Final Home-Stand For Bama Baseball

Pre-season projections were not high for Alabama baseball, and at 27-21 overall and 11-12 in Southeastern Conference play the results could hardly be called disappointing to date based on the predictions. But it has been frustrating to be so close to being so much better.

Last weekend was a good example. Alabama went to nationally-ranked Mississippi State and took the Bulldogs into extra innings in two of the three games, games in which Bama had the lead late in the game. And State won both of those extra inning games in sweeping the Crimson Tide.

Alabama has a record of 1-6 in extra inning games this year. Not good; but consider that all of those games have been against ranked teams.

Now the end is near. In fact, this week – beginning this afternoon – Alabama has a five-game home-stand, its final home games of the year, and after that only one more SEC series.

The Crimson Tide returns to Sewell-Thomas Stadium for its final two non-conference games of the year when Alabama hosts Mississippi Valley State (5-41) at 5 p.m. CDT today, and Troy (35-12) at 6 p.m. Wednesday. This weekend, Bama will host Missouri in the final home SEC series.

Mississippi Valley State has lost its last five games.

Troy is ranked 25th in this week's Collegiate Baseball News top-30 poll. After sweeping Florida International last weekend, the Trojans have won their last four games and 11 of their last 12.

The Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils have been something of a punching bag for Alabama baseball. The Crimson Tide has a 16-1 all-time record against MVSU with all 17 games played in Tuscaloosa. However, in the second game of a doubleheader last year – the last meeting between the teams – the Delta Devils posted its lone victory over Bama, 8-3.

Alabama will start freshman right-handed pitcher Mike Oczypok (3-1, 2.91 earned run average) this afternoon against Mississippi Valley State and sophomore left-hander Taylor Guilbeau (3-1, 2.97) against Troy Wednesday. MVSU will send righty David Lostra (3-7, 6.72) to the mound. Lostra threw six innings, allowing a run on two hits, and was the winning pitcher when MVSU defeated Alabama last season. Troy has not named a starting pitcher for Wednesday night's game.

Alabama has an 18-8 record all-time vs. Troy and has won three of the last four and the last four played in Tuscaloosa. Bama is 16-4 all-time against the Trojans at Sewell-Thomas.

The Tide is 16-9 against non-conference opponents this season and has a 10-3 record in midweek games.

Following the midweek games against Mississippi Valley State and Troy, Alabama returns to SEC action to host Missouri on the weekend, games Friday at 6:30 and at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday game will be televised by FoxSports South and will also be Senior Day for Bama's seven seniors -- junior college transfers Kenny Roberts, Cameron Carlisle, and Charley Sullivan; and four-year players Andrew Miller, Brett Booth, Trey Pilkington, and Taylor Wolfe.

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