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Regional Play Begins Friday, 11 a.m.

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Second seeded Tide hopes to advance

Tom Szczerbowski

Alabama will start senior Charley Sullivan on the mound Friday in Tallahassee Florida vs. home state foe Troy at 11 a.m. in the Florida State Regional. Sullivan enters the weekend with a record of 5-6 and an ERA of 3.56. In 91 innings the right hander has struck out 75 batters. The Oxford Mississippi native last pitched in the SEC tournament on Wednesday May 22, holding LSU to three first inning runs in a complete game performance. The Tide lost that game 3-0, the team's ninth shutout loss of the year, and finished the tournament winning two games and losing two.

Candidates to start for Troy are Tanner Hicks, 8-3 with a 3.47 ERA and Shane McCain who is 8-1 with a 3.53 ERA. The Trojans are an offensive club that hit .295 as a team, and slugged 52 home runs and 144 doubles. Coach Bobby Pierce's son, Logan, leads the team with a .373 average. Pierce also has 8 home runs and 62 RBI's. Former Alabama player Danny Collins is next with a .363 average, 11 home runs and 67 RBI's. Trae Santos has slugged 16 home runs and driven home 66.

Offensively 'Bama is led by freshman short stop Mikey White and his .286 average. After a slow start White has improved dramatically, batting an impressive .350 in SEC play. Sophomore Ben Moore is second in average at .284, and leads the team in RBI's with 40. In addition he leads in triples with four, stolen bases with 16, slugging percentage at .427, total bases with 99, and is tied for the doubles lead with 13. Senior Brett Booth is hitting .277 with six home runs which ties him for the team lead with junior Austen Smith. Smith and his 13 doubles tie Moore for the team lead.

The other teams in Tallahassee are the host Seminoles with their 44-15 record, including 32-3 at home, and Savannah State who has a 33-21 record. FSU and SSU will play at 4:00 p.m. on Friday. The two losers will play Saturday at 11:00 a.m., with the two winners following at 4:00 p.m.

Florida State is a good all-around team that has relied heavily on pitching ( a 2.80 team ERA) and timely hitting. The team is hitting .284 collectively. DJ Stewart is the leading hitter with a .348 average. Stewart has 51 RBI's and 22 doubles. Jose Brizuela carries a .320 batting average. Marcus Davis has nine home runs and 55 runs batted in, to lead the team in both categories. Stephen McGee chips in with a .296 average, eight home runs, and 46 RBI's. Scott Sitz is the top pitcher with a 9-1 record and an impressive 1.73 ERA. Brandon Leibrandt sports a 9-4 record and an ERA of 3.21. Luke Weaver is 6-2 with a 2.13 ERA and has struck out 100 batters in 84.1 innings pitched. Robby Coles is the teams closer, and has four wins and nine saves to go along with a nifty 1.60 ERA.

Savannah State has a .271 team batting average and a high team ERA of 4.85. The team has little power, seven team home runs, but plenty of speed with 127 stolen bases out of 157 attempts. Todd Hagen has a .320 average to lead the squad. Mendez Elder is next at .307, followed closely by David Richards at .303. Darien Campbell has stolen 24 bases out of 25 attempts, and Antonio Scott has 23 stolen bags in 26 attempts. Kyle McGowin is far and away the team's top pitcher with a 12-1 won lost record and a 1.33 ERA. Rexford Davis is next with a 6-2 record and a 4.50 ERA. Jay Mack has won five and lost three with a 4.31 ERA.

The winner of this regional will be matched up with the winner of the Bloomington Indiana winner. Indiana, Austin Peay, Florida and Valparaiso compose the four teams at Indiana University's home field. The Super Regional will be played in Tallahassee.

'Bama has a real shot at winning their way in to the Supers, if they continue to get good starting pitching, shore up the bullpen, (an early strength, but struggling recently) and can hit enough to keep pressure on the opposition. The Tide's magic number seems to be six, as in if they can get to six runs they have a good chance of winning. The team's chances have improved dramatically with the news that freshman closer Ray Castillo will be available after missing the last four games of the SEC tournament. Castillo saved 11 games in 13 chances this season.

Castillo, White and Kyle Overstreet were honored Tuesday in news from the SEC office. White was named Second Team All-SEC, while Castillo and Overstreet were named to the all-freshman team. White was not on the all-freshman team because LSU's Alec Bregman, also a freshman, was First Team All-SEC, as well as Freshman of the Year.

'Bama Baseball Fever, jump on now and catch it!

Roll Tide Y'all Roger