The Alabama baseball team gathered in the C.M. Newton Conference Room at Memorial Coliseum on Monday morning to watch the NCAA Selection show together. After being projected to being sent anywhere from Los Angeles to Raleigh, the Tide was selected as the number two seed in the Tallahassee region with host Florida State, third seeded home state team Troy and fourth seeded Savannah State. Most people expected 'Bama to be sent to Bloomington, Indiana as a two seed, but instead drew what seems like a tougher draw.
Florida State is the number eight national seed, and will host the Super Regional after this week's play. 'Bama begins their road to Omaha with an 11 a.m. game against a familiar foe in the Troy Trojans. Troy cam to Tuscaloosa as the nation's 25th ranked team on May 8th, and was spanked by the Tide 11-2. Taylor Guilbeau was the winning pitcher and Brett Booth and Kenny Roberts homered for the Tide. Ben Moore had three hits and three RBI's to lead the team.
Florida State enters NCAA play with an overall record of 44-15, despite being in the midst of a five game losing streak. The Seminoles are led offensively by DJ Stewart and his .348 batting average. Marcus Davis leads the team in home runs with nine and RBI's with 55. The team's batting average is .284 and they have 29 home runs as a squad. Don't look for FSU to run much as they have only been successful on 38 of 64 attempts. Scott Sitz is the teams' ace with a 9-1 record and a 1.73 ERA. Brandon Leibrandt also has recorded nine wins. Robby Coles leads the relief corps with nine saves.
Troy enters the regional with a record of 40-18. The Trojans carry a team batting average of .295, and or lead by Logan Pierce, son of head coach Bobby Pierce, with a .373 average. Former Alabama player Danny Collins is next in average at .363 and leads the team in RBI's with 67, and is second on the team with 11 home runs, and has also slammed 24 doubles. Trae Santos has 16 home runs and 66 RBI's. Tanner Hicks and Shane McCain lead the pitching staff with eight wins apiece.
Savannah State carries a 33-21 record to Tallahassee to begin play. Todd Hagen leads the team with a .320 average. The team only has seven home runs as a team, but appears to be a speed based squad with 127 stolen bases out of 157 attempts. Six players have stolen at least 10 bases each. Kyle McGowin is their ace on the hill with a 12-1 won/lost record and a 1.33 ERA. The team's ERA is 4.85.
Alabama has a season record of 34-26 entering Friday's play. The Tide has a .257 team batting average, led by freshmen Mikey White at .286. Ben Moore is second at .284, and leads the team in RBI's with 40, stolen bases with 16, triples with four, total bases with 99 and is tied with Austen Smith with 13 doubles. Brett Booth and Smith lead the team with six home runs apiece. 'Bama has 25 home runs as a team. Booth and Georgie Salem lead with 27 walks each, and Booth is the on base percentage leader at .370. Charley Sullivan at 5-6, and Tucker Hawley at 5-2 lead the team in wins. Freshman Ray Castillo is the Tide closer and has 11 saves in the book in his 24 appearances.
'Bama joins eight other SEC teams in regional play., Vanderbilt, number two national seed, LSU, number three national seed, Mississippi State and South Carolina, both regional hosts, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A@M, and surprisingly with an overall record of 29-28, the Florida Gators. Auburn, despite defeating T AM, Florida and Ole Miss was left out of the field once again.
Brett Booth said the team was glad to receive a bid, and didn't mind being sent to Tallahassee, saying "you gotta play all of them at some point, we are just happy to be able to continue the season," and adding, "We can win this regional."
The Tide will travel by bus, most likely leaving on Wednesday, and will practice on Thursday at the site.
Despite many people thinking, and hoping for ticket to Bloomington, the team is confident and excited to continue playing, especially after not even reaching the SEC tournament last year. This young team has improved all throughout the year and may very well surprise many by advancing. The pitching rotation has not been set, and will be done so after compiling scouting reports on the teams involved. One would suspect that Charley Sullivan, Spencer Turnbull, Justin Kamplian and Mike Oczypok would be under consideration for starting nods. Tucker Hawley and Taylor Guilbeau could both be in the mix as well.
'Bama Baseball Fever, it's not too late to catch it!