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Bama baseball travels to No. 15 Southern Mississippi for showdown

The Alabama baseball team (25-18) will play four games this week, opening on Tuesday at Southern Mississippi (30-9) for its final non-conference midweek game of the season. The game against the No. 15 ranked Golden Eagles will begin at 6 p.m. CT from Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg, Miss. Alabama wraps up the week with three Southeastern Conference games at Mississippi State on Saturday and Sunday. First pitch for Saturday's doubleheader is slated for 2 p.m. and the Sunday series finale has a 1:30 p.m. first pitch.

ALABAMA (25-18) at  #15 Southern Mississippi (30-9)

Pete Taylor Park (3,678) • Hattiesburg, Miss.

Game 44 • Tuesday, April 26 • 6 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, and CTSN Affiliates

Streaming Audio: www.RollTide.com

Live Stats: www.RollTide.com

Probable Starting Pitchers

Tuesday, April 26

LHP Adam Windsor (2-0, 2.38 ERA) vs. LHP Dillon Day (1-0, 2.55 ERA)           

Alabama on the Radio

The Tuesday game between Alabama and No. 15 Southern Mississippi can be heard on the on the radio through the Crimson Tide Sports Network. The game will be aired on WFFN-FM 95.3 and WTSK-AM 790 in Tuscaloosa, as well as other stations around Alabama, and on RollTide.com. Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey will call the action for the broadcast live from Pete Taylor Park.

Tide In the Middle of a Season-Long Road Swing

With Tuesday's game at Samford, Alabama embarked on the first of eight straight road games, the longest road swing of the season. Alabama is currently 1-3 on the roadie, and will travel to Southern Mississippi for a midweek game on Tuesday before completing the eight straight road games with a three-game series at Mississippi State on Saturday and Sunday.

No. 15 Southern Mississippi at a Glance

Southern Mississippi comes into Tuesday's ball game with a 30-9 record overall and hold a 1.5 game lead in Conference USA with a 9-3 conference record. The Golden Eagles, who have won eight of their last 10 ball games following a sweep over Marshall, are ranked No. 15 by Baseball America, No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, No. 19 by Collegiate Baseball News, and No. 20 in the NCBWA poll. Offensively, Southern Mississippi is as deep as any team that Alabama has played this season. The Golden Eagles are paced by the .390 average of Tyler Koelling, who leads the team with 12 doubles and 38 RBI. USM has 34 home runs so far this season, thanks in no small part to B.A. Vollmuth (.308, 10 HR, 36 RBI), Marc Bougeois (.376, five HR, 25 RBI), and Kameron Brunty (.307, four HR, 29 RBI). Jared Bales leads the way for the Eagles in on-base percentage where he has a .478 mark.  Southern Mississippi also has a talented pitching staff, with lefty Dillon Day slated to throw against the Crimson Tide. Day (1-0, 2.55 ERA) is second on the team in ERA to closer Collin Cargill (4-3, 1.16 ERA) and will be making his first start of the 2011 campaign on Tuesday. Opposing hitters are hitting .244 against the sophomore, and he has allowed just six walks in his 24.2 innings of work.

Series History versus Southern Mississippi

Alabama and Southern Mississippi first met on the baseball diamond in 1962, and Alabama won that first contest 5-3. Since then the two teams have met 91 more times and the Crimson Tide hold a 67-25 advantage in the overall season. Alabama has also won six of the last 10 contests, but the Golden Eagles have a three-game winning streak against the Crimson Tide, thanks to a 10-6 win over the Tide in Tuscaloosa on March 2. USM posted a 5-0 win in Hattiesburg in 2007 and a 6-3 victory in Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., in 2008. UA defeated No. 20 USM 13-3 during the 2006 season for the Tide's most recent victory in the series.

The Last Outing

In its most recent outing, Alabama dropped the final game of a three-game series to No. 5 ranked Florida, 2-1, from McKethan Stadium on Sunday. Florida opened a 2-0 lead, scoring single runs in both the third and fifth innings. Alabama got its first hit of the game in the fifth inning on the 10th double of the season by David Kindred. The Tide's only run of the game came on a two-out single by Brett Booth in the seventh, scoring Jared Reaves from third. In his second start of the season, Jonathan Smart took the loss after pitching into the eighth inning. Smart allowed two runs on 10 hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Austen Smith paced the Tide with two hits, as UA finished the day with six base hits.

Team Notes from Last Week

Alabama posted a 1-3 record for the week, winning its midweek game at Samford and losing three games at No. 5 Florida on the weekend  … UA began a season-long eight-game road swing with a 7-5 come-from-behind win at Samford on Tuesday … trailing 5-2, the Tide scored five runs in their final three at-bats, include two in the top of the ninth to defeat Samford … it was the Tide's third come-from-behind win this season, and sixth time this season Alabama scored the game-winning run in its last at-bat … UA was held to a .235 average for the week, while its opponents posted a .319 average … the Tide was outscored 23-10 for in the four games, with Alabama scoring seven times against Samford and just three times in three games against Florida … Alabama was shutout for the fourth time this season, and third time in SEC play, following a 7-0 loss in the series opener against No. 5 Florida on Friday.

Player Notes from Last Week

Hitting Notes

Jared Reaves led the Tide for the week with a .500 (6-for-12) batting average … following a pair of doubles during the week, Reaves leads the team with 15 for the year … Reaves also leads the team with a .348 batting average, is tied for the team lead with 30 RBI and is second on the squad with 33 runs scored … Josh Sanders made his first SEC start on Friday, and started all three games against Florida at second base … he finished the series against the Gators with four hits in nine at-bats to post a .444 average … when Sanders was in the starting line-up for Tuesday's game against Samford, it was his first start in eight games, and second since March 4, against Northwestern State … Austen Smith posted a .384 (4-for-11) average against the Gators with his only RBI of the series coming in the first inning of game two … Smith is tied with Reaves for the team-lead in RBI with 30 … Smith hit his third triple of the season to lead off the ninth inning at Samford, then scored the game-winning run … Brandt Hendricks homered in the second inning of game two of the series versus Florida, it was the first home run of the career for the sophomore outfielder … David Kindred doubled for the 10th time this season when he had the first hit of the game for UA in the fifth inning on Sunday … Taylor Dugas' only two hits of the week came against Samford, where he also had two RBI … Dugas was 0-for-13 in the series against Florida, marking the first time he went hitless in an SEC series in his career.

Pitching Notes

Jonathan Smart threw 9.0 innings for the week, posting a 1-1 record, allowing two runs (both earned) on 11 hits with five strikeouts … Smart got the win against Samford after throwing 2.0 scoreless innings to close out the game … Smart took a tough 2-1 loss to Florida on Sunday after pitching into the eighth inning … in his second start of the season, Smart went  7.0 innings, allowing two earned runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts against the Gators … Josh Rosecrans made two appearances out of the bullpen, posting a 0.00 ERA and allowing one hit in 2.2 innings … Rosecrans entered the game against Florida in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and no outs, he got a 4-2-3 double play and a ground out to end the inning without allowing a run … Rosecrans pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief in Tuesday's win over Samford, and gave up his only hit of the week in that game …  Nathan Kilcrease pitched 6.0 innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits in the Friday game against Florida … Kilcrease had a season-low one strikeout in a losing effort, dropping to 5-3 on the year … Adam Morgan threw 6.1 innings on Saturday, allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits with five strikeouts … Morgan retired 11 straight batters at one point of the game, marking the third time this season (Alcorn State and Eastern Illinois) he retired at least 10 straight hitters in a game … Adam Windsor made his second start of the season on Tuesday against Samford, and threw 4.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits with a career-high three strikeouts.

Reaves Over .400 in Last 10 Games

Over the last 10 games junior shortstop Jared Reaves leads the team with a .412 average, with team-highs in doubles (6), RBI (6) and runs scored (7). He now has 15 doubles for the season to lead the Tide and rank second in the SEC. Additionally, he has a .588 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage over the last 10 games. Reaves has also been stellar on the defensive side of the ball, converting 44 of his 45 chances in the field. For the season, Reaves has committed six errors in 187 chances for a .969 fielding percentage while starting every game for the Tide.

Sanders Emerging Late In the Season

Senior second baseman Josh Sanders had his best week as a member of the Crimson Tide when he posted a .333 average (4-for-12) in four starts. All four hits came in the series against Florida, where he hit .444 (4-for-9). For the season, Sanders has seven hits in 31 at-bats, with five hits coming in Alabama's last 10 games.

Austen Smith Hitting His Stride

In the last 10 games, freshman first baseman Austen Smith is hitting .371 (13-for-35) with a double, a triple, and a home run. Additionally, he has five RBI and led the team with seven runs scored. Since taking over as the everyday first baseman on March 18, against Mississippi, Smith has seen his average climb from .235 to .281 following the SEC series against Florida. Over the last 26 games, all as the starting first baseman, Smith is hitting .305 (29-for-95) with a team-high 18 RBI over that time.

Dugas Joins 200-Hit Club

When Taylor Dugas recorded his second hit against Eastern Illinois on March 13, he notched his 200th hit at Alabama, becoming the 19th player in school history to reach the 200-hit mark. With two hits on Tuesday against Samford, he now has 230 career hits to rank 12th all-time in at the Capstone. He needs four (4) hits to pass Dustan Mohr (1995-97) for 11th all-time at Alabama.

On Deck for the Tide

The Tide wraps up the week with three games at Mississippi State, beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 30, at 2 p.m. CT. The first game of the doubleheader will be televised on SportSouth. The series wraps up with a single game on Sunday, May 1, beginning at 1:30 p.m. CT. Next week, Alabama will only play three Southeastern Conference games when its hosts LSU in a three-game set. The series begins on Friday, May 6, with first pitch slated for 6:35 p.m. from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Game two also begins at 6:35 p.m. CT and will be televised on CSS and game three starts at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.  

INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics

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