Alabama Baseball Hosts Samford

Alabama had a very good week last week. The Crimson Tide baseball team ended what had been a bad week with a win over 10xth ranked Louisiana on the road. Bama then went to Montgomery and defeated Auburn in the Capital City Classic. And last weekend, the Tide swept a three-game series with all shutouts against Mississippi Valley State.

Alabama is back to work this week starting with a game against the Samford Bulldogs in Sewell-Thomas Stadium at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Something has to give in the sweep department Tuesday, While Alabama is coming off its three-game sweep of Mississpii Valley – a series in which the Bama [pitching staff turned in three shutouts and one no-hitter – Samford is also coming off a three-game sweep of Louisiana Monroe. And while Alabama has a nice five-game winning streak going in improving its record to 9-5, Samford has a nine-game winning streak and is 11-4.

Alabama will start freshman Nick Eicholtz, a right-hander who doesn't have a won-loss record, but who started the game in the win over Auburn and who has an impressive earned run average of 1.20. Samford will also go with a freshman, Cody Pugh (2-0, 2.03 ERA).

The Tide began a season-long nine-game homestand last week with three games against MVSU. The Tide is 3-0 on the homestand and is currently 7-2 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium this season. Alabama has won its last five games and is 7-3 in its last 10 games.

The Crimson Tide is hitting .258 as a team, while averaging 4.4 runs and 9.0 hits per game. When the Tide scores three or more runs in a game they are 9-0. The Alabama pitching staff has been outstanding this season, posting the fourth best ERA in the SEC with a 1.76 mark. In 128 innings, Alabama has given up 31 runs (25 earned) on 75 hits with 108 strikeouts and 50 walks. Opponents are hitting just .178 against the Tide this season, which ranks second in the SEC. In 58 innings this season, the Tide bullpen has allowed just 11 runs (9 earned) for a 1.39 ERA, while allowing a .225 batting average. Alabama is 7-2 when playing at Sewell-Thomas Stadium and 2-3 away from home this season.

Offensively, Alabama is paced by senior first baseman Austen Smith, who has team-highs with a .333 average and 11 RBI. Georgie Salem is riding a seven-game hitting streak and is second on the team with a .328 average. He is hitting .333 (10-for-30) during the seven-game hit streak. Ben Moore is now hitting .321 after posting a .438 (7-for-16) average in the MVSU series. Moore leads the team with five doubles and 12 runs scored and is second on the team with 10 RBI.

Eicholtz will make his fifth appearance and third start of the season. Eicholtz has allowed three runs (two earned) in 15 innings while holding opponents to a .157 batting average. Eicholtz has not factored into a decision in his two previous starts, while posting a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings pitched in those games.

Samford is hitting .301 with 15 home runs and averages 7.2 runs and 10.7 hits per game. The Bulldogs pitching staff has a 5.36 ERA with a .249 opponent's batting average. Samford opponents are averaging 5.9 runs and 8.7 hits per game.

Two players are hitting over .400 for the Bulldogs, as Damon Waller leads the way with a .412 average. Heath Quinn, who has started all 15 games this season, is hitting .410 and leads the team with eight doubles and 16 RBI. Tyler Filliben is hitting .385 with two home runs and 13 RBI and is tied for the team lead with 14 runs scored. Brandon Powell has a .350 average and Caleb Bryson is hitting .304 with two home runs and 14 RBI. Tripp Martin leads the team with four home runs and Drew McWhorter is second on the club with three homers.

In a series that dates back to the 1894 season, Tuesday's game between Alabama and Samford (formerly Howard College) will mark the 107th meeting all-time. Alabama holds a 91-15 advantage in the all-time series after winning both games played in 2013. Alabama has won the last five games in the series and the Tide is 8-2 in the last 10 games played between the two schools. In the last meeting as Sewell-Thomas Stadium, Alabama posted a 5-4 win over the Bulldogs on Feb. 26, 2013. In the most recent meeting, the Tide posted a 15-7 victory over the Bulldogs when they played at Joe Lee Griffin Field on March 19, 2013.

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