Stuart McNair

Alabama has won two of three series in early SEC baseball play

Alabama series at Kentucky will be Tide’s third SEC road challenge

Early returns suggest the SEC East is stronger than the West in baseball. After three weeks of Southeastern Conference play, Florida and South Carolina in the East have 7-2 league records and Kentucky and Vanderbilt are at 6-3. The West has as its leaders Mississippi State at 6-3 and Alabama at 5-4.

The Alabama baseball team of Coach Mitch Gaspard will begin its fourth SEC series of the year, and third conference series on the road this season at one of those East powers. Alabama is in Lexington for a three-game series against the 13th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats.

First pitch today (Friday) is at 5:30 p.m. CDT with junior right-hander Geoffrey Bramblett on the mound for the Crimson Tide. Saturday’s game will be at 1 p.m., the Sunday finale at Noon. All games will be broadcast on SECN+.

Alabama (18-11 overall) is receiving votes in both the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches Polls. Kentucky (20-8) is ranked in three of the major polls, including Collegiate Baseball News (13), Baseball America (19), and D1Baseball (21). The Wildcats are also receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Crimson Tide will continue with its usual weekend trio of right-handed starters. Following Bramblett on Friday, sophomore Jake Walters will take the hill on Saturday. Sunday’s series finale will feature junior Nick Eicholtz, who will be making his second SEC start of the 2016 season.

 The Wildcats also feature three righties for the weekend. Junior Zack Browns is slotted in for the game one start, and will be followed by a pair of seniors. Dustin Beggs Saturday and Kyle Cody on Sunday.

Alabama and Kentucky will meet for the 95th time on Friday in a series that dates back to 1925. The Crimson Tide owns the all-time advantage, 57-37, and holds a 21-18 advantage in Lexington. The two teams have split the last 10 games, 5-5, and the home team has claimed the series in each of the last seven series meetings.

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