Alabama Baseball Gone To Florida

The inclination among followers of powerhouse football schools is to equate opponents in sports other than football to their football teams. Most Alabama fans would consider a basketball victory over Penn State to be more impressive than one over Villanova, but that is not necessarily the case.

Thus, when the Alabama baseball team heads to Boca Rotan, Fla., this weekend to take on the Florida Atlantic Owls, there is an expectation of this being a warm-up series for the Crimson Tide. That is not the case.

The Crimson Tide takes on FAU for three games beginning Friday afternoon. Alabama goes into the series trailing the Owls all-time 4-2, including FAU opening the Tide's 2012 season with a 3-0 sweep in Tuscaloosa.

The Crimson Tide of Coach Mitch Gaspard is off to a good start this year, 4-0, including a Tuesday 10-8 win over nationally ranked Southern Miss. FAU is 3-1. This will be Bama's first road action.

Game one in the series begins at 5:30 p.m. CST Friday. Saturday's game is at 3 p.m. CST. The series concludes Sunday with a game beginning at noon CST.

Alabama is slated to start senior right-hander Charley Sullivan (0-0, 6.23 ERA) on Friday, sophomore left-handeer Jon Keller (1-0, 6.75 ERA) on Saturday and sophomore righty Spencer Turnbull (0-0, 2.45 ERA) on Sunday. Florida Atlantic's rotation for the weekend will be left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber (1-0, 3.00 ERA) on Friday night, righty Jake Meiers (1-0, 3.60 ERA) on Saturday, and right-hander Jeremy Strawn (0-0, 3.00 ERA) on Sunday.

Alabama is off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2011, and the Crimson Tide was never four games over .500 during the 2012 season. Alabama has outscored its opponents 35-20 through its first four games. The Alabama pitching staff has a 3.75 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 17 walks in 36 innings pitched. Alabama is hitting .299 as a team, while averaging 8.7 runs and 9.5 hits per game. The Tide had swiped 10 bags in 10 attempts.

Brett Booth leads the way with a .636 average, has a three-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in all four games, bringing his streak to 10 games dating back to last season. Booth also leads the team with six RBI and eight runs scored. Cary Baxter, who has started the last three games at first base, is hitting .500 with two doubles, four RBI and five runs scored. Shortstop Mikey White was named the SEC Freshman of the Week after posting a .545 average in Bama's season-opening sweep of VMI. White is hitting .467 with five RBI, four runs scored, three walks and three stolen bases this season.

Florida Atlantic enters the series versus Alabama with a 3-1 record, following a 5-4 loss to No. 20 Miami in 11 innings on Wednesday night. As a team, the Owls are hitting .329 with 11 doubles, three triples and a pair of home runs. The FAU pitching staff is holding opponents to a .196 batting average, while allowing 15 runs (13 earned) for a 3.00 ERA. The Owls' pitchers have struck out 37 hitters while walking just 10.

Outfielder Geoff Jimenez leads the Owls with a .600 average, collecting three hits in five at-bats. Jimenez has a double and a triple in his three hits.

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