Pitchers Of Note In State Series

Alabama Baseball Coach Mitch Gaspard is shaking up the Crimson Tide pitching rotation this weekend for the Mississippi State series. There is also more than a little interest in a special guest hurler.

Mark Ingram was a Heisman Trophy winner in football for the Crimson Tide last fall. On Saturday Ingram will throw out the first pitch prior to the Alabama baseball game against Mississippi State. That's the second game of a three-game series.

"We are excited to have Mark Ingram coming to the game this Saturday and throw out the first pitch," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said.  He added that Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban threw out the first pitch before a game against Vanderbilt earlier this season "and that brought a lot of energy to the crowd and to our team."

Alabama needs all the energy--and all the pitching--the Crimson Tide can get. Bama is coming off a disheartening three-game sweep at the hands of LSU. Bama, once ranked nationally, has fallen to 22-15 overall and 4-10 in Southeastern Conference play. Mississippi State is also 5-10 in the league and the Bulldogs are 20-17 overall.

Jimmy Nelson, who had been Alabama's Saturday pitcher most of the season and started the Sunday game last week, is moving up to the Friday starter as Bama hosts Mississippi State at 6:35 p.m.CDT in the first of a three-game series. The teams will meet at 4:05 p.m. Saturday when Ingram makes his appearance and at 2:05 Sunday.

Nelson is 4-1 and has a 3.54 earned run average. The junior right-hander will be going against sophomore righty Caleb Reed, who is 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA.

After Ingram's pitch Satuday, Alabama will go with left-hander Adam Morgan (4-2, 5.26 ERA) against State right-hander Chris Stratton (4-3, 3.88 ERA). The Sunday pitchers will be right-hander Tucker Hawley (1-0, 4.58 ERA) for Alabama against Mississippi State left-hander Luke Bole (2-0, 6.92).?

After spending the last two weeks on the road, Alabama is back in Sewell-Thomas Stadium this weekend. This is the start of the second half of SEC play. Although there is still much baseball to play, this weekend series matches two teams battling to stay in contention for a berth in the SEC Tournament. Bama, State and Kentucky are in a three-way tie for eighth place in the conference.  The top eight teams advance to the 2010 SEC Tournament, which will be held May 26-30, at Regions Park in Hoover.

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