Alabama (11-7) got off to a hot start in conference play with a series win against #13 Mississippi State over the weekend. An 8th inning rally on Saturday helped them cruise to a 10-5 win, but the Bulldogs would take the next game 4-1. A 8-4 win on Sunday helped the Crimson Tide clinch the series.

Alabama returns home from Starkville looking to take down the Bulldogs again, only this time it will be the Samford Bulldogs. Samford (6-10) is desperately searching for a big win after an embarrassing 18-5 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday. Their early season struggles are evident by their overall record, but the Bulldogs did manage to shut out Auburn 7-0 last Tuesday.

If they plan to beat another SEC opponent, they must find an answer at the plate. Samford ranks near the bottom of the Southern Conference in every offensive category. Second baseman Hunter Swilling has been the most consistent hitter with 22 hits and a .344 batting average. Outfielder Heath Quinn and catcher Richard Greene have added more power to the lineup as of late with four home runs apiece.

Problems at the plate are just the beginning for Samford. The pitching rotation has struggled all season as they currently have the second worst team ERA in their conference (5.66). Those numbers are not favorable for Tuesday. Alabama is the only team in the SEC that has two starters - Casey Hughston and Mikey White - batting over .400. The team has also seen an increase in production from players like Chance Vincent and Chandler Avant.

The major focus for the Crimson Tide will be improving its very own pitching issues. The team ERA has improved to 3.79, which has moved them up to 12th in the SEC. Alabama pitchers have combined for 140 strikeouts on the year, which is the second worst in the conference. To put it into perspective, Vanderbilt has 209 strikeouts on the year. The numbers are not favorable, but Coach Mitch Gaspard is hopeful for consistent improvement.

Alabama leads the all-time series 93-15 over Samford with the Bulldogs' last victory coming in 2011. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 pm at the Hoover Met.

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