Bama Needs Bats Awake Against Auburn

If you told either Alabama coach Jim Wells or Auburn's Tom Slater that "when these two teams play, you can throw the record books out the window," they would both probably want to take the cliché quite literally.

Neither Alabama or Auburn has had a very good year to this point. Halfway through the Southeastern Conference season Auburn (25-15 overall, 4-11 SEC) is in dead last in the league race, and Alabama (22-16, 7-8 SEC) checks in at seventh place in the league.

Alabama and Auburn face one another in a three game series beginning at 6 p.m. at Plainsman Park in Auburn Friday night. Saturday's game is set to start at 3 p.m., with Sunday's game set for 1:30.

Both teams lost mid-week games to in-state opponents on Wednesday – Auburn to Samford (who also beat Bama earlier in the year) and Alabama to South Alabama.

Friday and Sunday's games are scheduled to be televised by CSS, and Saturday's game is scheduled to be on Fox Sports Net South.

Alabama has had a steep pitching deficit when injuries took their toll earlier this year, problems finding a catcher who can stop the ball and throw out runners (much less hit) and a case of narcoleptic bats at inopportune times.

Now, however, the pitching staff has stabilized and Kyle Moore has moved from the outfield to help out behind the plate. At times the Tide is able to string consecutive together hits, but there's never been any sustained pop in the bats.

"Everything plays a part, but if you want one thing, the inability to drive the ball (has been a common theme)," Wells said. "When we do hit it, it's just station to station. We try to bunt, to hit & run and steal, but when you look at it, that's been the common theme."

Case in point, Alabama didn't have a single extra-base hit (out of six total hits) on Wednesday in its 5-4 loss to South Alabama. Bama's four runs included two unearned in the ninth inning. In Southeastern Conference games, Alabama has 103 singles and 37 extra base hits.

"The pitching's not as good as it was last year but for some reason no one has beaten the daylights out of us," Wells said. "It's always a close game and a winnable game, therefore with a little more offense you think you'd been able to win some of these have slipped away."

BamaMag Top Stories