Alabama Baseball Opens Home Stand
Alabama will host the Stony Brook Seawolves at Sewell-Thomas Stadium with single games at 6:35 p.m. CST Friday, a doubleheader beginning at 1:05 p.m. CST Saturday, and a single game at 12:05 CDT (it's spring forward weekend as daylight savings time begins) Sunday. The start time for the Sunday game has been moved up an hour to accommodate Stony Brook's travel plans.
Alabama opened the season with eight consecutive wins before losing the third game of a series at College of Charleston. Since then the Tide has suffered back-to-back rainouts, against Auburn in Montgomery and Michigan State in Tuscaloosa. The Auburn game will be made up later, as will a previous rainout against Samford in Birmingham.
Alabama is ranked in three of the major baseball polls this week, including USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll (No. 25), National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (No. 27) and Collegiate Baseball (No. 30).
Stony Brook is 2-2 after splitting games last weekend with Akron and UNC Wilmington. The Seawolves opened the season with two straight wins over Akron and UNC Wilmington, before losing to both teams on Sunday.
Alabama has not played a home game since February 27. The Crimson Tide has played the fewest games (9) and fewest home games (4) of any Southeastern Conference team.
Alabama is expected to start left-hander Adam Morgan (2-0, 2.81 earned run average) Friday night, then go with right-hander Jimmy Nelson (2-0, 1.12) and left-hander Taylor Wolfe (1-0, 4.50) Saturday, and left-hander Jonathan Smart (0-0, 5.59) Sunday.
Alabama leads the SEC in fielding (.981) and ranks third in earned run average (2.86) entering the Stony Brook series. The Crimson Tide has made the fewest errors (6) in the league, while the catchers have the third-best stolen base percentage (.417).
On the mound, Vanderbilt (2.11), Mississippi (2.79) and Alabama are the only teams with a sub 3.00 ERA this season. Alabama pitchers have allowed the fewest hits (69), fewest runs (26), fewest earned runs (25) and fewest walks (16) this season. The Crimson Tide is second in opponent's batting average (.237).
Junior right-hander Jimmy Nelson leads the league with a 19:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and is sixth in ERA (1.12) and eighth in opponent's batting average (.186). Sophomore left-hander Adam Morgan is third in the SEC with 23 strikeouts.
Alabama's early season success can be contributed to its new style of play and the team's offensive execution in the first nine games. The Crimson Tide is fourth in the SEC with a .331 batting average, but finds itself at the top of the league standings in most specialty statistics. Alabama leads the SEC in hitting with runners in scoring position (.385), runners at third base with less than two outs (.735), with two outs (.346), bases loaded (.500) and pinch-hitting (.500). Alabama also has nine sacrifice bunts, six sacrifice flies and 15 stolen bases in the first nine games this season.
Alabama enters the Stony Brook series riding a 10-game home winning streak dating back to the 2009 season. The current streak began with a 3-2 series-clinching win over Kentucky on April 26, 2009. The Crimson Tide closed out the 2009 season with six straight home wins, including a three-game sweep of then No.. 11 Arkansas. Alabama is 4-0 at home this season, with a win over South Alabama and a three-game sweep of Illinois-Chicago.
Alabama and Stony Brook will be meeting for the first time this weekend. The Seawolves become the Crimson Tide's 236th different baseball opponent and the 196th different intercollegiate team.
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