a 1,121-468 (.705) all-time record at the current location. As a team, Alabama is hitting .313 at home, while the pitching staff is holding the opponents to a .202 batting average with a 2.11 ERA. Jared Reaves is hitting .489 (23-for-47) with 17 runs and 14 RBI, and with 12 free passes (eight walks, four HBP) he has an on-base percentage of .574. Brock Bennett has a .435 average (20-for-46), Andrew Miller is hitting .371 (13-for-35) with five walks, five hit by pitches, and three doubles, and Taylor Dugas is hitting .319 (15-for-47) with 17 runs scored, has six doubles, two triples and a .468 OBP.

Dugas Joins 200-Hit Club
When Taylor Dugas recorded his second hit against Eastern Illinois on March 13, he notched his 200th hit at Alabama, becoming the 19th player in school history to reach the 200-hit mark. He finished the series against Mississippi with five hits to bring his career total to 206 and passed Alex Avila (2006-08) for 18th place all-time. With one hit against both UAB and Jacksonville State, Dugas tied Brandon May (2007-09) for 17th place on the Alabama hit list. He needs three hits to pass Beau Hearod (2001-03) for 16th.

On Deck for the Tide
The Crimson Tide will play two midweek games against UAB and South Alabama, before hosting Arkansas for three games on the weekend. Alabama will travel to Hoover, Ala., to take on the Blazers at Regions Park on Tuesday, with first pitch slated for 6:05 p.m. The Tide defeated UAB 6-3 on March 22 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama then returns home on Wednesday night for a 6:05 p.m. first pitch against the Jaguars.