Almost all season, the Alabama baseball story has been that the offense hasn’t provided enough support for a pitching staff that has given quality starts and effective relief work.
This week the Crimson Tide closes out the regular season and Southeastern Conference play hosting 10th-ranked South Carolina, and Alabama will need pitching, hitting, and defense against the powerful Gamecocks.
The offense will be just fine if it can continue its performance of the last four games, in which Bama has scored 33 runs.
In a sweep of Arkansas last weekend, Will Haynie had three home runs and eight runs batted in and Chandler Taylor had two homers and six RBI. Georgie Salem was 5-11 with a pair of doubles, a homer, and five runs scored.
In Tuesday’s 8-2 win over Samford, the 1-2-3 hitters -- Keith Holcombe, Cobie Vance and Salem -- went a combined 8-for-13 (.615) with seven of the team’s eight RBI and half of the team’s runs scored with four. Salem finished 3-for-5 with a home run, four RBI and one run scored.
The Alabama-South Carolina series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium will have 7 p.m. CDT starts on Thursday and Friday and conclude with a 2 p.m. Saturday game.
The Tide is 31-21 overall and 15-12 in SEC games. South Carolina is 39-13, including a 17-9 conference record.
The Gamecocks are coming off a midweek win over The Citadel, after having lost two of three games to second-ranked Texas A&M in Columbia last weekend.
Alabama will call on a pair of right-handed starters to begin the series, first with junior Geoffrey Bramblett for Thursday’s opening night game. Sophomore Jake Walters will take the hill in Friday’s second contest, while Alabama’s starter for Saturday is still to be announced. The Gamecocks counter with a trio of young right-handers. South Carolina will first throw sophomore Clarke Schmidt in Thursday’s opener before sending freshman Braden Webb to the mound on Friday. South Carolina is scheduled to throw freshman Adam Hill on Saturday.
South Carolina has won eight of the last 10 games against Bama and has won the last four series.
Following this series, Alabama will got to Hoover for the 2016 SEC Tournament, which begins Sunday. Opponent, date, and time will be determined by the outcome of conference games this weekend.