Weather Looks Good For Baseball Start

Old Man Winter is acting like a baseball fan. College baseball opens Friday, and in Tuscaloosa, at least, the weather appears to be cooperating with spring-like temperatures this week.

Alabama begins play Friday hosting Alcorn State for games Friday (6 pm. CST), Saturday (2 p.m.), and Sunday (1 p.m.) at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Mitch Gaspard begins his second season as coach of the Crimson Tide. Bama went 45-25 in his first year and made it into the NCAA Super Regional. Alabama finished ranked 16th in the nation.

Alabama returns four position players, led by All-America center fielder Taylor Dugas, and two starting pitchers, Adam Morgan and Nathan Kilcrease, from last year. The Tide is replacing its entire infield except catcher, where Brock Bennett (who was named to the All-Southeastern Conference Tournament Team) returns.

Gaspard has been encouraged by pre-season practice. "The last few weeks, we've made a lot of improvement from fall," Gaspard said. "I know we're improving daily."

He said the strength of the team could be a pitching staff that may be as deep as nine players. "Pitching is going to give us a chance," Gaspard said.

On the other hand, depth is not good on an infield that is being rebuilt. "The front line guys look SEC ready," Gaspard said. "The problem is depth. One injury at the wrong position could have a bad effect."

College baseball is in for a change this year with bats that are designed to be less explosive. "The seasons of 100 home runs are over," Gaspard said. "Where we may have hit 75 home runs in a year, now we may hit 45.

"Bunting, pitching, and defense are going to be more important.

"We have decent speed and a lot of good bat-handlers. That's fits into the style we want to play. We were last in the SEC in home runs last year, so it won't change our game."

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