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Baseball heads to No. 5 LSU this weekend

  • Chris Walsh

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Crimson Tide (13-20, 4-8 SEC) wraps up the week with three Southeastern Conference games at No. 5 LSU (27-7, 8-4 SEC) this weekend. Game one of the series on Friday night will begin at 7:00 p.m. CT, from Alex Box Stadium. Saturday’s game will be televised on Cox Sports Television and begins at 6:30 p.m. CT, and the series finale will begin at noon CT, on Sunday, and will be televised on ESPN2.

    All games for the 2012 season will be broadcast on the Crimson Tide Sports Network. All three games of the series against LSU can be heard on WFFN-FM 95.3, with Lee Tracey providing the radio commentary. Audio and live stats will be available at RollTide.com. Two of the three games at LSU will be televised. Game two of the series will be on Cox Sports Television in the Baton Rouge area, and the final game of the series will be televised nationally on ESPN2, with Clay Matvick and Kyle Peterson calling the action.

    Probable Pitching Matchups

    Friday W-L ERA G/GS IP H R ER BB SO

    UA-Trey Pilkington (Jr., RHP) 1-2 3.51 11/3 25.2 30 15 10 4 20

    LSU-Kevin Gausman (Jr., RHP) 5-1 2.83 8/8 54.0 44 19 17 17 70

    Saturday W-L ERA G/GS IP H R ER BB SO

    UA-Justin Kamplain (Fr., LHP) 1-2 3.23 9/7 39.0 31 21 14 23 32

    LSU-Ryan Eades (Soph., RHP) 4-1 2.70 8/8 50.0 47 17 15 9 40

    Sunday W-L ERA G/GS IP H R ER BB SO

    UA-Jon Keller (Fr., LHP) 1-1 3.74 13/4 33.2 35 14 14 10 20

    LSU-Aaron Nola (Fr., RHP) 4-1 3.32 10/7 40.2 32 17 15 4 41

    Alabama was scheduled to play five games this week, but after a 9-1 loss to UAB on Tuesday, Wednesday’s game against Southeastern Louisiana was rained out. Alabama posted its first SEC series win of the season with a sweep of No. 23 Auburn last week. UA won four straight games, matching its season-high for consecutive wins, prior to the UAB loss.

    Taylor Dugas was named the SEC Co-Player of the Week after hitting .529 (9-for-17) last week. Dugas is now hitting .347 for the season, after setting the school record with his 14th career triple last week, while tying Dave Magadan’s school record of 64 doubles. Dugas also had his first career walk-off hit when he homered to end game two of the Auburn series. Freshman Ben Moore continues to lead the team with a .361 average and is tied for second on the team with 18 RBI. Brett Booth homered in game three against Auburn and leads the team with three home runs and 23 RBI. Jake Hubbard leads the team with a 2.66 ERA and two saves. Hubbard allowed one hit with five strikeouts in three appearances last week. Taylor Guilbeau picked up his third win of the season on Saturday to lead the Tide with three victories.

    LSU enters the weekend series with a 27-7 overall record and lead the SEC Western Division with an 8-4 conference mark. The Tigers are 9-1 in their last 10 games and are coming off wins over Alcorn State (7-2) and Southern Mississippi (8-3) this week. LSU is ranked in the top-10 in all four college baseball polls. The Tigers are No. 3 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 5 by Baseball America, No. 7 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and No. 8 in the NCBWA poll. The Tigers have won 10 of their last 11 games, which include a sweep of Arkansas and two wins at Florida. As a team LSU is hitting .302, while averaging 6.9 runs and 10.4 hits per game. The Tigers’ pitching staff has been one of the best in the SEC this season, with a team ERA of 3.07 and an opponent batting average of .235. LSU allows 3.6 runs and 7.6 hits per outing. The LSU pitchers have combined for a SEC-leading 317 strikeouts to average 9.3 punch outs per game.

    Raph Rhymes enters the weekend as the SEC’s leading hitter with a .465 batting average. He leads the team with 34 RBI and has struck out just seven times in 114 at-bats. Matt Katz is second on the team with a .350 average and 28 RBI, and leads the club with 11 doubles and six home runs. Ty Ross is hitting .320 with 25 RBI and Austin Nola is hitting .303 with a team-leading 22 walks.

    Friday night starter Kevin Gausman is 5-1 with a 2.83 ERA. Gausman leads the SEC with 70 strikeouts, and has allowed 17 walks in 54.0 innings pitched. Gausman averages 8.7 strikeouts per game and 1.3 Ks per inning. Game two starter Ryan Eades has a 2.70 ERA with a 4-1 record during his sophomore campaign. Eades is second on the team with 50.0 innings pitched, while recording 40 strikeouts this season. Freshman Aaron Nola will start on Sunday and enters the weekend with a 4-1 record and a 3.32 ERA in 10 appearances. Nola has 41 strikeouts and just four walks in 40.2 innings in 2012.

    In a series that dates back to the 1906 season, the three-game series will mark games 351-353 between Alabama and LSU. Alabama holds a 194-153-3 advantage overall in the series, after the Crimson Tide took two of three games from the Tigers in Tuscaloosa last season. UA posted back-to-back shutouts of the Tigers to close the series. In the last series played in Baton Rouge, the No. 6 ranked Tigers swept the Tide during the 2010 season. Alabama is 2-3 in the last five games and 3-7 in the last 10 games against LSU.

    In its last game Alabama dropped a 9-1 decision to UAB on Tuesday night, falling to the Blazers for the second time this season. Alabama collected seven hits in the game, with three coming off the bat of shortstop Jared Reaves. UAB tallied 11 hits, scoring twice in the first, three times in the sixth and four times in the seventh. UA scored its only run in the first inning on a sac fly by Ben Moore, scoring Taylor Dugas who tripled to lead off the inning. After giving up two runs on three hits in the first, Spencer Turnbull did not allow another hit before leaving the game in the sixth. Turnbull finished with 5.0 innings pitched with two walked and four strikeouts and took the loss. Moore was 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. With his triple, Dugas has now reached base in all 33 games this season to extend his streak to 45 games.

    The Tide returns home to host Mississippi Valley State for two games on Tuesday and Wednesday. First pitch for both games at Sewell-Thomas Stadium are scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT. Alabama returns to SEC play on Friday with game one of a three-game series against Vanderbilt. Friday’s game against the Commodores begins at 6:35 p.m. CT, game two on Saturday begins at 2:05 p.m. CT, and Sunday’s series finale starts at 1:05 p.m. CT.

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    Christopher Walsh covers Alabama football for BamaOnline, 247Sports, and is the author of 18 books.

  • I'm tempted to downvote anyone who makes me think about baseball right now. Just kidding but not really. Being a baseball fan sucks at this time.

  • rolBAMAballs

  • Ulysses McGill

    I'm actually going to tomorrow night's game. It'll be the only one I make it to this year, so I hope they can put up a fight.

  • They could beat us 100-0 in baseball, and it wouldnt make a dent in the butt hurt they are forced to endure right now.