Tide Hosts Hogs In SEC Baseball

There won't be a batter in the box when the first pitch is thrown at Sewell-Thomas Stadium Friday evening. If there was, the advice to the batter would be to be light on his feet; expect one under the chin.

When Alabama hosts Arkansas in an important Southeastern Conference baseball series this weekend, the ceremonial first pitch Friday night will be made by Crimson Tide Football Coach Nick Saban. Saban has said in the past that while he was a good baseball player, he wasn't a good pitcher.

Following Saban's performance, Nathan Kilcrease will take the mound for the 21st ranked Crimson Tide against the 13th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. The first game of the three-game series begins at 6:35 p.m. CDT Friday. Games will also be played Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. The Sunday game will be regionally televised on CSS.

Alabama is 19-8 overall and leading the SEC with a 5-1 record. The Hogs are 18-6 overall and 2-4 in SEC games.

Kilcrease, a senior right-hander, is 3-1 for Bama with a 1.79 earned run average. He has struck out 41 and walked only six. Arkansas counters with sophomore left-hander Cade Lynch (2-0 with a 2.40 ERA).

On Saturday Alabama will pitch junior left-hander Adam Morgan (3-1, 4.54 ERA). The Hogs have not announced a Saturday pitcher. On Sunday, Bama will go with sophomore right-hander tucker Hawley (5-1, 2.89 ERA) and Arkansas will pitch sophomore left-hander Randall Fant (1-2, 2.49).

Following a perfect 5-0 record last week, Alabama moved into the national rankings in all four college baseball polls, and is ranked as high as No. 21 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll. The Crimson Tide, which has won eight of its last nine games and 14 straight at home, is ranked No. 25 in both the Baseball America and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls, and No. 24 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).  

Arkansas opened the season with a six-game winning streak, sweeping series against Delaware State and Utah and outscoring those opponents 42-9. Arkansas also took three of four games from San Diego State and swept a pair of games from Memphis during non-conference play. The Razorbacks have been on the losing end of a pair of series to open SEC play, though. They opened their conference schedule with an 11-inning, 6-5, victory at Auburn, but lost the Saturday and Sunday contests to the Tigers.  Last weekend, the Razorbacks won the opening game of the series against No. 1/ No. 2 Vanderbilt, before dropping the final two games to the nation's top team at home.

In its last outing, Alabama won its 14th straight game at Sewell-Thomas Stadium following a 4-3 walk-off win over the South Alabama Jaguars on Wednesday night. The Crimson Tide got a RBI single off the bat of Brock Bennett in the bottom of the ninth inning that scored Taylor Dugas from second base. It was Alabama's fourth walk-off win of the season..

Alabama is 17-1 at The Joe this season.

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