PREVIEW: Alabama Baseball Hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff for a Four Game Series
The Crimson Tide (6-5) is set to host a series against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-8) with a potential doubleheader Friday due to weather over the weekend.
Last time out:
Alabama went 3-1 across the weekend against ULM and last Tuesday against Jacksonville State. The Tide fell, 2-1, in extra-innings to the Gamecocks in the midweek game before sweeping the Warhawks last weekend.
Sophomore Brock Love earned his first career win last Friday, retiring 13 batters in a row with a career-high 10 strikeouts. Alabama clinched the series against the Warhawks thanks to a 6-2 victory in game two of the weekend. Once again, Chandler Avant led Tide offense, finishing 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Sam Finnerty led the Crimson Tide with a pair of RBI, both of which came from a two-run double as a pinch-hitter.
Alabama completed the sweep of ULM with a 10-3 win Sunday afternoon. The Crimson Tide's multi-hit efforts from Chandler Taylor, Tanner DeVinny and Avant sparked life at Sewell-Thomas. Taylor led the team with three hits and runs scored, including his fifth home run of the season.. DeVinny picked up his first career home run for the Tide, contributing with a 2-for-3 afternoon while leading the team with four RBIs. Avant tallied his sixth multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-5 and adding a stolen base.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff broke out of an 8-game losing streak, earning its first two wins of the season against Grambling State. An offensive explosion in the first and second inning led Arkansas-Pine Bluff to a 15-1 win on Saturday. The team followed that up with 5 hits in an 8-2 win to clinch the series.
Goff currently has one pitcher listed for the weekend and will determe the rest of them after the opening game.
Friday: Freshman lefty Garret Rukes is set to open the series Thursday night. He made his debut for the Crimson Tide with an inning appearance against Oral Roberts, allowing one hit while striking out one. Rukes was rated as a top-500 player nationally in high school according to Perfect Game USA following his senior season at Pine Crest High School in Coconut Creek, Florida. In three of his four years at Pine Crest, Rukes helped lead the varsity squad to the district semifinals three out of his four years.
Key players to watch:
Cobie Vance: The sophomore second baseman is batting .432 with 19 hits on 44 at bats and has nine runs batted in. Vance has earned his way on base every game but one, seeking to build on his team-leading batting average. Vance's batting average is seventh-best in the SEC
Chandler Avant: The junior short stop is batting .400 with 18 hits on 45 at bats and has six runs batted in. Avant, who earned his way on base in eight straight games, looks to overtake Vance's team-leading batting average and lead the team in hits. Vance's batting average is 10th-best in the SEC
Sergio Esparza: Sophomore infielder and right-handed pitcher who leads Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 12 hits on 36 at bats, batting .333. Esparza has six runs scored, the team's second highest.
Juan Pablo Soriano: Junior infielder who has the second most hits for Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 11 hits on 38 at bats, batting .289. Esparza has one RBI, which came from a solo home run; Soriano leads the team with 3 doubles.
As a Reminder:
Game times are currently scheduled with the first pitch Thursday at 6 p.m. and a potential doubleheader Friday due to weather over the weekend; the first game starting at 2 p.m. If the doubleheader occurs. The second game as scheduled with a 6 p.m. start. The two teams would then meet on Saturday at the regularly scheduled time of 2 p.m. for the series finale.
If the doubleheader does not occur, the series finale will start on Sunday at 1 p.m. All games will air live on Tide 102.9 and 100.9 FM.