PREVIEW: Alabama Baseball Heads to Ole Miss
Alabama and Ole Miss will face each other for the 355th time in series history when the Crimson Tide (13-16) travels to Oxford, Mississippi, for the weekend series against the Rebels (17-2). The series against the Rebels is the second-oldest series against an SEC opponent, only the series against Vanderbilt dates back further.
The Crimson Tide has an 208-144-2 advantage over Ole Miss, which includes a 74-65-1 record in games played in Oxford. Alabama has won seven of the past 10 games in the series and will look to build on that recent success.
Last time out for the Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide went 1-3 across its last four games. In Last weekend's SEC match up, the Crimson Tide lost two games against No. 21 Arkansas (24-6), salvaging a win Saturday to avoid being swept by the Razorbacks. Most recently, Alabama traveled to Troy (15-12) on Tuesday, losing to the Trojans in a back-and-forth contest at Riddle-Pace Field.
The Crimson Tide exchanged the lead eight times and was tied up twice with Troy, before ultimately falling to the Trojans, 12-11. The two teams combined for 23 runs and 25 hits, but Troy's ninth-inning rally proved to be the difference.
The Crimson Tide’s bats were lead by Hunter Alexander, who finished 3-for-4 with two home runs, three RBI, two runs scored and a walk. Chandler Avant, who also contributed three RBI, finished 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Cobie Vance collected a pair of hits in his 2-for-5 day, adding an RBI and a run scored, while Tanner DeVinny notched his fourth home run of the season.
Last time out for Ole Miss
Last weekend in a rivalry series, Ole Miss was swept at home by Mississippi State, losing three games by a combined five runs. On Tuesday, Ole Miss needed 12 innings to knock off Southern Miss, 6-5. The Rebels are 1-2 in SEC series this season, taking two-of-three from Vanderbilt to start conference play before losing two at No. 19 Kentucky.
Friday: The sophomore left-hander Dylan Duarte (2-1) has an earned run average of 2.48. Pitching 36.1 innings, Duarte has struck out 32 batters, including a season-high of eight batters against Louisiana Monroe and tied that number against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Saturday: Senior right-hander Nick Eicholtz (1-0) has one of the highest earned run averages for the Tide with 5.96. In six appearances on the mound, Eicholtz has pitched 25.2 innings while striking out 14 and walking 14.
Sunday: The freshman left-hander Garret Rukes (2-1) has the second-lowest era of the team at 1.65. In 27.1 innings of work, Rukes has struck out 21 batters and only walked six. He's also only allowed 18 hits in 98 at-bats.
Key players to watch
Hunter Alexander: the junior third baseman has the fourth-best batting average on the team (.299) with 22 RBI. With a slugging percentage of .486, Alexander has hit six doubles, a triple and four home runs so far this season. Alexander leads the team in RBI, is tied second on the team in doubles, and is ninth in the SEC with four sacrifice bunt.
Cobie Vance: The sophomore second baseman has the second-best team batting average (.330) with 20 RBI. With a slugging percentage of .391, Vance has hit 6 doubles and a triple as well. Vance is third in the SEC with three sacrifice flies and tied first in the SEC for fielding double plays.
Colby Bortles: The senior third baseman has the second-highest batting average on the squad at .280. With 19 runs batted in on 26 hits, Bortles also leads the team with four home runs and is tied second on the team with four doubles.
Ryan Olenek: The sophomore utility player has played in both left field and at third base, also contributing as a DH. With the team’s highest batting average at .282, Olenek has 11 RBI and leads the team with eight doubles.
Game Times and Broadcast Info
Games are currently scheduled for a first pitch Friday night at 6:30 p.m, Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., and a Sunday finale at 3:00 p.m.
All three games can be heard on Tide 102.9 and 100.9 FM.
Fans can watch Friday and Saturday's game on Watch ESPN, but game three can be seen on the SEC Network.