TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama baseball team (4-0, 0-0 SEC) travels to Mobile, Ala. to compete in the South Alabama Classic, hosted by the University of South Alabama at Stanky Field. The Crimson Tide open the Classic on Friday afternoon when they take on the Southeastern Louisiana Lions (3-1, 0-0 Southland) at 1 p.m. The Tide plays South Alabama (4-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) at 1 p.m. on Saturday and wrap up the tournament on Sunday against Central Florida (4-0, 0-0 CUSA) at 11 a.m.
Crimson Tide South Alabama Classic Schedule (Stanky Field (Mobile, Ala.))
Friday, Feb. 25 - Alabama (4-0) vs. Southeastern Louisiana (3-1)
Saturday, Feb. 26 – Alabama (4-0) at South Alabama (4-0)
Sunday, Feb. 27 – Central Florida (4-0) vs. Alabama (4-0)
South Alabama Classic Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday W-L ERA G/GS IP HR ER BB SO
UA - Adam Morgan (Jr., LHP) 1-0 0.00 1/1 5.1 0 0 1 6
SELU - Brandon Efferson (Sr., RHP) 1-0 2.57 1/1 7.0 0 2 3 3
Saturday W-L ERA G/GS IP HR ER BB SO
UA Nathan Kilcrease (Sr., RHP) 1-0 1.50 1/1 6.0 0 1 1 8
USA Jeff Miller (So., RHP) 0-0 1.50 1/1 6.0 0 1 1 5
Sunday W-L ERA G/GS IP HR ER BB SO
UA Tucker Hawley (So., RHP) 1-0 0.00 1/1 5.0 0 0 0 5
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network
-WFFN-FM (95.3) – Tuscaloosa
-WJOX-FM (94.5) - Birmingham
Live Stats: www.RollTide.com/www.USAJaguars.com
Streaming Video: None
ON THE RADIO
All three games of the South Alabama Classic will be broadcast on the radio by the Crimson Tide Sports Network. The games can be heard on WFFN-FM (95.3) and WTSK-AM 790 in Tuscaloosa and WJOX-FM (94.5) and WJOX-AM (690) in Birmingham. Lee Tracey will call the action from Stanky Field in Mobile, Ala.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
A Glimpse at Southeastern Louisiana
Southeastern Louisiana enters the South Alabama Classic with a 3-1 record to open the season. The Lions opened the year by taking two of three games from Florida International last weekend, then defeated Tulane (13-1) on Tuesday night. For the season, the Lions are hitting .284 as a team, while holding the opposition to a .194 batting average. Cody Gougler leads SELU with a .529 (9-for-17) average this season, while Brock Herbert his hitting .429 and Justin Boudreaux is hitting .400 through four games. The Southeastern Louisiana pitching staff has a 2.57 ERA through four games, while allowing 26 hits and posting 24 punch outs in four games.
SERIES HISTORY VS. SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA
Dating back to the 1980 season, Alabama has a 10-0 record against Southeastern Louisiana. Alabama defeated the No. 23 ranked Lions 10-5 in Hammond, La. last season in the most recent meeting between the two clubs. Alabama Head Coach Mitch Gaspard is 14-6 all-time versus SELU and is 1-0 as Alabama's head coach against the Lions.
A Glimpse at South Alabama
South Alabama enters the South Alabama Classic with a 4-0 record following a series sweep of Tennessee-Martin on the opening weekend and a 10-inning victory at Jackson State (6-3) on Tuesday. Logan Kirkland is off to a hot start, as he's leading the squad with a .500 (6-for-12) average. Jake Overstreet leads the team with eight RBI and six runs scored and is hitting .353 (6-for-17) on the year. On the mound, Kyle Dees is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA out of the bullpen and has thrown 5.1 innings in his two appearances. The South Alabama pitching staff has a 3.16 ERA and is holding opponents to a .236 batting average.
SERIES HISTORY VS. SOUTH ALABAMA
Saturday's meeting between Alabama and South Alabama will mark the 101st meeting all-time between the schools in baseball. Alabama holds a 53-47 advantage overall, after winning both games during the 2010 season. Mitch Gaspard is 3-0 all-time as a head coach against South Alabama.
A Glimpse at Central Florida
The Knights of Central Florida enter the weekend with a 4-0 record following a 13-0 win at Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday night. The Knights opened the season with a series sweep of Siena, as they outscored the Saints 47-6 in the three games. UCF has outscored their opponents 50-6 through four games. The Knights are hitting .363 this season, as Ryan Breen (8-for-16) and Derek Luciano (4-for-8) lead the club with .500 averages. Darnell Sweeney has a team-leading nine RBI, while Breen, Travis Shreve and D.J. Hicks have seven RBI each. All six runs scored by the opposition have been earned and the Central Florida pitching staff has a 1.50 ERA, while holding opponents to a .183 batting average.
SERIES HISTORY VS. CENTRAL FLORIDA
When Alabama and Central Florida meet on Sunday, it will mark the 10th meeting all-time and first since 2001. The Knights hold a 5-4 advantage in the series after sweeping all three games during the 2001 season, the most recent meeting between the two schools. Alabama won two of three in the first series in 1987, and then took the final two games of the three-game series in Tuscaloosa in 2000. This will be the first time Mitch Gaspard has been a head coach when facing Central Florida.
LOOKING BACK AT LAST WEEK
Following an 11-7 win over Alabama State on Tuesday, Alabama is off to a 4-0 start for the second straight season. The Tide swept the Alcorn State Braves on the opening weekend. Alabama opened the series with an 11-0 win on Friday, followed by a 5-1 victory Saturday, and capped the sweep with a convincing 8-1 win on Sunday. The Crimson Tide allowed Alcorn State two runs in the series, one earned run, and held the Braves to a .196 (18-for-92) batting average. Alabama outscored Alcorn State 24-2 and out-hit the Braves 27-18 overall. Alabama's starting pitching earned the win in all three games, as Adam Morgan was the winner on Friday, Nathan Kilcrease on Saturday, and Tucker Hawley on Sunday. Morgan allowed just one hit in 5.1 innings with six strikeouts, Kilcrease tied his career-high with eight strikeouts in 6.0 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits, and Hawley pitched into the sixth inning, allowing one unearned run on six hits with five strikeouts. Offensively, Alabama hit .297 for the series, while posting a .440 slugging percentage. The Tide had 27 hits, 12 walks, 10 doubles and one home run. Junior shortstop Jared Reaves, who was in his first weekend with the Tide, hit .636 with an .818 slugging percentage, five runs scored and three RBI. Fellow newcomer Josh Rosecrans was 4-for-11 in the series for a .364 average while knocking in three runs. Preseason All-American Taylor Dugas hit the only home run in the series, when he led off game two with a line shot over the right field fence. Dugas was 2-for-9 (.222), but had a .556 on-base percentage for the series. In the win over Alabama State, Alabama held an 11-1 lead before the Hornets scored six times in the seventh inning. Starting pitcher Taylor Wolfe was dominate as he posted nine strikeouts in five innings without allowing a hit. Freshman first baseman Austen Smith got the Tide on the board in the third with a grand slam, which was his first career hit. Reaves continued his hot hitting, as he was 2-for-2 with three runs scored and two RBI.
REAVES IMPRESSES IN BAMA DEBUT
Junior shortstop Jared Reaves helped Alabama to three straight wins over Alcorn State and a win over Alabama State to open the season. Reaves leads the Crimson Tide with a .692 (9-for-13) batting average. Through four games, he has eight runs score, five RBI, two doubles, the team's only triple, and has been hit by a pitch three times. Additionally, he has a 1.000 slugging percentage to lead Alabama. He's has at least two hits in all four games, and was 2-for-2 against Alabama State and 3-for-3 in game two if the series against Alcorn State.
MORGAN GETS TIDE OFF TO A GOOD START
Alabama junior pitcher Adam Morgan got the start for the 2011 season opener and did not disappoint. He threw 5.1 innings before leaving the game for pitch-count, allowing just one hit, which came in the fifth inning. After opening the game with a walk, Morgan retired 13 straight hitters before a leadoff infield single in the fifth. He set the table for a shutout in the season opener, as the Tide posted an 11-0 win over Alcorn State. He finished the game with six strikeouts, as he threw 46 strikes in his 64 pitches.
PITCHING STAFF SHINES DURING OPENING WEEKEND
The starting pitching for Alabama allowed one earned run in 16.1 innings, with 19 strikeouts and just two walks. The Tide bullpen didn't yield a single run in 10.2 innings and gave up only seven hits. Combined, the Alabama pitching staff posted a 0.33 ERA in the series, with 30 strikeouts, six walks and three extra base hits.
Austen Smith's First Hit Big for Bama
Freshman first baseman Austen Smith got everything out of his first hit at Alabama, when he hit a grand slam in the third inning against Alabama State. With the bases load, Smith hit the first pitch he saw off the scoreboard in left center field at The Joe, giving the Tide a 4-0 advantage. Alabama hit three grand slams last season, with the most recent coming from Jake Smith on April 25, 2010 against Mississippi State.
WOLFE THROWS FIVE HITLESS INNINGS IN 2011 DEBUT
Sophomore left-hander Taylor Wolfe continued the Tide's hot starting pitching when he threw 5.0 innings and earned the win against Alabama State on Tuesday. Throwing on a predetermined pitch-count, Wolfe left the game without allowing a hit and striking out nine of the 17 batters he faced, just two shy of his career-high. Following Wolfe's start, the Alabama's starting pitchers have thrown 21.1 innings, allowed two runs (one earned), with 28 strikeouts, two walks and held opponents to a .142 (11-for-77) batting average.
David Kindred Returns To Lineup After Bout with Cancer
Senior outfielder David Kindred returned to the Crimson Tide lineup for the season opener, after missing the final 10 games of the 2010 season. In his return, Kindred was 2-for-4 in the series against Alcorn State, with two doubles, three RBI and a run scored as the designated hitter. On May 27, 2010, Kindred left the team due to shortness of breath and tightness in his chest, and tests later determined that he had Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Following cancer treatment, he returned to the team during Fall practice and has been released to compete for the season opener on Friday.
COACHES PICK TIDE TO FINISH FIFTH IN WESTERN DIVISION
The Alabama baseball team picked to finish fifth in the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference preseason coaches poll. The Tide finished fourth in the SEC Western Division a year ago with a 15-15 conference record, then advanced to the championship game of the 2010 SEC Tournament.
NEXT TIME OUT
After its three games in the South Alabama Classic, Alabama returns home for games against Southern Mississippi and Northwestern State next week. The Tide opens the week on Wednesday, March 2 against Southern Mississippi at 6 p.m. The weekend three-game series against Northwestern State is scheduled to begin on Friday, March 4 with first pitch at 6 p.m. from The Joe. Game two of the series is schedule for 2 p.m. on Saturday and the final game of the series will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday.