Alabama Baseball Off To Lafayette

After a disappointing 2-1 loss to Southern Miss in Alabama's first road baseball game of the year Wednesday, the 21st ranked Crimson Tide (4-3, 0-0 SEC) will play its first road series of the 2014 season when it travels Lafayette, La. for three games against the No. 10 ranked Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns (8-1, 0-0 Sun Belt).

The series gets underway on Friday with first pitch at 6 p.m. CST from Moore Field. Game two, which will be televised on ESPN3, is at 2 p.m. Saturday, and the series finale is at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Alabama will have the same pitching rotation as in its first two weekend series of the year.

On Friday, junior right-hander Spencer Turnbull (0-0, 1.12 ERA) will go against junior right-hander Austin Robichaux (1-1, 2.25 ERA).

On Saturday, junior left-hander Justin Kamplain (1-0, 2.45) will go against junior right-hander Carson Baranik (1-0, 1.10).

Sunday the Tide will pitch sophomore right-hander Ray Castillo (0-0,3.38). Lafayette has not announced a Sunday pitcher.

Alabama is ranked No. 21 in the Baseball America and Perfect Game USA and No. 28 by the NCBWA. This week UA dropped out of the Collegiate Baseball top-30 after sitting in the poll the first two weeks. The Ragin Cajuns are ranked No. 10 by Baseball America, No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 20 by the NCBWA and No. 24 by Perfect Game USA.

Alabama is 4-3 through its first seven games and is hitting .239 as a team, while averaging 3.9 runs and 7.1 hits per game. The UA pitching staff is holding opponents to .194 batting average with a 1.48 ERA in 67 innings. In both of their series to open the season, the Tide has dropped the opening game of the series before winning games two and three. Tide secured the series win with a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning of game three against Stephen F. Austin. The walk-off win marked the second victory for the Crimson Tide in its last at-bat this season. UA had a ninth inning walk-off win over Saint Louis on Feb. 15. All three of Alabama's losses have been 2-1 games.

Offensively, Alabama is led by Mikey White's .345 average and Georgie Salem is second on the team with a .323 average as both have a team-best 10 hits this season. White is tied with Ben Moore for the team lead with four RBI. Friday starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull has thrown eight innings in his two starts, allowing one run on four hits with 10 strikeouts for a 1.12 ERA. Justin Kamplain, UA's Saturday starter, is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA and leads the team with 12 strikeouts in 11 innings. Ray Castillo will make his third career start on Sunday and enters the series with a 3.38 ERA, after allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with five strikeouts and three walks in eight innings.

The No. 10 Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns enter the weekend series with an 8-1 record following a 4-1 win at No. 1 LSU on Tuesday night. After dropping the first game of the season to Eastern Illinois, 5-1, the Ragin Cajuns have won eight straight. Last weekend ULL posted a three-game sweep of Southern Miss, winning game one 6-2, game two 8-5 in 12 innings and game three 9-5. ULL has a .274 batting average and is averaging 7.1 runs and 9.1 hits per game. The ULL pitching staff has a 2.59 ERA, including a pair of shutouts, while holding opponents to a .216 batting average.

Four players are hitting over .300, with outfielders Ryan Wilson and Caleb Adams leading the way with a .368 average. Wilson is also tied for the team lead (Jace Conrad) with seven RBI in five games. Center fielder Seth Harrison is hitting .343 and leads the team with five extra-base hits, with two doubles, two triples and a home run. Friday starting pitcher Austin Robichaux has a 1-1 record with a 2.25 ERA in two starts. He has eight strikeouts in 12 innings, while holding opponents to a .261 average. Saturday starter Carson Baranik is 1-0 with a 1.10 ERA in 16.1 innings as a starter. He has allowed four runs (2 earned) with 13 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .148 average.

Following the series at Louisiana-Lafayette, the Crimson Tide will take on the Auburn Tigers in the Sixth Annual MAX Capital City Classic game on Tuesday night. The non-conference game between Alabama and Auburn will be played at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Montgomery Biscuits, with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT. Auburn has won the all five games played in the MAX Capital City Classic. In last year's game, Auburn posted a 6-3 win to run its streak to five straight wins in the annual classic.

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