The Alabama team of Coach Mitch Gaspard opens 2015 play Friday with the start of a three-game, three-day series against the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks. Games will be at 6:30 p.m. CST Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.
This year’s Crimson Tide is getting some notice in the pre-season polls, including 20th by D1Baseball.com, 27th by USA Today, and 28th by the College Baseball Writers. Last year Bama was 37-24 (15-14 in Southeastern Conference play) and earned its 24th trip to the NCAA Baseball Tournament.
Maryland Eastern Shore was 13-35 last year, but the Hawks return 23 lettermen, including five starting pitchers.
Alabama will open play with senior left-hander Taylor Gilbeau going agains sophomore righty Jesse Stinnett. Saturday starters will be junior right-hander Will Carter for Bama against senior left-hander Jordan Bone and Sunday pitchers are soph right-hander Geoffrey Bramblett for Alabama against junior right-hander Tanner Whiteman.
Alabama also returns 23 lettermen, including five position starters and three pitchers who made five or more starts. Also in the mix is relief pitcher Thomas Burrows, who had 11 of the Tide’s 13 saves.
Offensively, the Tide is led by shortstop Mikey White, who batted .300 (71-237) last year. He had nine doubles, two triples, and seven home runs. He scored a team-leading 50 runs and had 33 RBI.
The junior was a Freshman All-America and is on the watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation’s best player.
Alabama has been predicted second in the SEC Western Division and fifth overall in the poll of SEC coaches. Vanderbilt, which won the 2014 national championship, is the pre-season favorite in the league.