Crimson Tide baseball team to host LSU Tigers for 3-game weekend series

Kevin Connell

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The Alabama baseball team will host the No. 3 LSU Tigers beginning this Friday in its third-straight weekend series against a ranked Southeastern Conference opponent. First pitches are set for Friday at 6:35 p.m., Saturday at 7:05 p.m. and Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

The Crimson Tide (23-16, 8-7 SEC) enters the series having lost five of its last six SEC games, including a three-game sweep by No. 18 Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., last weekend. In both of those three-game series, the Tide struggled to string productive at bats together with just a combined 20 and 17 hits, respectively, against then No. 9 Arkansas followed by the Rebels.

But that changed after Alabama’s 11-hit performance in Tuesday’s 7-4 win over UAB.

Led by sophomore Ben Moore’s three-RBI night, Alabama scored two runs in the first inning to give the Tide the early lead that it has missed in its recent outings.

“The theme was we had to get started earlier,” senior Brett Booth said. “The past few weeks we had gotten started pretty slow, and we couldn’t get any momentum going. It really lets everybody kind of sit back and kind of relax and start swinging the bats a little better.”

Alabama will need to see similar production from a number of players in the lineup to compete with LSU this weekend, Gaspard said.

“This weekend it’s going to take multiple guys being good and delivering those big hits,” he said. “I think we’ll have opportunities again, and this is a weekend when you’re playing a good team like LSU where you have to deliver when you get in those spots.”

The Tigers (34-3, 13-2 SEC), who currently sit in first place in the SEC West, have five everyday starters in their lineup hitting better than .300, including two players hitting over .420. On the mound, LSU will likely start three pitchers, who, in their 27 combined starts this season, have allowed just 52 hits.

To counter both the Tigers’ impressive hitting and strong pitching staff, Alabama may look to keep its shuffled lineup intact from Tuesday’s game against UAB. In that game, five regular Tide starters moved to a new position in the field, and senior Kenny Roberts and freshman Georgie Salem swapped the first two spots in the lineup.

Gaspard said he’ll wait and see until the time comes about what lineup he decides to use in the three-game series against LSU.

“I think we’ll go with the lineup we feel best suits who we’re facing,” he said. “I think we have the right guys out there. It just comes down to having productive at bats and obviously [being] able to defend the field.”

Senior right-hander Charley Sullivan (3-3, 3.06 ERA), sophomore lefty Jon Keller (3-5, 3.55 ERA) and sophomore right-hander Spencer Turnbull (4-1, 2.30 ERA) will all likely start on the mound in that order for Alabama.