Halfway Through, UA Baseball Shines

Exactly halfway through the 56-game regular season schedule, Alabama baseball has to be considered a success. Of course, it's a qualified success since half the season remains, beginning with a trip to College Station this weekend. The Crimson Tide is 20-8 and is tied for he Southeastern Conference lead with a 6-3 league record.

Alabama's success has not gone unnoticed by poll voters. The Tide is ranked No. 15 by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, after not appearing in either ranking the preceding two weeks. Bama is ranked 19th by Perfect Game USA and No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and the NCBWA poll. The No 15 national ranking by Baseball America and Collegiate baseball is the highest ranking for the Crimson Tide since they entered the 2009 NCAA Tournament ranked No. 14 in the country.

Texas A&M, traditionally a very strong baseball team, is 18-12 overall and 4-5 in SEC play.

The series begins on Friday at 6:35 p.m. CDT from Blue Bell Park. Game two of the series is Saturday at 2:05 p.m., and the series wraps up on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. CT start. The games on Friday and Saturday will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.

Following Tuesday's victory over UL-Monroe, Alabama enters the Texas A&M series on a five-game winning streak and has won 16 of its last 19 games. A&M is coming off a midweek loss to 12th ranked Houston by a 10-8 score. The Aggies enter the fourth week of SEC play with a 4-5 record after dropping a series at Georgia last week. AM is 1-4 in its last five games and 5-5 in its last 10 outings.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday – UA Spencer Turnbull (Jr., RHP, 3-1, 1.63 ERA) vs. TAMU-Daniel Mengden (Jr., RHP, 2-3, 3.12 ERA)

Saturday – UA Justin Kamplain (Jr., LHP, 2-2, 3.35 ERA) vs. TAMU-Grayson Long (So., RHP, 3-1, 1.84 ERA)

Sunday – UA Jon Keller (Jr., LHP, 5-1, 1.50 ERA) vs. TAMU-Tyler Stubblefield (Fr., LHP, 3-1, 2.33 ERA)

The Crimson Tide is hitting .271 as a team, while averaging 5.7 runs and 9.4 hits per game. When the Tide scores three or more runs they are 20-0, but 0-8 when scoring less than three runs. Alabama ranks fourth in the SEC with 19 home runs. The Tide hit 26 home runs in 63 games in 2013. In winning 16 of their last 19 games, the Tide is hitting .298 with 36 doubles, three triples and 15 home runs for a .432 slugging percentage, while averaging 6.9 runs and 10.1 hits per game during that stretch.

The Alabama pitching staff has been outstanding this season, posting the fifth-best ERA in the SEC at 2.23. In 254 innings, Alabama has given up 76 runs (63 earned) on 177 hits with 225 strikeouts and 90 walks. Opponents are hitting .201 against the Tide, which ranks second in the SEC. Alabama is second in the country, allowing 6.3 hits per game. In 100.1 innings, the Tide bullpen has allowed 29 runs (25 earned) for a 2.24 ERA, while allowing a .209 batting average. The Alabama pitching staff ranks fifth in the SEC and 13th nationally with a 2.23 ERA. The Tide ranks second in the country to Vanderbilt, allowing 6.3 hits per game.

Kyle Overstreet is on a team season-high 11-game hitting streak, while Wade Wass has a hit in his last 10 games. After missing the UL-Monroe game with a hamstring pull, Overstreet is second on the team with a .320 average. Wade is hitting .290 on the year, ranks third in the SEC with 11 doubles and is second on the team with 17 RBI. Austen Smith leads the team with a .352 average and 24 RBI and is tied for the team lead with Ben Moore and Casey Hughston with three home runs. Moore is tied with Mikey White for the team lead with 21 runs scored.

The Aggies enter the weekend series with a .278 batting average, while averaging 5.0 runs and 9.5 hits per game. Texas A&M has a 3.10 team ERA, while allowing 3.5 runs and 8.7 hits per game. Opponents are hitting .248 against the Aggies.

The team's leading hitter is Patrick McLendon with a .329 average. Cole Lankford is hitting .301 and leads the team with 23 RBI and is second on the club with eight doubles. Logan Nottebrok leads the team with four home runs and is third on the club with five doubles.

The three games will mark games 6-8 all-time between the two schools. Alabama is 2-3 all-time versus the Aggies, after winning both games played between the two teams last season in Tuscaloosa. UA is 0-3 all-time when playing the Aggies in College Station.

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