After dropping seven of its last nine games, including its last four, the Alabama baseball team will look to reverse its losing skid this week against the Memphis Tigers. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The Crimson Tide (8-7) was swept this past weekend at No. 5 Louisville, but it didn’t come easy for the Cardinals, who had to outlast the Tide in extra innings in two of three games.
“With the exception of one inning through the weekend, we pitched extremely well; we defended the field real well,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “I think it was a great gauge for our young team to see just where it is you have to get to. We went toe-to-toe with them and certainly gave ourselves a chance to win two of the ballgames, but at the same time we got better.”
Despite coming up short in all three games, Gaspard said he still has a lot of faith in his team going forward.
“What our team is today is not what we’re going to be in a month,” he said. “We feel like this group is going to continue to get better. Our young guys have shown a lot of improvement. They’ve shown they got some real courage, and they’re going to keep fighting. This is going to be a team that is exciting as we move down the road.”
The Tide’s first chance to prove their coach’s word comes this week when it plays host to a tough Memphis Tigers team.
The Tigers (9-5) currently have four players in its lineup batting over .300, including one over .400. No player in the Tide’s starting lineup is currently hitting better than .298.
Although they have a strong middle of the order, the Tigers have seen their fair share of highs and lows this season much like the Tide. The Tigers gave No. 7 Ole Miss its lone loss of the season back on Feb. 26 in a midweek game in Oxford, Miss., but also lost its first two games of the season at home against lowly Illinois State.
Despite the ups and downs from the Tigers, this series is just another stepping stone to prepare Alabama for the long haul ahead, Gaspard said.
“Our schedule plays out that way. There’s no gimmes on there. You’ve got to show up every night,” he said. “You’ve got to play at a high level to be successful, and if you want to be good in the end you got to understand that concept that ‘I’ve got to show up every night and play a hard nine innings.’”
Sophomore left-hander Taylor Guilbeau (1-0, 2.30 ERA) will make the start Tuesday for the Tide against junior left-handed pitcher Alex Gunn (0-1, 0.69 ERA). Tigers senior lefty Michael Wills (0-0, 2.89 ERA) will get the nod Wednesday against a Tide pitcher that is yet to be announced.