Tide Traveling To Troy Tuesday

Alabama is going to start a freshman pitcher when the Crimson Tide takes on Troy in a Tuesday night in Troy. And while it will be the 13th time this year Bama has started a freshman pitcher, it will be the first start for Jon Keller.

Alabama, with an 8-12 record, will meet the 9-9 Trojans at 6 p.m. CDT at Riddle-Pace Field. Both teams are coming off tough conference opening weekends. Bama opened at No. 4 Arkansas and lost all three games in the Southeastern Conference open,ing weekend. Troy started Sun Belt play with a 1-2 mark against South Alabama.

Keller, a left-hander, has pitched in nine games this year with 13 innings pitched and no decisions. He has a 4.15 ERA, having given up 12 hits and six runs, walking five and striking out seven.

Troy will counter with junior right-hander Ryan Bady, who is 0-1 with two starts and a 2.57 ERA.

Another freshman has been a bright spot for Bama. First-year catcher/outfielder Ben Moore leads the Tide with a .329 batting average. He had five hits in the Arkansas series and has now hit safely in 11 consecutive games. Center fielder Taylor Dugas is batting .315. His 13-game hitting streak came to an end on Sunday, but he had a walk and has reached base in all 20 games this year. He also reached safely in the final 12 games of the 2011 season, giving him a 32-game on-base streak.

Alabama has started a freshman pitcher 12 times, including a three starts last week. The Tide has thrown a total of 176 and two-thirds innings this season and freshmen have accounted for 103 and one-third innings pitched, 58.5 per cent of the innings pitched. First-year pitchers have provided an additional 14.2 innings pitched, giving the Tide 118.0 of its 176.2 innings (66.9 percent) from players that were not on the 2011 pitching staff.

The Crimson Tide returns to SEC play on Friday, with game one of a three-game series against No. 12 Ole Miss. First pitch for Friday night's game is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CDT, from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. First pitch for game two is scheduled for 2:05 p.m., on Saturday, and game three will start at 1:05 p.m., on Sunday. Mississippi lost two of three games to Auburn to open SEC play, and enters this week with a 16-4 overall record.

In a series that dates back to 1941, Tuesday's game between Alabama and Troy will be the 25th meeting all-time. After the Tide posted a 6-5 win in 11 innings last season in Tuscaloosa, Alabama holds a 17-7 advantage in the series.

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