Baseball Travels to Rival Auburn for Weekend Series

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Kenny Roberts leads the Tide with a .409 average is SEC play.
Kenny Roberts leads the Tide with a .409 average is SEC play.

March 27, 2013

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Crimson Tide (16-10, 5-1 SEC) will complete a seven-game road swing when it travels to Auburn, Ala., for three games against the Auburn Tigers (15-10, 0-6 SEC) this weekend. The series begins on Thursday at 6 p.m. CST, from Plainsman Park. Game two will be Friday at 6 p.m. CST, and the series wraps up on Saturday with a 3 p.m. CST, first pitch.

All Alabama baseball games throughout the 2013 season will be broadcast by the Crimson Tide Sports Network (CTSN). All three games of the Auburn series will be broadcast on 95.3 The Bear with Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey providing the play-by-play. Livestats will also be available on There will be a live webcast for the Thursday and Friday games through the subscription package on Saturday’s game will be televised on CSS with Matt Stewart and Joe Beckwith calling the action.

Alabama had its six-game losing streak snapped on Tuesday night after losing to UAB, 1-0, when the teams played at the Hoover Met. In its most recent SEC action, the Tide posted a road series sweep at Georgia, winning 6-3 on Friday and Saturday, before posting a 3-0 win on Sunday. Auburn is coming off an 11-2 loss to Troy on Tuesday night. The Tigers are looking for their first SEC victory after being swept by Vanderbilt and LSU to open the year.

For the weekend series, Alabama will start RHP Charley Sullivan (2-1, 2.92) on Thursday, LHP Jon Keller (3-2, 2.78) on Friday and RHP Spencer Turnbull (2-1, 3.31) on Saturday. The Auburn rotation for the weekend will be LHP Conner Kendrick (2-0, 1.46) on Thursday and lefty Michael O’Neal (4-2, 2.78) on Friday. The Tigers have not announced a starter for Saturday.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday                           W-L  ERA    G/GS  IP    H   R   ER  BB  SO
UA-Charley Sullivan (Sr., RHP)     2-1  2.92   6/6   37.0  37  14  12  9   35
AUB-Conner Kendrick (Jr., LHP)     2-0  1.46  10/0   24.2  13  4   4   7   28

Friday                             W-L  ERA    G/GS  IP    H   R   ER  BB  SO
UA-Jon Keller (Soph., LHP)         3-2  2.78   6/6   32.1  30  13  10  14  38
AUB-Michael O’Neal (Jr., LHP)      4-2  2.78   6/6   35.2  29  15  11  8   16
Saturday                           W-L  ERA    G/GS  IP    H   R   ER  BB  SO
UA-Spencer Turnbull (Soph., RHP)   2-1  3.31   6/6   32.2  41  17  12  12  19

Alabama enters the weekend with a .335 batting average in six SEC games to lead the conference in average during conference play, as Kenny Roberts leads the team with a .409 average against SEC opponents. For the season, Alabama has a .258 average and is paced by senior catcher Brett Booth’s .316 average. Booth also leads the team and is second in the SEC with 26 runs scored this season. Ben Moore is hitting .313 and is tied for the team lead with Kyle Overstreet with 19 RBI.

The Auburn Tigers enter this weekend’s Southeastern Conference series with a 15-10 overall record after opening conference play with an 0-6 start. After losing to Troy, 11-2, on Tuesday and being swept by LSU last weekend, Auburn has dropped its last four games and seven of its last 10. Auburn is hitting .268 as a team, to rank 11th in the SEC, while average 5.6 runs and 8.8 hits per game during the 2013 season. The Tigers’ pitching staff has a 3.67 ERA with a .256 opponent’s batting average. Auburn has struck out 142 batters with 90 walks in 223.2 innings pitched.

The top hitter for Auburn is Garrett Cooper with a .351 average in 25 games. Cooper has team highs with 27 hits and 21 walks and is tied for the team lead in doubles (7) and triples (1). Jordan Ebert leads the team with two home runs and is second on the squad with a .317 average. Blake Austin and Cullen Wacker are hitting .310 and .309, respectively, and Ryan Tella leads the team with 23 RBI.

Left-handed pitcher Conner Kendrick will make his first start of the season on Thursday. Kendrick, who threw six scoreless innings against Alabama in the MAX Capital City Classic, is 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA this season. Michael O’Neal (4-2, 2.78) will make his seventh start of the year and leads the team with 35.2 innings pitched.

The series between Alabama and Auburn will mark games 269-271 all-time between the two schools. Alabama holds a 146-122 record all-time versus the Tigers after sweeping the SEC series in Tuscaloosa last season and losing the MAX Capital City Classic, 6-3, earlier this year. Following the non-conference loss to Auburn on March 5, the Tide is 4-6 in the last 10 meetings against the Tigers. Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard is 7-7 all-time versus the Tigers and 1-2 when playing at Plainsman Park.

Alabama had its six-game winning streak snapped with a 1-0 loss to UAB on Tuesday night at the Hoover Met. The Tide was limited to just four hits and three walks in the game. Starting pitcher Tucker Hawley took the loss after winning in his first two starts of the year. Hawley threw 5.0 innings, allowing one earned run on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts. The game’s only run came when UAB third baseman John Frost had a bases loaded single in the bottom of the third inning.

After seven straight road games, Alabama will return home to face the Southeastern Louisiana Lions on Tuesday, with first pitch at 6:05 p.m., from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Tuesday’s game against the Lions will be the only game against SELU this season. Alabama is 10-1 all-time against SE Louisiana, and head coach Mitch Gaspard is 1-1 against the Lions in his four seasons at Alabama. In the most recent meeting, SELU posted a 10-9 win over the Crimson Tide on Feb. 25, 2011, as part of the South Alabama Classic.

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