Tides looks to win in 4-game series after 1st season loss

Kevin Connell

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The Alabama baseball team returns home to Sewell-Thomas Stadium Tuesday to play the first matchup of a four-game series against the Samford Bulldogs.

The Crimson Tide (6-1) continued to make waves this past weekend in Boca Raton, Fla., where it took the first two games of the series against the Florida Atlantic Owls before dropping its first game of the season in the series finale on Sunday.

“I thought our team overall was really prepared and played extremely well, particularly Friday night. We played a really good left-handed pitcher that was Pitcher of the Year last year in their conference,” head coach Mitch Gaspard said.

Through seven games of the season, Gaspard said he now has an idea of what kind of a team he is working with this season.

“They’re very competitive. They play with really good energy, good focus each day, and that’s a good sign as we move forward into the season,” he said. “Just the team overall, I like where they’re at. I like their focus; I like the way they play the game. And if they continue to do that, it’s going to be a team that’s just going to continue to get better as we move through the season.”

The team will try to rebound from the loss to Florida Atlantic when it takes on a Samford team that the Tide swept two games to none in the season series last year.

Gaspard said the Tide knows Bulldogs (5-4) can be a tough team to beat and they aren’t about to overlook them.

“They have a tremendous outfielder and pitcher for them that really has been the catalyst for their team the last couple years,” he said. “[Samford head coach] Casey Dunn’s done a really nice job with their program. We know it’s going to be a real competitive game, and we’re looking forward to getting back on the field again tomorrow night.”

Gaspard said pitching has been the key to the team’s success so far this season after the Tide posted three quality starts against Florida Atlantic over the weekend.

Sophomore left-hander Taylor Guilbeau (1-0) will look to continue the solid pitching for Alabama as he makes his second start of the season Tuesday. Guilbeau allowed just one run on three hits and two walks in five innings of work in a 10-8 victory over then-No. 21 Southern Miss last week.

The Tide will also look for freshman center fielder Georgie Salem to maintain his current form at the plate after leading the team with a .538 batting average in the Florida Atlantic series.

“[He had] a lot of quality at bats from Tuesday through Sunday,” Gaspard said. “He’s that guy up top, where we’re expecting him to give those tough at bats for us to get us going and let those other guys see pitches throughout the game.”

First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Tuesday. The two teams will meet again later this season on March 19 at Samford.

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