Alabama Baseball In Last Home Series

Alabama added a pitcher with College World Series experience for the Crimson Tide's final 2010 home series. Gene Rickles, however, won't have a tangible effect in games against Ole Miss. Rickles, believed to be the oldest living Tide baseball letterman, will throw out the first pitch Sunday. Rickles, who turned 90 on May 1, was a member of the Tide's first College World Series team in 1950.

Rickles is the only pitcher who has been announced for Sunday's games when Alabama hosts Ole Miss. The final home series of the year gets underway at 6:45 p.m. CDT Friday with the Tide sending left-hander Adam Morgan (5-3 record, 6.23 earned run average) against Rebels left-hander Drew Pomeranz (6-1, 2.17).

Saturday's game, which will be televised by ESPN2 and begin at 3 p.m., will have Bama right-hander Jimmy Nelson (5-2, 4.59) against Ole Miss right-hander Aaron Barnett (7-2, 3.14). Neither team has announced a starter for the final game on Sunday which begins at 2 p.m.

Ole Miss is one of the top teams in the Southeastern Conference with a 15-6 league record and 35-15 overall mark. Alabama is fighting to be one of the eight SEC teams making the SEC Tournament. Bama is 29-20 overall and 10-14 in conference games.

Three teams - Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky - are fighting for the final playoff spot heading into the final two weeks of the regular season. The Crimson Tide is one-game behind the eighth-place Volunteers (11-13 SEC) and one-game ahead of 10th place Kentucky (9-15 SEC) with six games remaining. Tennessee plays at Auburn this weekend, while Kentucky hosts LSU. Alabama and Tennessee square off next weekend in Knoxville, while UK closes on the road at Georgia. Mississippi (35-15, 15-6 SEC) enters the weekend series with hopes of winning its second straight SEC Championship. The Rebels are two games behind league leaders South Carolina (17-7 SEC) and Florida (17-7 SEC) for the overall championship and one-game behind SEC Western Division leader Arkansas (16-8 SEC).

This weekend marks the final games at Sewell-Thomas Stadium for six Alabama seniors–left-hand pitcher David Head (Ellenwood, Ga.), first baseman Clay Jones (Centreville), right-hand pitcher Adam Scott (Hueytown), third baseman Jake Smith (Shannon), infielder Cal Tinsley (Tuscaloosa) and catcher Cody Trotter (Fulton, Miss.). The Crimson Tide also has two senior student-managers R.J. Burgess and Jake Long. The senior class will be recognized prior to Sunday's series finale.

Alabama has compiled its 29-20 record against some of the toughest competition in the country. The Crimson Tide is 15-17 against the current NCAA Top 100 RPI. Alabama is 6-12 (.333) this season against teams ranked in the Top 30. Alabama is 18th in the latest RPI rankings.

Alabama is 21-6 at home this season and has won three of its first four SEC series. The Tide is 8-4 in SEC home games, with series wins over Vanderbilt, Auburn and Mississippi State. Alabama is 13-2 in non-conference home games.

Alabama has suddenly found its home run stroke, connecting on 26 home runs in the last 14 games. The Tide has homered in 12 of its last 14 games, its most successful run of the season. The 26 home runs since April 17 account for more than 50 percent of the season home run total.

Alabama enters the Mississippi series with 49 homers and no longer ranks last in the SEC in that category. The Tide is now 10th in the league in home runs and has moved ahead of both Georgia (43) and Vanderbilt (40).

In SEC play, Alabama is ninth with 26 home runs. Mississippi (24), Georgia (18) and Vanderbilt (13) all have fewer home runs than the Tide.

Clay Jones leads Alabama with a career-high 14 home runs this season, with nine of those home runs coming in his last 20 games. He has five home runs in his last eight games, including his first career multi-homer game against Mississippi Valley State on April 27.

Jake Smith is second on the team with nine home runs. Ross Wilson and Josh Rutledge are tied for third with seven home runs each.

Alabama leads the all-time series with Ole Miss, 194-133-2 since the first meeting in 1895.

BamaMag Top Stories