Alabama At Vandy In Big SEC Series

No one saw this coming. In pre-season Southeastern Conference baseball polls, there were some areas of agreement. Everyone saw the SEC Eastern Division as being the strongest. Still no argument there. And Florida, with all starters back from a College World Series team, and South Carolina, defending national champion, got all the votes as best in the league.

But where was the love for Alabama? And particularly for Vanderbilt?

To be sure, Florida and South Carolina are cruising along with 7-2 SEC records. But so is Vanderbilt. And the biggest surprise of all, so is Alabama, which received votes from everywhere from first to worst in's pre-season poll.

And now Vandy is ranked first in the nation and Bama is ranked among the nation's top 25 teams. (South Carolina is third, Florida fourth in national polls.)

The Crimson Tide of Coach Mitch Gaspard has some mid-week action, but the real attention is on the weekend in Nashville where Vandy, co-leader of the SEC East, hosts Bama, top team in the SEC West, in a three-game series.

Alabama took two of three games from Arkansas last weekend to improve to 21-9 overall, while Vanderbilt went to Auburn and swept the Tigers to run the Commodores record to 26-3.

This week Bama hosts Samford at 6 p.m. CDT Tuesday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium before heading to Nashville. Bama's games against Vandy will begin at 6 p.m. CDT Friday (televised regionally by CSS), 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Alabama has won all three of its SEC series this season and five in a row going back to last year. The wins over Arkansas were the first this year over a ranked opponent.

Josh Rosecrans continues to be a hitting sensation for a not-so-great Alabama hitting team. Rosecrans, who was SEC Player of the Week the previous week, led the Tide again last week with a .316 average. Rosecrans has raised his average to .293 for the season.

Taylor Dugas hit .313 for the week with an on-base percentage of .522.Dugas reached base safely in nine consecutive plate appearances and scored a team high seven runs in five games. Dugas is second on the team with a .355 batting average.

Austen Smith leads Bama in runs batted in with 25, collecting five last week.

Pitching has been the story for Bama this year. The Tide got two excellent winning performances from Nathan Kilcrease (4-1) in the Friday game against Arkansas and from Adam Morgan (4-1) on Saturday. In both cases Jonathan Smart picked up the saves, his sixth and seventh of the season.

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