#23 Alabama Takes On #11 Oregon In Midweek Matchup
Midweek games (especially early in the season) are typically against weaker opponents. Alabama (10-2) is straying away from that trend this week when it takes on #11 Oregon (8-2).
The two teams may be separated by 12 spots in the top 25, but they could not be more similar from a statistical standpoint.
Early success for both teams can be attributed to solid performances on the mound. Alabama leads the SEC in team ERA (1.33) while Oregon leads the PAC-12 in team ERA (1.61). However, hitting has been an issue on each side as each team ranks last in team batting average for their respective conferences.
No Oregon player who has started in all 10 of their games is currently batting over .300. Only one Tide player that has started in all 12 of their games is batting over .300 (Chance Vincent, .333).
The struggles at the plate can be attributed to the tough early season schedule that the Ducks and the Tide have had to deal with. Still, both teams have proven that they are capable of scoring runs in a hurry.
Pitching clearly plays a large factor in any game, but the pitcher that gives up the fewest multi-hit innings will likely lead his team to victory.
For Alabama, LHP Jon Keller is expected to get his second start of the season. He pitched last week against Troy and one earned run across 6.2 innings pitched. Oregon is expected to start a LHP of their own in freshman Kyle Robeniol, who has posted a 3.12 ERA and a 1-1 record in three appearances. This will be his first start of the season.
Despite the Ducks inconsistencies at the plate, they still have a handful of dangerous hitters. Two players to keep an eye on are center fielder Austin Greberk and catcher Tim Susnara. Greberk's ability to leg out extra bases is evident by the fact that he has two triples on the year but no doubles. Susnara leads the team in batting average (.333) and hits (10) despite only having eight starts.
Alabama has had a significant contribution of their own from a player that has not started every game. Keith Holcombe, who is also serves as one of Nick Saban's most valuable special teams players, is currently batting .400. Holcombe's recent surge could be enough to propel him into the starting role in left field. Another player that is starting to gain traction is Connor Short, who has a .333 batting average and a team leading .519 slugging percentage.
This will be the first ever meeting between Alabama and Oregon. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT. You can watch the game on the SEC Network+ or listen right here on Tide 99.1.