After posting their fourth come-from-behind victory of the season against Samford Tuesday, the Alabama baseball team will complete their four-game home stand with a three-game series against the Tulane Green Wave this weekend.
It’s been a year since the one-year anniversary for when the two teams last squared off on the diamond. Last year, the Green Wave took two out of three from the Crimson Tide in that series at Turchin Stadium in New Orleans, La., to improve to 10-2 on the year en route to a 38-20 season. The Tide fell to 5-6 that ultimately led to a dismal 21-34 record.
That was last year though, when both teams stood in completely different positions from where they do now. It’s the Tide who now come in as the favorites with a 7-1 record and the Green Wave struggling to get things going at 3-5.
If the Tide is to continue their hot season start against Tulane, they must find an identity in their playing style. After failing to record an extra-base hit in their 5-4 win over Samford Tuesday, and only hitting 12 total so far on the season, it appears the Tide are beginning to bring a small-ball approach into each game.
“We just grind out at bats, get those quality at bats [and] put them together,” freshman shortstop Mikey White said. “I mean you don’t really need to drop a ball in the gap if you’re just moving runners from base to base. You can put up four runs [like we did in the fifth inning] and come back and win the game.”
A lot of may be due in part to Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard’s new lineup that went into effect for the Samford game following the Tide’s first loss of the season against Florida Atlantic on Sunday.
The shakeup moves freshman second baseman Kyle Overstreet from third to sixth, sophomore right fielder Ben Moore from fourth to third and senior catcher Brett Booth from sixth to fourth.
“We just didn’t want to do anything prior to losing a ball game, but we had [it] in our minds a little bit,” Gaspard said. “I think it’s a better flow right now through the lineup, and I think that’s best for the team right now to stay with that lineup.”
Despite carrying one of the worst team batting averages in the SEC at .262, the Tide has come up with timely hits when needed, which has played a major role in winning seven out of the first eight games.
However, it is what the team does on the other side of the inning that has been the biggest contributor to the strong start, Gaspard said.
“I think a lot of our success right now is obviously pitching and the way we’re defending,” he said. “I think we’ve had four of five of the last games where we haven’t had any errors.”
Sophomore left-hander Jon Keller (2-0), sophomore right-hander Spencer Turnbull (0-1) and senior right-hander Charley Sullivan (0-0) will all likely be named starters for the series.
First pitches are scheduled for Friday at 6:05 p.m., Saturday at 2:05 p.m. and Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
Leading in today’s Crimson White: