Alabama Baseball Looks To Start 2018 Season With A Bang
It’s mid-February and finally starting to warm up, which means Alabama baseball is back for another season.
Under the leadership of new head coach Brad Bohannon, the Crimson Tide will hope to bounce back from a 2017 season that saw them finish dead last in the SEC with a 5-24-1 conference record.
Bohannon was named the nation's top assistant coach in 2015 by the American Baseball Coaches Association and brings 14 seasons of SEC coaching experience with him, having previously served as an assistant coach at Kentucky and Auburn.
Alabama will fight to compete in a crowded SEC that starts the season off with eight teams ranked in the Top 25, including the defending champion Florida Gators at No. 1.
The Crimson Tide start the 2018 campaign with a home series against Valparaiso, which will be beginning its first season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. The Crusaders finished last season with an overall record of 24-29 as a member of the Horizon League.
They return talent both at the plate and on the mound in the form of third baseman Sam Shaiken, who led the team with a .317 batting average in 2017, and starting pitcher Jon Tieman, who was named a Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Freshman All-American last season.
The Crimson Tide have already announced the starting pitchers for Friday and Saturday’s games as Sam Finnerty and Jake Walters, respectively, but Sunday’s starter has been left unannounced.
A lot of eyes are sure to also be on second baseman Cobie Vance, as he was recently voted preseason first team All-SEC. Last season, Vance was one of two Crimson Tide players to start all 54 games, and he posted a .293 batting average while only committing five errors in the field.
Also, they will start the season somewhat shorthanded as outfielder Chandler Taylor and pitcher Deacon Medders have both been ruled out for the Valparaiso series for violating team rules. The loss of Taylor in particular is significant as he was voted second-team All-SEC in 2017 after leading the Crimson Tide in a plethora of offensive categories including home runs, RBIs, and runs scored.
The Crimson Tide will look to start off the Brad Bohannon era strong with a series win as they welcome the Valparaiso Crusaders to Sewell-Thomas Stadium this coming weekend. The schedule for the Valparaiso series is as follows:
You can watch Alabama's season opener on SEC Network+ or stream the Crimson Tide Sports Network broadcast on Tide 102.9/100.9 or the all new Tide 102.9 app.