Baseball hopes to continue hot start in second slate of midweek matchups


CW / Hannah Saad

Carey Reeder | @realCareyReeder, Staff Reporter

Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon is in the midst of his third season as manager of the Crimson Tide club. In his two and a half years on campus, Bohannon has constructed a team that is trying to rewrite the history of Alabama baseball and is off to a good start this season.

Alabama is unbeaten in its first seven games and has put together many balanced performances, between showing its power at the plate and the depth of its pitching staff this season.

“Our team is a melting pot,” Bohannon said prior to the season. “We have some kids who don’t know about the past few years of Alabama baseball, nor do they know about the five times going to the College World Series in 40 years. They just go out and play.”

Alabama’s power at the plate has the Crimson Tide ranked No. 6 in the country in slugging percentage (.541) and No. 26 in batting average (.300). Junior Tyler Gentry is pacing the lineup with 11 hits, a .407 batting average and 10 RBIs, which ties for the team lead.

Five other Crimson Tide players are batting above .300 on the season: redshirt sophomore Sam Praytor (.391), freshman Owen Diodati (.381), senior Kolby Robinson (.364), senior Brett Auerbach (.348) and sophomore Drew Williamson (.318).

On the bump, Alabama places high nationally in certain categories as well. The pitching staff for the Crimson Tide boasts a 1.29 combined ERA that ranks tied for No. 6 in the nation. Throughout the series sweep of UNLV this past weekend, the bullpen combined for 13.0 scoreless innings to help that number. The staff ranks tied for No. 14 in the country with 0.97 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched).

In its two midweek matchups this week, which kick off 10 straight home games, the Crimson Tide will send sophomore Dylan Smith out to start Tuesday against UT-Martin (4-3). Smith picked up his first win of the season last week in Alabama’s 10-3 win over Alabama State with 2.0 scoreless innings with one hit and two strikeouts.

On Wednesday, senior William Freeman will throw his second start of the season against Middle Tennessee State (3-4). Freeman started against Alabama State for 3.0 innings, surrendering three hits and one run while striking out five batters.

While the competition sample size has been small throughout the first seven games of the season, Alabama’s 99.2% fielding percentage ranks No. 4 in the nation, with only two errors. Regardless of the competition, defense and pitching like that will keep a team in any ballgame.

“[Our players] are 10 feet tall and bulletproof right now, and they don’t know what they don’t know,” Bohannon said. “I’m sure the game of baseball, especially in the SEC, will humble them, but I’m not telling them any differently right now.”