TUSCALOOSA, AL – The No. 19-ranked Alabama baseball team (21-10, 7-2 SEC) travels to Nashville, Tenn. to take on the top-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores (27-3, 7-2 SEC) for three games in Southeastern Conference play this weekend from Hawkins Field. Friday's game between the two SEC divisional leaders is slated for 6 p.m. CT and will be televised on CSS and will also be available on ESPN3.com. Game two begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday and game three is slated to start at 1 p.m., Sunday.
#19 Alabama (21-10, 7-2) at #1 Vanderbilt (27-3, 7-2)
Hawkins Field (3,700 ) • Nashville, Tenn.
Game 32 • Friday, April 8 • 6 p.m. CT (CSS/ESPN3.com)
Game 33 • Saturday, April 9 • 2 p.m. CT
Game 34 • Sunday, April 10 • 1 p.m. CT
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (CTSN)
Play-by-Play: Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey
Stations: WFFN-FM 95.3, WTSK-AM 790- Tuscaloosa, and CTSN Affiliates
TV: CSS/ESPN3.com (Friday only)
Broadcasters: Matt Stewart and Rusty Ensor
Streaming Audio: www.RollTide.com
Live Stats: www.RollTide.com
Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday W-L ERA G/GS IP H R ER BB SO
UA-Nathan Kilcrease (Sr., RHP) 4-1 1.90 7/7 47.1 39 15 10 8 48
VANDY-Sonny Gray (Jr., RHP) 6-1 1.74 7/7 46.2 26 9 9 20 62
Saturday W-L ERA G/GS IP H R ER BB SO
UA-Adam Morgan (Jr., LHP) 4-1 4.10 7/7 41.2 37 20 19 11 37
VANDY-Grayson Garvin (Jr., LHP) 5-1 2.36 7/7 45.2 34 18 12 8 43
Sunday W-L ERA G/GS IP H R ER BB SO
VANDY-Taylor Hill (Sr., RHP) 2-0 2.84 7/7 38.0 37 16 12 11 38
Alabama on the Radio
All three games of the weekend series between Alabama and Vanderbilt can be heard on the on the radio through the Crimson Tide Sports Network. The games can be aired on WFFN-FM 95.3 and WTSK-AM 790 in Tuscaloosa, as well as other stations around Alabama, or on RollTide.com. Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey will call the action for the broadcast live from Hawkins Field.
Crimson Tide on TV
Only the Friday game of the three-game series between No. 19 Alabama and No. 1 Vanderbilt will be televised, and can be seen on Comcast SportSouth (CSS), beginning at 6 p.m. CT, with play-by-play by Matt Stewart and color commentary provided by Rusty Ensor. The broadcast will also be available on ESPN3.com.
Crimson Tide Moves Up in National Rankings
After being ranked in all four polls for the first 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 Tide moved up four spots in the Baseball America poll to No. 21 and one spot in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll to No. 24. UA remained ranked No. 24 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
No. 1 Vanderbilt Commodores at a Glance
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. Offensively, the Commodores rank first 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 offensive sparkplug this season has been junior Aaron Westlake who has started all 30 games and has compiled a .413 batting average with five 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).
Series History versus Vanderbilt
Alabama and Vanderbilt have played 133 games on the baseball diamond, and Alabama holds and 84-47-2 record against them. The last 10 games have been controlled by the Tide, who has taken eight of the last 10 from the Commodores. Last season, Alabama opened the SEC slate when Vanderbilt came to Sewell-Thomas Stadium, and the Crimson Tide took the first two of three from the 18th-ranked Commodores.
The Last Outing
The No. 19-ranked Alabama baseball team suffered 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 fifth inning to extend the Bulldogs lead to 4-0. Alabama got two runs in the bottom of the fifth 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 final 4.2 innings, as Alabama was held to just three hits in the game.
On Deck for the Tide
Alabama returns home to Sewell-Thomas Stadium for five games in five days next week. The Crimson Tide will host Mississippi Valley State in a pair of midweek games on Tuesday and Wednesday. The two-game series opens on Tuesday, April 12 with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT and Wednesday's game will begin at 3:05 p.m. CT from "The Joe". The three-game SEC series against Tennessee begins on Thursday, April 14 with first pitch slated for 6:35 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on ESPNU. The series continues on Friday, with first pitch at 6:35 p.m. CT and concludes on Saturday with a 5:05 p.m. CT first pitch.