Tide Hosts USM In Non-SEC Baseball

Eyes are understandably on Southeastern Conference competition as the Alabama baseball team struggles to make this year’s SEC Tournament. But along the way the Crimson Tide needs out-of-conference wins, too, and Bama has the opportunity to get one at 6:30 p.m. CDT today at the Hoover Met.

Alabama is hosting the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in a non-conference Tuesday game that kicks off a six-game home-stand for the Tide, including an SEC series against Arkansas this weekend.

Bama is 20-23 overall this year and 8-13 in SEC games and is 8-2 in midweek contests. Southern Miss took both games against Alabama last year, but the Tide has an all-time record of 71-29 against the Golden Eagles.

Sophomore right-hander Nick Eicholtz will be on the mound for Alabama for his fourth start and sixth appearance of the season. He is 2-0 with a 1.32 earned run average. In 13 1/3 innings he has recorded 13 strikeouts against 10 walks, allowing seven hits and two earned runs. He has been the winning pitcher in his last two starts. USM will counter with junior right-hander Cord Cockrell (2-0, 2.99 ERA).

Alabama is led offensively by Mikey White and Casey Hughston, team leaders in a combined 11 statistical categories. The two are among 60 players nationwide who are on the Golden Spikes Award mid-season watch list.

White is second in the SEC in triples (6), is tied for second in doubles (15), and ranks eighth in slugging percentage (.596), ninth in total bases (96), and 10th in batting average (.354). He leads the Crimson Tide in average, runs (38), doubles, triples, total bases, slugging percentage (.596), and on-base percentage (.446). The shortstop leads the team in assists with 138.

Hughston is seventh in the SEC in hits with 60 and is among the top-15 in numerous categories. The sophomore leads the Tide in hits and home runs (6), and is tied for the team lead in RBI (33). Hughston has team-high five outfield assists from right field.

Also offensively, freshman Cody Henry has had a hot April. He leads the team in batting average in April at .379 (22-58), slugging percentage (.493), and bases on balls (11).

Ray Castillo leads the Crimson Tide bullpen, making 18 relief appearances and having a team-high 36 1/3 innings of relief work. He leads relievers in wins with a 3-0 record, is tied for the team lead in saves (4), and has a 2.72 ERA.

The Tide has collected 21 multi-hit efforts this season and is 15-6 when doing so, with nine of those double-digit performances coming in SEC play. Alabama has collected 10 or more hits in 11 of its last 20 games.

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