Dec. 20, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - With Friday's release of the Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division I preseason poll, the Alabama Crimson Tide will enter the 2014 season ranked 29th.
Fifth-year head coach Mitch Gaspard and his staff of former Alabama All-Americans Dax Norris and Andy Phillips, look forward to an exciting season of Alabama baseball in 2014, as Tide returns 21 players, including nine pitchers and five position starters from last year's NCAA Regional squad, while adding another list of outstanding recruits.
Alabama is coming off a 2013 season that saw the Tide post a 35-28 overall record while finishing Southeastern Conference play with a 14-15 mark, en route to the school's 23rd NCAA Regional appearance and third in four years under the guidance of Gaspard.
The Crimson Tide will open the 2014 season with six straight home games and welcomes the Saint Louis Billikens to Sewell-Thomas Stadium for a three-game series Feb. 14-16 to open the season. Alabama then hosts Stephen F. Austin on Feb. 21-23, before hitting the road for five straight games.
Highlighting the returning players for Alabama are 2013 Freshman All-Americans Mikey White at shortstop and right-handed pitcher Ray Castillo, who turned in an Alabama freshman record with 12 saves last season. Additionally, the Tide returns 2013 Gold Glove second baseman Kyle Overstreet.
On the mound, Alabama returns 409 of its 574 innings pitched from a year ago, to give the Tide a very experienced pitching staff that finished the 2013 season with a 3.70 earned run average. The pitching staff will be led by senior right-handed relief pitcher Tucker Hawley (5-2, 2.93) and junior starters Spencer Turnbull (4-3, 3.70) and Justin Kamplain (1-0, 4.77). Alabama also returns relievers Jay Shaw (2-1, 1.61), Taylor Guilbeau (4-2, 3.14) and Mike Oczypok (5-2, 3-02) to the staff.
The Crimson Tide also welcomed a talented recruiting class to the team for the 2014 season, which is highlighted by pitchers Nick Eicholtz and Geoffrey Bramblett, who were both 2013 MLB draftees. Other highly touted incoming players include left-handed pitcher Thomas Burrows, catcher Will Haynie and outfielders Hunter Webb, Casey Hughston and William Elliott.
Cal State Fullerton headlines the publication's top five, followed by Mississippi State, LSU, Oregon State and Florida State. Alabama is one of eight teams from the SEC ranked in the Collegiate Baseball top 40 preseason poll. All 14 teams from the SEC are in the preseason poll as Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee all receiving votes.
To be part of the excitement of the 2014 Alabama baseball season, purchase tickets at RollTide.com or call the ticket office at 1.877.TIDETIX.Purchased season tickets for the 2014 season will be shipped in early February. Single game and Mini Packs will go on sale on February, 2014.
Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaBSB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.
Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division I Poll
1. Cal State Fullerton
2. Mississippi State
4. Oregon State
5. Florida State
10. N.C. State
11. North Carolina
14. South Carolina
18. Oklahoma State
22. Arizona State
25. Texas A&M
27. Cal Poly
28. Kansas State
30. Ole Miss
31. Western Carolina
33. San Diego
34. Wichita State
36. Tennessee Tech
37. New Mexico
38. East Carolina
39. UC-Santa Barbara
40. Coastal Carolina
Other Teams Receiving Votes: Arkansas, UNLV, Auburn, San Diego St., Fresno St., Southern California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, South Alabama, San Francisco, Loyola Marymount, Brigham Young, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech., Mercer, U.C. Irvine, Missouri St., Pepperdine, Troy, Sam Houston St., Austin Peay St., Bryant, Florida Atlantic, N.C. Wilmington, Houston, Central Florida, St. Louis, Creighton, Campbell, Nebraska, Gonzaga, Sacramento St., New Mexico St., St. John's, Cal. St. Bakersfield, Ohio St., Michigan, Southern Mississippi, Kent St., Illinois St., Appalachian St., The Citadel, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Southeastern Louisiana, California, Washington, Washington St., West Virginia, Baylor, Minnesota, Stony Brook, Dallas Baptist, UT Arlington, Texas St., Maine, South Florida, Connecticut, Virginia Tech., Pittsburgh, Missouri, Notre Dame, North Florida, East Tennessee St., Florida Gulf Coast, Virginia Commonwealth, Rhode Island, Charlotte.