Tide Baseball Home For Five In Row

Things could not have gone much worse for Alabama baseball than last week. The Crimson Tide was on something of a high, tied for the overall lead in the Southeastern Conference, leading the SEC West, and nationally ranked. And then the bottom fell out.

Alabama lost four games last week, fell out of the top 25 in three of the four college baseball polls, and is barely hanging on to its lead in the SEC West, a game ahead of Arkansas. Fortunately for the Crimson Tide, the schedule gets a bit easier this week.

Last week Bama lost a midweek game to Samford. While that would seem to be inexcusable on the surface, there is a long history of SEC teams losing midweek games to lesser in-state opponents as the Tide uses down-the-line pitchers and the opponents—sensing a chance to have a marquee win—throw their best.

Last week Alabama also had perhaps the toughest SEC assignment, a three-game set at No. 1 ranked Vanderbilt. The result was devastating – three poundings at the hands of the Commodores. Alabama was not competitive in the sweep, losing 11-3, 7-0, and 11-6.

Bama remains ranked in only one poll, 24th in the Baseball America top 25, down four spots from last week. The Tide dropped out of ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, the NCBWA poll and the Collegiate Baseball News poll.

This week Alabama (21-13 overall and 7-5 in SEC play after five consecutive losses) has a pair of midweek games against Mississippi Valley State (13-19) to start a stretch of five home games in five days. Game one at Sewell-Thomas Stadium is 6 p.m. CDT Tuesday and the second is at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Alabama has played the Delta Devils 13 times previously and won all 13.

Alabama returns to SEC play with three home games against Tennessee beginning Thursday night. The Vols are 19-13 overall and 2-10 in SEC games, tied with Kentucky for worst conference record. First pitch for game one of the series is slated for 6:35 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU as part of the ESPNU Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week schedule. Game two of the series is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Friday night and the series finale will begin at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday.

Taylor Dugas was one bright spot for Bama last week. Dugas led the Tide with a .357 average against Vanderbilt, after going 3-for-5 in the series finale. Dugas hit his team-leading fourth home run on Sunday, marking the eighth home run of his career. He finished the week with a .333 average (6-for-18) with two doubles and two home runs with four runs and three RBI.

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