PREVIEW: Alabama Baseball Hosts No. 20 Arkansas
Back in Sewell-Thomas for the weekend series, the Crimson Tide (12-13) is set to host No. 20 Arkansas (20-5) for the 83rd time in program history.
Last time out for the Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide seeks to break its three game losing streak this weekend, going 1-3 over its last four games. Alabama started strong winning the series opener at No. 7 South Carolina (18-6) before losing the series in Columbia. In its most recent game on Tuesday, the Crimson Tide suffered a 4-3 loss to No. 18 Auburn (21-6) in the annual MAX Capital City Classic in Montgomery.
On Tuesday, the Tide fell to Auburn 4-3 in the non-conference match up at Riverwalk Stadium. Auburn took the lead early in the third, scoring three runs. Fighting back, the Crimson Tide scored in three consecutive frames - the third, fourth and fifth frames - to even the score 3-3. Auburn ultimately would win after scoring late in the sixth, while the Crimson Tide couldn't manage to find a way to answer back.
Last time out for Arkansas
The Hogs (20-5) hosted and clinched the series against Missouri (21-4).
The tough Razorback squad, with 20 wins through 25 games, have reached that 20-win mile mark faster than any Arkansas team in the last five seasons. Arkansas came out swinging Sunday, scoring nine runs on 12 hits with three home runs to defeat Missouri, 9-8, and win its second conference series in a row.
Friday: The junior right-hander Jake Walters (4-2) leads the Crimson Tide in wins and will get the ball first. Walters has the 12th lowest earned run average in the SEC at 2.08. Impressively, in 34.2 innings pitched, Walter has struck out 34 batters. He's is tied with Dylan Duarte with the most strikeouts in a single game for the Tide, mowing down eight Missouri batters last weekend.
Saturday: The sophomore left-hander Duarte (1-1) has an earned run average of 2.89. Pitching 28.0 innings, Duarte has struck out 28 batters. Duarte struck out a season-high of eight batters against Louisiana Monroe and tied that number against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Sunday: Senior right-hander Nick Eicholtz (1-0) has one of the highest earned run averages for the Tide with 5.64. In five appearances on the mound, Eicholtz has pitched 22.1 innings, striking out 13 batters. On average Eicholtz strikes out three batters per appearance.
Key players to watch
Chandler Taylor: The sophomore outfielder is batting .235 with 17 runs batted in on 20 hits. Taylor leads the team and is tied fifth in the SEC with seven home runs. Taylor also leads the team with 18 runs scored and a slugging percentage of .541.
Cobie Vance: The sophomore second baseman leads the Crimson Tide batting .330, while also leading with a team-high 18 runs batted in on 30 hits. With a slugging percentage of .474, Vance has hit 5 doubles, which is tied for third most on the squad with Hunter Alexander.
Grant Koch: The sophomore catcher for the Hogs is batting .316 with 30 hits. Koch leads Arkansas with nine doubles, eight home runs and a slugging percentage of .684. Arledge also leads his team with 27 runs batted in.
Trevor Stephan (4-1): The junior right-handed pitcher has the lowest earned run average of the Arkansas squad and the 11th lowest in the SEC at 2.02. In 35.2 innings pitched, Stephan has struck out a team-high 50 batters, which the third highest in the SEC.
Game Times and Broadcast Info
Games are currently scheduled for a first pitch Friday night at 6:00 p.m, Saturday night at 7:00 p.m., and a Sunday finale at 3:00 p.m.
The Friday and Sunday games can be heard on Tide 102.9 and 100.9FM while Saturday night's game can be found on 93.3 FM.
Fans can watch Friday's game on Watch ESPN, but games two and three can be seen on the SEC Network.