April 3, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 22-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (19-11, 7-2 SEC) will host the ninth-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks in a three-game Southeastern Conference series beginning on Thursday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Game one of the series will be televised on ESPNU with Dave Neal and Kyle Peterson calling the action. First pitch is scheduled for 7:03 p.m. CST. Game two on Friday will start at 6:35 p.m. CST, and the series finale on Saturday will begin at 1:05 p.m. CST.
All Alabama baseball games throughout the 2013 season will be broadcast by the Crimson Tide Sports Network (CTSN). All three games of the Arkansas 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 RollTide.com. With exception of the Thursday night game, a live webcast will be available on RollTide.com through the subscription package.
Thursday will be the "Night at the Joe," with the first 500 UA students receiving a FREE Hot Dog and the first 1,500 UA Students will receive a "Built-By-Bama" Koozie. Saturday will be Military Appreciation Day and Kids Day. The first 500 fans will receive an Alabama Baseball Camo T-shirt and all kids 18 and under will receive free admission. Also, the first 250 kids 12 and under to enter the ball park will receive a FREE hot dog and drink.
Additionally on Saturday, the DRASH softball team will put on a post-game hitting exhibition.
Alabama is coming off a 9-1 non-conference win over Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday night. The Tide posted a series win on the road at Auburn last week, and is currently in second place in the SEC Western Division with a 7-2 conference record. The Crimson Tide is ranked No. 22 by Collegiate Baseball News and is receiving votes in the USA Today Sports Coaches and NCBWA polls.
Arkansas enters the weekend after winning two of three games against Mississippi State last weekend. The Razorbacks have won seven of their last eight games. Arkansas is ranked ninth by the NCBWA, 11th by Collegiate Baseball, 12th by Perfect Game and in the USA Today Sports Coaches poll, and 14th by Baseball America.
Alabama will start RHP Charley Sullivan (3-1, 2.60 ERA) on Thursday, LHP Jon Keller (3-3, 3.36 ERA) on Friday and RHP Spencer Turnbull (3-1, 2.59 ERA) on Saturday. Arkansas is scheduled to start RHP Barrett Astin (2-1, 2.60 ERA) Thursday, RHP Ryne Stanek (2-2, 2.24) Friday, and LHP Randall Fant (2-0, 1.26 ERA) on Saturday.
Probable Starting Pitchers
THURSDAY W-L ERA G/GS IP H R ER BB SO
UA-Charley Sullivan (Sr., RHP) 3-1 2.60 7/7 45.0 42 15 13 10 42
ARK-Barrett Astin (Jr., RHP) 2-1 2.60 9/5 34.2 33 11 10 7 24
FRIDAY W-L ERA G/GS IP H R ER BB SO
UA-Jon Keller (Soph., LHP) 3-3 3.86 7/7 37.1 36 19 16 17 40
ARK-Ryne Stanek (Jr., RHP) 2-2 2.34 7/7 34.2 26 16 9 16 33
SATURDAY W-L ERA G/GS IP H R ER BB SO
UA-Spencer Turnbull (Soph., RHP) 3-1 2.59 7/7 41.2 45 17 12 15 23
ARK-Randall Fant (Sr., LHP) 2-0 1.26 5/5 28.2 22 6 4 3 26
ALABAMA QUICK HITTERS
Alabama has had two season-long winning streaks of six games this season. The Crimson Tide has won eight of its last 10 games overall, including going 5-2 in a seven game road stretch.
Alabama opened the season with a 6-0 start, then dropped eight of its next 10 games, before winning eight of its last 10.
Alabama snapped a season-long five-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over Memphis on March 13.
The Tide is 12-9 against non-conference opponents this season and has a 6-3 record in midweek games.
The Crimson Tide are 17-0 when leading after six, 18-0 when leading after seven and 19-0 when leading after eight innings.
The Alabama pitching staff has a 3.16 ERA with 216 strikeouts to rank seventh in the SEC. Of its 216 strikeouts, 87 have been looking, which ranks second in the conference.
Alabama pitchers are averaging 7.4 strikeouts per game.
The Tide is 36-for-51 (.705) in stolen base attempts and ranks sixth in the SEC in stolen bases.
Alabama is outscoring its opponents 23-11 in the first inning, 22-4 in the sixth inning and 31-10 in the eighth inning. However, Bama is being outscored 20-14 in the seventh and 10-0 in the ninth innings.
Alabama has converted all 11 of its save opportunities and is second in the SEC with 11 saves.
With four saves in his last five outings, freshman RHP Ray Castillo leads the team with five saves to rank eighth in the SEC.
During SEC play, Alabama leads the conference with a .305 team batting average, a .379 on-base percentage, 59 runs, 96 hits and 50 runs batted in. UA is fourth in doubles (12) and fourth in slugging percentage (.381) during SEC play.
On the pitching side during SEC games, UA is second in the SEC with four saves and 61 hits allowed, is third in ERA (2.36) and opponent's batting average (.228) and eighth in strikeouts (55).
Brett Booth, who had 10 walks in 55 games last season, is tied for the team lead with 16 this season. Booth is also sixth in the SEC with a team-high 27 runs scored. Defensively, Booth has thrown out 23 runners (including three pick-offs). His 20 runners caught stealing are the most in the SEC.
Last season in 43 games, Kenny Roberts has nine walks and five HBP. In 29 games in 2013, Roberts has 15 walks and six HBP for 21 free passes and a team-high .397 on-base percentage.
Arkansas enters the SEC series against Alabama with a 21-8 overall record and are third in the SEC Western Division with a 6-3 conference mark. Arkansas has won seven of its last eight games, which includes a home series win over Mississippi State last week and a sweep of South Carolina on the road two weekends ago. The Razorbacks have the top pitching staff in the SEC and the nation, as they have a 1.68 ERA this season. Offensively, Arkansas is hitting .276 as a team to rank eighth in the SEC and averages 6.0 runs and 9.3 hits per game.
Brian Anderson leads the team with a .337 average and 22 runs scored and is tied with Matt Vinson for the team lead with six doubles and two triples. Vinson is third on the team with a .320 average. Tyler Spoon leads the team with three home runs and 34 RBI while hitting .325 for the year. On the mound, Thursday starter Barrett Astin will be making his fifth start. Astin has a 2.60 ERA and is tied for the team lead with 34.2 innings pitched. Ryne Stanek will be making his team-leading eighth start of the season on Friday. Stanek has a 2.34 ERA in 34.2 innings pitched and leads the team with 33 strikeouts. Randall Fant, who will start the series finale, has five starts this season and has a 2-0 record with a 1.26 ERA in 28.2 innings, with 26 strikeouts.
The series between Alabama and Arkansas will mark games 66-68 between the two schools. Alabama holds a 37-28 advantage in the series all-time, after the Razorbacks swept the Tide in Fayetteville last season. When the teams last played in Tuscaloosa, Alabama posted a series victory over the No. 13-ranked Razorbacks during the 2011 season. The Crimson Tide is 21-7 at home all-time versus Arkansas, and head coach Mitch Gaspard has a 3-8 record all-time versus the Razorbacks.
Over the last 14 games, the Alabama bats have come alive, helping the Tide post an 11-3 record. The Tide is hitting .295 as a team over the last 14 games, five players are hitting over .300, and the team has had double digits in hits in eight of those games. In the last 14 games, Alabama has collected 30 extra base hits (23 doubles, three triples, and four home runs) for a .385 team slugging percentage. Alabama had 18 extra base hits in its first 16 games of the season. Kyle Overstreet leads the team with a .353 average during that stretch, with four doubles, a triple and 10 RBI and has a .471 slugging percentage and a .441 on-base percentage. Austen Smith has a .340 average with four doubles and three home runs for a team-high .585 slugging percentage. He also had 13 RBI and 14 runs scored to lead the club during the 14-game stretch. Ben Moore is hitting .339 with four doubles, two triples, nine RBI, and 12 runs scored, has five walks and was hit by a pitch in the last 14 games. Kenny Roberts is hitting .327 with a home run and eight RBI and Georgie Salem has a .317 average with 10 RBI and nine runs scored in the last 14 games. Salem is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak.
Alabama posted a 9-1 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday night, scoring six runs in the sixth inning, then three more in the seventh. UA got a pair of three-run home runs by Kenny Roberts and Austen Smith in the six-run, sixth. Starting pitcher Tucker Hawley went five innings, but did not factor into the decision. Mike Oczypok relieved Hawley, threw one inning, allowing a run on two hits with two strikeouts for his first collegiate victory. Roberts was 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored, Smith was 1-for-3 with three RBI and a run, and Georgie Salem was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run. Justin Kamplain threw one inning, allowing a hit with two strikeouts, Mitch Greer went one inning, allowing two hits with a strikeout, and Ray Castillo threw a scoreless ninth, allowing a hit and striking out three.
Alabama has turned a total of 37 double plays this season, to rank fifth in the country in total double plays. The Tide's 1.3 double plays per game rank seventh in the country. Alabama turned a total of seven in the series against Auburn, including a season-high four in the game on Saturday. The Tide currently ranks second in the SEC behind Mississippi State (41) in double plays turned for the season.
Following the Arkansas series, Alabama remains home to host Alcorn State for a pair of midweek games on next week. The two-game set against the Braves will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday, with first pitch for both games slated for 6:05 p.m. CST, from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama is 14-1 all-time against Alcorn State and head coach Mitch Gaspard is 3-0 in his career against the Braves.
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