Alabama Baseball Will Be On Road
Alabama opened play last week with a pair of mid-week wins over Minnesota, then took the first two Southeastern Conference games of the season over Vanderbilt on Friday and Saturday. Both Minnesota and Vanderbilt were NCAA Regional participants last year.
The Crimson Tide is now 16-2 on the season, the second best start in Bama baseball history. The Tide opened the season with an eight-game winning streak before losing at College of Charleston and had another eight-game winning streak before falling to Vandy. Alabama is 2-1 in SEC play.
Both Bama losses have been by one run, 6-7 to Charleston and 4-5 to Vanderbilt.
This week the Tide is on the road. Bama and Auburn will make up a rained out non-conference game, the Capital City Classic, at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery at 7 p.m. CDT Wednesday. This week's SEC schedule has Bama at Arkansas for games at 6:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Alabama has nominated catcher-outfielder Brock Bennett, a junior from Tucker, Georgia, for SEC Player of the Week.
A walk-on, Bennett had a superb week at the plate, leading Alabama with a .643 (9-for-14) average with five runs scored, one home run and four RBI. He played a vital role in the Tide's series win against Vanderbilt by hitting a team-best .727 (8-for-11) against the Commodores with four runs scored and three RBI. At one point in the series, he had eight straight hits for the Tide.
He was 2-for-3 with two RBI in the series opener, including a two-run single in the Tide's three-run fourth inning against Vandy ace Sonny Gray. It was Bennett's first career SEC hit and first career SEC RBI. He followed that up with a 4-for-4 performance on Saturday and scored three runs as the Tide clinched its third straight series win over the Commodores. He went 2-for-4 with one RBI and scored one run on Sunday. He also played a key role on defense behind the plate as he threw out all three Vanderbilt base stealers.
Earlier in the week, Bennett went 1-for-3 with a home run and one RBI in the win over Minnesota. It was his first career home run. For the season, Bennett is hitting .433 (13-for-30) with one home run and six RBI … He has also scored 12 runs.
Bama's pitcher of the week nominee is left-handed sophomore Adam Morgan of Marietta, Georgia. Morgan set the tone for the Crimson Tide in its series win against Vanderbilt as he held the SEC's top hitting team (.352 average entering the weekend) to one run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings in the series opener. He had three walks and three strikeouts as he notched his third win of the season. Morgan blanked the Commodores for six innings before allowing back-to-back two out hits in the seventh that produced the Commodores' lone run. Anthony Gomez's two-out RBI double was the only Vanderbilt hitter to reach second base against Morgan.
The 1997 Crimson Tide team owns the best 18-game start in school history with an 17-1 mark. The 1997 team won a school record 56 games and finished runner-up to LSU in the College World Series.
In addition to ending Bama's eight-game winning streak this year, the loss to Vandy broke an 18-game home winning streak (dating back to last year at Sewell-Thomas Stadium) and a seven-game winning streak over Vanderbilt. Alabama has won three straight series against the Commodores.
Alabama has the SEC's two leading hitters this season. Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas leads the league with a .459 batting average in 18 games, while junior catcher Brock Bennett leads the league with a .727 batting average in SEC play. Dugas reached base eight times in the final two games of the Vanderbilt series and owns the SEC's second-best on-base percentage at .582 this season
Alabama is second in the SEC in earned run average (3.04) and fielding percentage (.979) and third in hitting (.320) after the first weekend of SEC play.
Junior second baseman Ross Wilson and junior shortstop Josh Rutledge combined for seven RBI in the series-clinching win on Saturday.
Rutledge owns a 13-game hitting streak.
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