These are not new Alabama players, of course. Junior shortstop Mikey White and sophomore outfielder Casey Hughston have earned the recognition through their steallar play in the Tide’s 2015 season. And it’s nothing new for White, who was on the organization’s preseason watch list.
White and Hughston and their Bama teammates return to the Hoover Met to host Georgia beginning at 7 p.m. CDT today (Friday). Saturday’s game begins at 3 p.m. and the Sunday finale at 1 p.m. This is Alabama’s third home Southeastern Conference series of the year.
Now in the midst of his third season at Alabama, White has continued to be a model of consistency. The junior is tied for the SEC lead in triples with five, while tying for fourth in doubles (11), ranking sixth in slugging percentage (.621), and tying for sixth in runs scored with 31. He leads the Tide with 16 multi-hit games and has recorded two hitting streaks of seven games. He is batting .406 (28-69) with eight doubles, three triples, two home runs, 17 RBI, and 20 runs scored in home games.
Hughston entered his second season with the Crimson Tide after a promising campaign a season ago and has excelled as a sophomore. The outfielder ranks third in the SEC in average (.395), tying for fourth in hits (49), and tying for fifth in total bases with 75 in his 31 starts in the cleanup role. He is the Tide’s leader in home runs (4), RBI (27), and on-base percentage (.455) and has reached base safely in 29 of Alabama’s 31 contests, including a streak of 20 consecutive games reaching base to start the season.
Each year, USA baseball’s midseason watch list features 60 of the nation’s top amateur players and is a rolling list until May 22 when the organization announces its semifinalists. A total of 37 players have joined the watch list since the initial preseason list that was released on Feb. 10. The midseason roster is made up of players from 17 different conferences with the SEC placing the most student-athletes of any conference with 15 total. The 2015 Golden Spikes Award winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 23, at a presentation in Los Angeles, Calif.
Bama and Georgia will meet for the 138th time in history today. The series could hardly be closer. After Alabama took all three games last year, the Tide leads the series 68-67-2. Bama has won all of the last seven series.
Both teams come into the series limping somewhat. Although both won midweek games, last weekend Alabama was swept by third-ranked LSU (losing two games in extra innings) and Georgia was swept by No. 1 Vanderbilt. Alabama is 16-15 overall and 4-8 in SEC games. The Bulldogs are 19-15 and 5-7.
Alabama will continue with its regular weekend rotation. The Crimson Tide will start the series with senior southpaw Taylor Guilbeau (2-2, 2.94 ERA) against Georgia junior right-hander Sean McLaughlin (3-2, 5.49). Junior right-hander Will Carter (1-4, 5.44 ERA) will get the call on Saturday against Bulldogs junior lefty Ryan Lawlor (3-4, 3.46). Bama will go with sophomore righty Geoffrey Bramblett (4-1, 4.05) Sunday game.