April 10, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Following 2-1 midweek home loss to the UAB Blazers on Tuesday night, the No. 9-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (22-10, 8-4 SEC) will host the Auburn Tigers (20-14, 5-7 SEC) in a three-game Southeastern Conference series this weekend. The series begins on Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CT from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The series continues on Saturday with a 6:05 p.m. CT first pitch, and wraps up on Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. CT start.
After posting a 3-1 record last week, Alabama made another jump in this week’s national ranking, returning to the top-10 for the first time since the 2009 season. The Tide is ranked No. 9 by Collegiate Baseball, marking the highest ranking in that poll since earning a No. 10 ranking in May of 2009. Alabama returned to the top-10 in the Baseball America poll, earning a No. 10 ranking this week. It’s the first time Bama has been in the Baseball America top-10 since the final poll of the 2006 campaign. UA is ranked No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and the NCBWA poll and 18th by Perfect Game USA.
Alabama has won seven of its last nine games and 18 of the last 23 overall. The Crimson Tide enters the fifth week of SEC play in first place in the Western Division and overall conference standings with an 8-4 SEC record. The Crimson Tide has won all five home weekend series this season.
No. 9 Alabama (22-10, 8-4 SEC) vs. Auburn (20-14, 5-7 SEC)
Sewell-Thomas Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Schedule – Friday, 6:35 p.m. CT, Saturday, 6:05 p.m. CT, Sunday, 1:05 p.m. CT
Television – None
Steaming – RollTide.com (Subscription)
Radio – Tide 99.1 FM and CTSN
Livestats – RollTide.com
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday – UA Spencer Turnbull (Jr., RHP, 4-1, 1.58 ERA) vs. AUB-Dillon Ortman (Sr., RHP, 5-2, 2.11 ERA)
Saturday – UA Justin Kamplain (Jr., LHP, 2-2, 4.06 ERA) vs. AUB-Keegan Thompson (Fr., RHP, 5-1, 1.71 ERA)
Sunday – UA Jon Keller (Jr., LHP, 5-1, 1.52 ERA) vs. AUB-Michael O’Neal (Sr., LHP, 2-3, 3.92 ERA)
“Night at The Joe”
The Alabama Athletics Department will host the 2014 “Night at The Joe” on Friday, which will include a live band performance by August Ashe from 5:00-6:15 p.m., outside the main entrance to Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Also, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. There will also be over a dozen prizes given away during the game, including gift cards, Alabama baseball gear, memorabilia and more. In order to win the prizes, fans must be Crimson Tide Rewards members and must scan in at the game to win.
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. Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey will provide the call for all three games of the Auburn 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 .273 as a team, while averaging 5.6 runs and 9.3 hits per game. When the Tide scores three or more runs they are 22-1, but 0-9 when scoring less than three runs. Alabama ranks fourth in the SEC with 21 home runs. The Tide hit 26 home runs in 63 games in 2013. In winning 18 of their last 23 games, the Tide is hitting .292 with 43 doubles, three triples and 17 home runs for a .424 slugging percentage, while averaging 6.5 runs and 9.9 hits per game during that stretch. Alabama’s had 10 hits or more in 17 games this season, including reaching the 10-hit mark in four of the last five games.
The Alabama pitching staff has been outstanding this season, posting the sixth-best ERA in the SEC at 2.40. In 289 innings, Alabama has given up 96 runs (77 earned) on 210 hits with 249 strikeouts and 105 walks. Opponents are hitting .207 against the Tide, which ranks fourth in the SEC. Alabama is fourth in the country, allowing 6.6 hits per game. In 112.2 innings, the Tide bullpen has allowed 36 runs (31 earned) for a 2.55 ERA, while allowing a .215 batting average. Alabama is 16-4 when playing at Sewell-Thomas Stadium and 6-6 away from home, including a 4-6 mark in road games and a 2-0 mark at neutral sites.
Hunter Webb, this week’s SEC Freshman of the Week, is tied with Mikey White for the longest current hitting streak on the team at seven games and Austen Smith and Chance Vincent have five-game hitting streaks. The Alabama pitching staff ranks sixth in the SEC and 17th nationally with a 2.23 ERA. The Tide ranks third in the SEC and fourth in the country allowing 6.6 hits per game.
The Alabama weekend rotation of Spencer Turnbull (1.58), Justin Kamplain (4.06) and Jon Keller (1.52) rank 16th nationally with a combined 2.35 ERA (based on at least five starts each).
About the Auburn Tigers
The Auburn Tigers enter the SEC series with a 20-14 overall record and are in sixth place in the SEC Western Division standings with a 5-7 conference mark. Auburn enters the game after posting a 6-0 victory over Troy on Tuesday night to snap a four-game losing streak. The Tigers have dropped their last two SEC series, losing two of three to Missouri at home two weeks ago before being swept at Ole Miss last weekend. Auburn ranks third in the SEC with a .295 team batting average and is posting 4.7 runs and 9.6 hits per game. The Tigers pitching staff has a 2.97 ERA, while opponents are hitting .237 against them. AU is allowing 3.8 runs and 8.0 hits per game.
Jordan Ebert enters the weekend with a .385 batting average to lead the team and the SEC. Ebert is third on the team with 19 RBI and fourth on the squad with 17 runs scored. Damek Tomscha is hitting .373 (3rd in the SEC) with team highs in home runs (5) and doubles (7), and is second on the team with 21 RBI. Ryan Tella his hitting .371 with five doubles, three home runs and 13 RBI and Blake Austin leads the team with 22 RBI while hitting .287 for the year.
Friday starter Dillon Ortman is 5-2 with a 2.11 ERA in eight starts. Ortman is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA and a complete game in four SEC starts. Keegan Thompson will start on Saturday and enters the series with a 5-1 record and a team-best 1.71 ERA in eight starts. Thompson has two complete games, while holding opponents to a .171 average. Thompson leads the team with 43 strikeouts and 58 innings. Michael O’Neal will start on Sunday and enters the series with 2-3 record with a 3.92 ERA in 10 appearances and six starts. O’Neal is 1-1 with a 5.62 ERA during SEC play. Terrance Dedrick leads the team with three saves, posting a 1-1 record with a 2.87 ERA out of the bullpen. Trey Cochran-Gill leads the team with 15 appearances, posting a 0-1 record with a 3.50 ERA.
All-Time Series versus Auburn
Alabama is 1-0 against Auburn this season, after winning the MAX Capital City Classic, 4-3, on March 4. In a series that dates back to the 1896 season, the three games will mark games 275-277 between the two teams. The Tide holds a 150-123 record all-time versus the Tigers. In the most recent SEC series, Alabama won two of three games over the Tigers when they met in Auburn last season. In the last meeting between the team in Tuscaloosa, Alabama swept the Tigers when they were ranked 23rd in the country during the 2013 campaign.
On Deck for the Tide
After this weekend’s three-game series against Auburn, Alabama will close out a five-game homestand with a Tuesday game against Jackson State. The midweek game between Alabama and JSU will begin at 6:05 p.m. CT, from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. In a series that dates back to the 1980 season, Tuesday’s game between the Tide and Tigers will mark the 18th meeting all-time, and the first meeting since the 1988 campaign. Alabama is 14-3 all-time versus Jackson State, while holding a 10-2 mark against the Tigers at home. UA and JSU split the two-game series during the 1988 season, and with a 3-2 win in 1987, the Tigers have won two of the last three games between the two schools.