| BSB/SB Tide takes 1 of 3 in their first SEC road series against Ole Miss

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama baseball will take to the road this weekend to begin Southeastern Conference play in Oxford, Miss., against the eighth-ranked Ole Miss Rebels. The two teams are set for a 6:30 p.m. CT first pitch in Friday's opener at Oxford-University Stadium before a 1:30 p.m. start on both Saturday and Sunday. All three games will air live on SEC Network+.

FOLLOW THE TIDE
Fans can follow this weekend's game via the below outlets:
Watch: SEC Network+
Listen: 102.9 FM / CTSN / TuneIn App
Twitter: @AlabamaBSB
Live Stats: OleMissSports.com

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY: UASam Finnerty (Sr., RHP) vs. UM – Will Ethridge (Jr., RHP)
SATURDAY: UABrock Love (R-Jr., RHP) vs. UM – Zack Phillips (Jr., LHP)
SUNDAY: UAWil Freeman (Jr., RHP) vs. UM – Gunnar Hoglund (Fr., RHP)

LEADING OFF
• Alabama and Ole Miss will meet for the 362nd time in series history when the two teams square off for the series opener on Friday night at Oxford-University Stadium. The Crimson Tide holds the all-time series advantage, 129-77-1, as well as the series lead in Oxford, 75-68-1, in the Tide's second-longest running SEC series behind only Vanderbilt.
• The two conference foes last met for a series from May 17-19, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, with Ole Miss hanging on to a series win despite a game-two shutout by Jake Walters. The Crimson Tide came up short in the series opener against the fourth-ranked Rebels, 3-2. The two teams traded runs early, with the Rebels and Tide each scoring one run apiece in the second and fourth innings. The Rebels added a single tally in the sixth to move in front, 3-2, which would prove to be the difference in the contest. Game three featured another exchange of runs, but a three-run eighth secured a 10-8 win for Ole Miss.
• Alabama resumes its three-man rotation from a weekend ago, using three right-handers against the Rebels. On Friday, senior Sam Finnerty will toe the rubber before redshirt junior Brock Love takes the hill on Saturday. The series will wrap up with Wil Freeman, a junior, getting the call for UA on getaway day.
• Ole Miss will throw junior right-hander Will Ethridge to start the series on Friday before looking to fellow junior Zack Phillips, a lefty, on Saturday. The Rebels will close out the weekend with freshman righty Gunnar Hoglund in Sunday's matchup.

ABOUT ALABAMA
• Alabama travels to Oxford this weekend riding a 12-game winning streak which is tied for the eighth-longest streak in program history and is the longest such streak for the Tide since 1999. The Crimson Tide swept Northern Kentucky last weekend, outscoring the Norse by a 34-6 margin, before a 2-0 shutout of Middle Tennessee on Tuesday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
• Alabama recorded a season-high 18 hits on the way to a 15-1 victory over Northern Kentucky on Friday. The Crimson Tide totaled a season-high 18 hits on the way to a season-best 15 runs in the series opener with the Norse. Eleven different players recorded at least one hit with four posting multi-hit efforts.
• The offense was led by junior Brett Auerbach, who finished a perfect 5-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored and a team-high tying three RBI. The five-hit effort matched the Alabama program record for hits in a game and marked the 32nd five-hit game in Tide history.
• Not to be outdone were the Crimson Tide pitchers. Sam Finnerty was sharp once again, tossing 7.0 innings of one-run baseball. The senior gave up five hits while striking out six to match his career-high total for punchouts as a starter. Finnerty was followed by Dylan Smith and Dylan Oliver who both recorded 1.0 frame with one strikeout apiece while holding NKU hitless. The trio of arms did not issue a walk on the day, the first time Alabama has done so in a game this season.
• UA used a complete offensive effort 1-through-9 to down Northern Kentucky, 9-4, on Saturday. All nine Alabama hitters reached base safely on Saturday with seven of the nine recording at least one hit. The Tide also matched its season-high mark for walks with 10 and was hit by a season-leading four pitches. Eight of the nine starters also contributed at least one RBI while seven of the nine totaled at least one run scored. On the bases, the Tide was able to swipe three bases to match its season-high in that category, as well.
• Starter Brock Love picked up his second win in as many outings with 5.0 frames of one-run baseball. The redshirt junior allowed four hits and a walk while striking out six before handing it over to the bullpen.
• Alabama completed the series sweep of Northern Kentucky with a 10-1 win on Sunday afternoon. The Crimson Tide received a strong start from junior Wil Freeman. The right-hander allowed only one run on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts across a season-high 5.2 innings for the win.
• The Tide's offense recorded only six hits in the series finale but was able to draw a season-high 12 walks. Juniors Morgan McCullough and Johnny Hawk joined sophomore Tyler Gentry in drawing a team-high two walks apiece. Hawk and Gentry each added two runs scored while Gentry and McCullough contributed one RBI apiece. Freshman T.J. Reeves led Alabama in hits with a 2-for-3 showing that included one RBI and a run while senior Keith Holcombe paced the team in RBI thanks to his bases-clearing, three-RBI double.
• Alabama used five pitchers to combine for a 2-0 shutout of Middle Tennessee on Tuesday at The Joe. The Crimson Tide pitchers did not allow a walk or throw a wild pitch while the defense played an errorless game for a clean performance in the field. UA's arms combined for five strikeouts and threw 89 strikes across 121 total pitches in the shutout victory.
• Freshman Tyler Ras got the start and turned it over to Smith out of the pen. The duo tossed 5.0 frames before redshirt junior Davis Vainer took over. Vainer followed with 2.0 dominant innings that included three punchouts for the win. One inning later, graduate Jeremy Randolph entered for the ninth, striking out the final batter for his third save in as many chances.
• The Crimson Tide matched MTSU with six hits of its own, but Drew Williamson's two-out, two-RBI single in the sixth proved the difference in the game. Holcombe began the rally with a one-out single before junior John Trousdale put the pair in scoring position with a double to right. One out later, Williamson sent a single back up the middle on a 1-2 pitch to bring both runners in for the 2-0 advantage, the eventual final.

ABOUT OLE MISS
• Mike Bianco is in his 19th season with the Rebels in 2019 and entered the new campaign with a career record of 710-412-1 in Oxford and an 810-483-1 overall mark across his 20 years as a collegiate head coach. Bianco is joined by assistant coaches Carl Lafferty and Mike Clement along with volunteer assistant coach Marc MacMillan.
• Ole Miss returns 23 letterwinners, including seven positional starters and 11 pitchers, from the 2018 team that finished 48-17 overall and 18-12 in SEC action to finish tied for first in the West on the way to hosting an NCAA Regional in Oxford. The 2019 roster is without eight lettermen from a season ago, a number that includes two positional starters and five pitchers. The 2019 Rebel roster features 14 newcomers.
• The Rebels were selected to finish second in the West and fifth overall in the SEC in the league's preseason poll, as voted on by the conference's head coaches.

ON DECK
Alabama returns home to Sewell-Thomas Stadium to begin a four-game homestand, first on Tuesday, March 19 against Maine. The Crimson Tide and Black Bears are scheduled for a 6 p.m. CT first pitch at The Joe with the game airing live on SEC Network+.
 

TerryP

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Should be some good baseball games this weekend around the conference. MSU vs UF gives us one top ten matchup and every other series features a ranked team. UT vs AU, UGA vs UofSC, and Vandy vs A&M are all ranked in the top 25 and facing each other.
 

UAgrad93

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Sounds like A LOT of good baseball on tap! Likely will be the case every weekend.
 

UA Press Release

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OXFORD, Miss. – Alabama baseball fell, 1-0, to eighth-ranked Ole Miss in a game dominated by pitching on Friday evening at Oxford-University Stadium. The Crimson Tide loss ended a 12-game winning streak and puts UA's record at 16-3 overall, 0-1 in Southeastern Conference play.

"Tonight was a great college baseball game, and unfortunately we came out on the short end," said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. "All three guys who pitched for both teams were outstanding, and we just couldn't get the bats going. Six of the nine batters in our lineup played in their first SEC game and it showed. I'm hopeful we will be looser and more aggressive at the plate tomorrow."

The two teams combined for only 10 hits while striking out a total of 19 times in a game that favored pitching. A solo home run in the bottom of the second by Cole Zabowski provided Ole Miss with the game's only scoring play for the 1-0 win. Rebel starter Will Ethridge (4-0) earned the win with 6.0 scoreless frames while closer Parker Caracci collected the save, working the final 1.2 to close things out.

Alabama starter Sam Finnerty (4-1) suffered the hard-luck loss despite another quality start, his fourth in five outings during his senior campaign. Finnerty tossed 6.0 innings, allowing only one run on the solo homer in the second. He gave up just four hits and issued one walk while striking out four across his season-high 92 pitches. Redshirt sophomore Garret Rukes followed with 1.2 scoreless frames and a strikeout with Kyle Cameron, a redshirt senior, getting one out in as many batters to help keep the Rebels from adding to their lead.

The homer by Zabowski led off the second inning, with the Rebel first baseman taking a 1-0 pitch to right for the solo shot. The Rebels did not record another extra-base hit the rest of the night and only tallied three more hits from the third inning on. Alabama was able to reach a runner in the fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth innings. The Tide had a runner in scoring position with two down in the seventh and received a two-out double from junior Morgan McCulloughin the eighth, but was unable to capitalize on the opportunities to even things up.

Alabama and Ole Miss return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for a 1:30 p.m. CT first pitch at Swayze Field. The Crimson Tide will look to redshirt junior Brock Love, a right-hander, in the start while the Rebels counter with junior southpaw Zack Phillips. Fans can catch game two of the series on SEC Network+.
 

UA Press Release

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OXFORD, Miss. – Alabama baseball earned its first SEC win of the season, taking down eighth-ranked Ole Miss, 8-6, thanks to an impressive performance from the Crimson Tide bullpen and a timely two-RBI double by Drew Williamson in the eighth. With the victory, UA improves to 17-3 overall and 1-1 in Southeastern Conference play.

"I'm really excited to get our first road SEC win today, especially considering that we didn't play our best baseball," said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. "Even though the second inning got away from us, we kept competing. Our bullpen was outstanding again, giving up only one run in 7.1 innings of work, and we had more solid contact offensively."

Following a Friday night centered around starting pitching, Saturday's matchup saw both starters exit the game before the third inning was complete. Despite a five-run second by Ole Miss, Alabama's five relievers allowed just one unearned run across the final 7.1 frames and did not allow a run in the final five innings on the way to the win. Junior Deacon Medders (2-1) collected his second win of the season with a scoreless seventh inning and was followed by Jeremy Randolph. The graduate closer earned his fourth save in as many chances thanks to 2.0 scoreless innings, highlighted by a pair of strikeouts in the ninth.

Alabama's offense also shined on Saturday after a slow start to the series in game one. The Crimson Tide bats accumulated 13 hits with seven of the nine starters recording at least one knock while all nine reached base safely. The effort at the plate was highlighted by Williamson's two-out, two-run double in the eighth. Also contributing a pair of RBI was Joe Breaux, with the senior finishing 2-for-3 with a home run, a pair of walks and one run to go with his RBI. Junior Kolby Robinson led Alabama in hits with a 3-for-4 performance that included a triple, an RBI and one run scored.

The Crimson Tide was first on the board in game two, scoring a pair in the top of the second. Sophomore Tyler Gentryreached on a fielding error to start the frame and moved into scoring position after stealing second. A pair of walks followed to load them up before Robinson sent a sacrifice fly to center to cross Gentry one out later for the game's first tally. After a walk packed the bases once again, Breaux drew a walk of his own to push across one more and make it a 2-0 ballgame.

The Rebels answered with a five-run home half of the second to gain a three-run advantage through two innings of play at 5-2. Both teams went scoreless until the fourth when Alabama took the lead back with four runs on five hits. The rally began with a leadoff triple from Robinson. Junior Kobe Morris brought Robinson home in the next at-bat with a sacrifice fly to center to cut the Rebel lead to two.

That lead was split in half two pitches later when Breaux sent an 0-1 pitch deep to right for his second home run of the season, ending the Ole Miss starter's afternoon. The new Rebel arm was greeted with a double from junior Brett Auerbach to continue the rally. Following a swinging bunt that moved Auerbach to third, Gentry found a hole on the left side for an RBI-single to even things up at five apiece. The Tide would go in front in the next at-bat, with senior Keith Holcombe sending a single through the right side on the first pitch he saw to give the Tide a 6-5 lead. Alabama's advantage would not last long, as Ole Miss tied things up at 6-6 with one run in the home half of the fourth.

The two bullpens then battled, keeping both offenses off the board from the fifth through the seventh inning until the Tide gained the lead for good in the eighth. Junior Morgan McCullough led things off with a single to force another Ole Miss pitching change. The new reliever got the first two outs, but then gave up a single to pinch-hitter John Trousdale, also a junior. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before Williamson sent a laser down the line in left for a two-RBI double to give Alabama the 8-6 advantage.

With the Tide in front, Randolph entered to close things out. The Rebels reached a pair in the eighth, but a 6-4-3 double play ended the threat to send it to the ninth. Ole Miss drew a one-out walk in the final frame, but back-to-back swinging strikeouts for Randolph earned him the save and got the Crimson Tide the series-evening win.

Alabama and Ole Miss square off in the rubber match to decide the series tomorrow at Swayze Field with a 1:30 p.m. CT first pitch scheduled. The Crimson Tide will send junior right-hander Wil Freeman to the mound while the Rebels will call on righty Gunnar Hoglund, a freshman, in the Sunday start. Fans can catch the series finale on SEC Network+.
 

TerryP

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A sub-tweet, if you'd like to call it that, directed towards one person whom I believe to be one Greg Goff. No. Let me change that: "...directed towards one person I know to be Goff."

Now remember, this is one of those activities Goff felt wasn't good for team building. It would lead to a loss of focus, like a mustache might, on reaching your goals as a team.

 

TerryP

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I suspect this one is going to be struggle. Their Sunday pitcher was one of the top guys in the draft (30 something) and he'll be a good one for a Sunday starter.
 

UA Press Release

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OXFORD, Miss. – Alabama baseball suffered a 12-2 loss to eighth-ranked Ole Miss on Sunday at Oxford-University Stadium. Following the series finale, the Crimson Tide sits at 17-4 overall and 1-2 in Southeastern Conference play.

"Today was a rough day for us as we didn't really do anything well," said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. "Thankfully, it only counts as one loss. We are all anxious to play again on Tuesday and get back to playing clean baseball as we have the majority of the first four weeks of the season."

The Rebels jumped on the Tide early with a seven-run third inning. Five more would come in the fifth for Ole Miss to make it a 12-0 game through five full. Alabama got on the board in the sixth with two runs. A leadoff walk from freshman T.J. Reeves followed by a double from Morgan McCullough, a junior, put two on to start the sixth. One out later, senior Keith Holcombe found a hole on the right side for a two-RBI single to set things at 12-2 after six, the eventual final as the two teams would go scoreless over the final three frames.

Holcombe led the Tide in hits with a 3-for-4 performance that included two doubles and both Tide RBI. Also contributing a multi-hit outing was McCullough who finished 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and one run scored. Ole Miss starter Gunnar Hoglund (1-0) earned the win while Wil Freeman (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season.

Alabama returns home now to begin a quick four-game homestand at Sewell-Thomas Stadium beginning on Tuesday, March 19. The Crimson Tide will play host to the Maine Black Bears with a 6 p.m. CT first pitch scheduled in the midweek pairing. Fans can catch all the action live on SEC Network+.
 

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