Tide Baseball Faces Troy In Pensacola
Alabama dropped two of three games at Arkansas to fall to 15-8 overall and 3-3 in Southeastern Conference games. Bama will be out of confererence Tuesday night when the Cimson Tide takes on Troy (14-10) at the Vince J. Whibbs Maritime Commnity Park in Pensacola. CST will televise the game beginning at 6:30 p.m. CDT.
Alabama had creeped back into the national rankings after winning a series against nationally-ranked Kentucky as part of a seven-game winning streak, but the Tide has now fallen into the "others receiving votes" category.
The Tide is 12-3 at home in Sewell-Thomas Stadium, but only 3-5 away from home.
Freshman right-hander Nick Eicholtz will start for the Tide Tuesday. Eicholtz will be making his fifth start and eighth appearance of the season and has a 1-0 record with a 1.09 earned run average in 24 2/3 innings pitched. He has allowed five runs (three earned) while recording 24 strikeouts. In his four starts, Eicholtz has a 1-0 record with a 1.42 ERA in 19 innings, allowing five runs (three earned) with 21 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .185 average.
Troy will go with senior right-hander William Shell (3-1 with a 3.20 ERA.
The one statistic that stands out for Alabama baseball this year is that the Crimson Tide is 15-0 when Bama scores three or more runs.
Alabama is hitting .269 as a team, while averaging 5.8 runs and 9.3 hits per game. Alabama ranks fourth in the SEC with 15 home runs. The Tide hit 26 home runs in 63 games in 2013. In winning 11 of their last 14 games, the Tide is hitting .299 with 26 doubles, two triples and 11 home runs for a .429 slugging percentage, while averaging 7.3 runs and 10.3 hits per game during that stretch.
The Alabama pitching staff has been outstanding this season, posting the fifth-best ERA at 2.08. In 208 innings, Alabama has given up 57 runs (48 earned) on 135 hits with 177 strikeouts and 75 walks. Opponents are hitting .191 against the Tide, which ranks second in the SEC. Alabama is second in the country, allowing 5.8 hits per game. In 88.2 innings, the Tide bullpen has allowed 24 runs (21 earned) for a 2.13 ERA, while allowing a .202 batting average.
After hitting .438 last week, Austen Smith continues to lead the team with a .356 average for the season. Smith, who ranks 12th in the SEC in average, also leads the team in home runs (3), RBI (21), slugging percentage (.548) and on-base percentage (.440). Georgie Salem leads the team with 32 hits and is second on the club with a .323 average while Wade Wass had a team-high nine doubles to rank sixth in the SEC. Kyle Overstreet hit .438 last week and has raised hit season average to .299.
Tuesday's game will mark the 30th meeting all-time between Alabama and Troy, and the fourth meeting at a neutral site. Alabama is 19-10 all-time against Troy, and 1-2 in neutral site games. Troy defeated the Tide twice during the 2013 NCAA Tallahassee Regional in the most recent meetings between the two schools. In last year's regular season meeting between the two squads, Alabama posted an 11-2 victory in Tuscaloosa on May 8, when the Trojans were ranked No. 25 nationally.
After Tuesday's game against Troy in Pensacola, the Tide returns to Sewell-Thomas Stadium to host nationally ranked Ole Miss this weekend. The three-game SEC series begins on Friday night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CDT. Game two of the series, which will be televised on CSS, will begin at 2:05 p.m., and the series wraps up on Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. game. The series between Alabama and Ole Miss will mark games 342-344 between the two schools. Alabama is 199-141-1 all-time versus the Rebels, but has lost four of the last five in the series. After the Rebels swept the 2013 regular season series in Oxford, Miss., the Tide defeated Ole Miss 7-5 in the SEC Tournament.
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