Alabama Baseball Readies For Rebels

The expectation prior to this season was that Alabama baseball was in a rebuilding phase with young pitchers, but that the Crimson Tide might be able to make in with good offense. So far that hasn't worked too well. And the outlook for quick improvement isn't good.

Alabama enters a weekend series with 17th ranked Ole Miss with a .242 team batting average, while the pitching staff has a 4.73 ERA.

The Crimson Tide returns to Southeastern Conference play on Friday, with game one of a three-game series against Mississippi beginning at 6:35 p.m. (CDT), from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Game two of the series is at 2:05 p.m., on Saturday, and the series finale is at 1:05 p.m., on Sunday.

Following a 9-0 loss at Troy on Tuesday night in which Bama managed only four hits, the Alabama is 8-13 overall. Bama is 0-3 in SEC play after opening conference play with three losses at No. 4 Arkansas, last weekend. Mississippi (15-6, 1-2 SEC) has dropped its last three games.

Bama's pitching rotation has been mostly freshmen, and it has had some tweaking. As of late, Charley Sullivan has been the Friday starter, and that is expected to be the case this week. Sullivan is a junior right-hander who has started five games. He has a 2-2 record and 3.07 earned run average. He has 18 strikeouts against only seven bases on balls. The Rebels will start sophomore right-hander Bobby Wahl, who is 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 34 strikeouts against 10 walks.

Freshman left-hander Justin Kamplain will get the start for the Tide on Saturday. He is 1-1 with four starts and has a 2.53 ERA, 20 strikeouts, 17 walks. Mississippi will go with senior right-hander R.J. Hively, who is 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA and 33 strikeouts, onoy six walks.

On Sunday, Bama will go with freshman left-hander Jon Keller, making his second start. He has appeared in 10 games with no decision and a 3.38 EERA. He has seven strikeouts and five walks in his 16 innings of work. The Rebs will pitch senior right-hander Mike Mayers, 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA, 23 strikeouts, eight walks.

For the Tide, freshman catcher/outfielder Ben Moore is hitting .315 with a team-high 13 runs scored, to go along with five doubles, a triple, a home run and nine RBI. James Tullidge has started the last three games for UA, and has a .429 average (3-for-7) with a double in those games. Taylor Dugas is hitting .303 for the season and leads the team with seven doubles and 13 runs scored. After being hit by a pitch on Tuesday night, Dugas has reached base in all 21 games this season.

Mississippi is hitting .308 as a team, while averaging 7.3 runs and 10.5 hits per game. The pitching staff is holding opponents to a .235 batting average with a 2.94 ERA. The Rebels are allowing 3.7 runs and 7.8 hits per game.

In a series that dates back to 1895, the three games between Alabama and Mississippi will be games 335-337 of the all-time series. After the Tide posted a 2-1 record against the Rebels last season, Alabama holds a 197-136-1 advantage in the series all-time. Alabama has won the last two series between the two schools, and has won four of the last five meetings overall.

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