Baseball: Vanderbilt hosts Alabama

No. 1 ranked Vanderbilt host No. 19 Alabama this weekend in a critical SEC baseball series at Hawkins Field. Look inside for details.

#19 Alabama (21-10, 7-2) AT #1 Vanderbilt (27-3, 7-2)


Game 1 • Friday, April 8 • 6 p.m. CT
Game 2 • Saturday, April 9 • 2 p.m. CT
Game 3 • Sunday, April 10 • 1 p.m. CT

Radio: 560 AM WNSR

TV: Friday's game will be on CSS/

Series History: Vandy trails 47-84-2.

The Coaches: Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard is 63-35 (.642) in his second season as the Crimson Tide's head coach and 273-173 overall in eight years as a head coach. Vanderbilt's Tim Corbin is 455-318 in 15 years as a head coach. Corbin is 349-180 in 9 years at VU.

Tentative Pitching Matchups

UA-Nathan Kilcrease (Sr., RHP, 4-1, 1.90 ERA)
VU-Sonny Gray (Jr., RHP, 6-1, 1.74 ERA)

UA-Adam Morgan (Jr., LHP, 4-1, 4.10 ERA)
VU-Grayson Garvin (Jr., LHP, 5-1, 2.36 ERA)

UA-Taylor Wolfe (So., LHP, 1-2, 3.86 ERA)
VU-Taylor Hill (Sr., RHP, 2-0, 2.84 ERA)

Scouting Alabama

After being ranked in all four polls for the fi rst time all season, Alabama posted a 3-2 record with two wins over top 25 competition, last week and moved up in three of the four national polls. The Crimson Tide is ranked the highest in the College Baseball News poll, moving up two spots to No. 19 in the country. The No. 19-ranked Alabama baseball team suff ered a 4-2 loss to Samford at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Tuesday night, just the third loss at home for the Crimson Tide. Samford's big blow came in the third inning, a three-run home run for Phillip Ervin off losing pitcher Case Nixon. Ervin also added an RBI single in the fi fth inning to extend the Bulldogs lead to 4-0. Alabama got two runs in the bottom of the fi fth off a two-run home run by Taylor Dugas, his third of the season. After the Dugas homer, the Samford bullpen held the Tide to one hit over the fi nal 4.2 innings, as Alabama was held to just three hits in the game. Josh Rosecrans, who was the SEC Player of the Week last week, led the Tide with a .316 average last week… Rosecrans is now batting .293 for the season … Taylor Dugas hit .313 for the week with an on-base percentage of .522 … Dugas reached base safely in nine straight plate appearances during the week, and scored a team-high seven runs in fi ve games … Dugas is second on the team with a .355 batting average with a .493 on-base percentage and leads the team with 32 runs scored, 38 hits, 10 doubles, three triples, and 27 walks.

Scouting Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt is the top-ranked baseball team in America in three of the four major college baseball polls. The Commodores have gotten the job done with a solid balance of hitting and pitching. Vanderbilt's 27-3 record is the second best in the country, behind only Virginia's 28-2 mark. Coming into this week's competition, Vanderbilt ranked second to the Florida Gators in the SEC in both batting average and ERA, but after Tuesday night's 9-1 victory over Middle Tennessee State (8-19) the Commodores have claimed the league lead with a 2.28 team ERA. Off ensively, the Commodores rank fi rst in the conference in on-base percentage at .409 and second in the league with 296 hits. Vanderbilt doesn't hit for a lot of power though, the Commodores are 11th in the SEC and 166th in the country with just nine home runs this season. Their off ensive sparkplug this season has been junior Aaron Westlake who has started all 30 games and has compiled a .413 batting average with fi ve home runs and is second in the SEC with 72 total bases. Five other players with at least 15 starts have averages over .300: Anthony Gomez, Riley Reynolds, Tony Kemp, Curt Casali, and Jason Esposito. On the mound is where the Commodores really shine. They have arguably the best weekend rotation in college baseball, made up of Sonny Gray (6-1, 1.74 ERA), Grayson Garvin (5-1, 2.36 ERA), and Taylor Hill (2-0, 2.84 ERA). Gray is tied for the league lead with 62 strikeouts in 46.2 innings pitched. All three of Vanderbilt's losses this season have come in weekend series; they have fallen once on a Friday (2-1 to Arkansas), and twice on a Sunday (9-8 to Mississippi State and 5-2 to Stanford).

Statistical Comparison

.273 Average .309
5.5 Runs Per Game 6.4
8.8 Hits Per Game 10.2
56 Doubles 49
8 Triples 7
9 Home Runs 10
151 Runs Batted In 165
124/177 Walks/Strikeouts 125/154
25 Stolen Bases 39
276.1 Innings Pitched 264.0
3.22 Earned Run Average 2.28
3.9 Runs Allowed Per Game 2.8
7.8 Hits Allowed Per Game 6.9
79/221 Walks/Strikeouts 84/288
.973 Fielding Pct. .974
32 Errors 32
26 Double Plays 13 Top Stories