Gaspard Hopes For Continued Good

Alabama baseball returns to game action this weekend, a weekend that could be on the chilly side after last week's pleasant weather for the season-opener. Alabama will host Illinois-Chicago in a three-game series, a Friday evening contest (6:35 p.m. CST) and a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 12:05 p.m. CST.

Showing a ticket to Alabama's men's basketball game against Ole Miss on Saturday (1 p.m. tipoff) will provide admission for the Alabama baseball doubleheader against Illinois-Chicago. The doubleheader will be two nine inning games.

Alabama is 2-0 after last week's opening weekend series against South Alabama. The Crimson Tide opened the season with a win over the Jaguars in Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The teams then both went to Mobile to play the second game at Stanky Field.

Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said, "We had a great weekend. Obviously, we started out with great weather and a great crowd. The team played really well. There were a lot of good things on Saturday leading into Sunday. I thought we showed a lot Sunday. (South Alabama) threw their number-one guy and our guys hung in there and really competed. We got good starting pitching both days with (Adam) Morgan and (Jimmy) Nelson. The bullpen was really good and we responded late and put some runs on the board. So, yeah, the first weekend was just what we wanted and I thought we got better."

The Illinois-Chicago weekend is just the beginning of busy baseball time. Alabama will play five games next week, including a non-conference game against Georgia at Regions Stadium in Hoover, site of the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament.

The Georgia game will be at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday. Alabama will also be in Birmingham the day before for a 6 p.m. Tuesday game against Samford. Next weekend the Tide will go to Charleston, S.C. for three games against College of Charleston.

Gaspard said the Bama pitching needs to hold up over the next week. "We've got a tough week coming up with three games this weekend and a total of five games next week," he said. "We've got four or five guys that did not get on the mound that we are excited about pitching as well. We want to kind of break those games up, if it falls that way. Obviously, our top priority is to win the game. We feel like we have really good pitching depth and we're excited about some of those guys that have not been on the mound yet."

This weekend's Alabama pitching rotation includes On this weekend's pitching rotation:Adam Morgan, who was named Alabama pitcher of the week last week by the Bama staff; Jimmy Nelson; and Jonathan Smart. Gaspard said Jason Townsend "will be in the bullpen this weekend and we're looking at him as possibly one of the starters next week."

Gaspard was asked about freshman outfielder Andrew Miller. "There are some freshmen we are excited about," the coach said. "Obviously Andrew is one of them, along with (Brett) Booth and some others. We expected Andrew to come in and play well. He was a really good high school player. He has what we like. He has that toughness. He has a lot of confidence about him and he can be a physical player and he plays really hard. He is a good defender and he brings something to the table offensively. We feel like he is one of our better options in the outfield right now."

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