Despite a late season slide, the Alabama Crimson Tide secured a two seed in the NCAA Baseball Tournament, and was, once again, placed in Tallahassee Florida. 'Bama will open regional play with a game against Kennesaw State on Friday, May 30th at 11 a.m. CST at Mike Martin Field, in Dick Howser Stadium at Florida State University. The Tide has a season record of 34-22 and the Owls, Atlantic Sun Conference Champions, have a 37-21 mark.
This will be the 24th regional appearance for 'Bama and the first for Kennesaw State. Under Coach Mitch Gaspard the Tide has gone to four regionals in five seasons, and advanced to Super Regional in Gaspard's first season, 2009.
Kennesaw has a team batting average of .301 and an ERA of 3.54. Offensively Max Pentecost in the leading hitter with a sparkling .423 average, with nine home runs, 55 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. Bo Way has a .364 average with two home runs and 29 RBIs. Alex Liquori is hitting .363 with one home run and 41 RBIs. James Connell leads the pitching staff with a 7-3 record and a 2.11 ERA. Travis Bergen is 7-4 with a 2.74 ERA. The closer, Justin McCalum has 14 saves with a 4-3 won-lost record and a 2.24 ERA.
Alabama is hitting .278 as a team and has an ERA of 3.29. Austen Smith is the leading hitter at .316 and also leads in RBI with 36, walks with 27 and on base percentage at .426. The senior first baseman also has six home runs, which is second on the team. Smith's high school teammate, Wade Wass, is hitting .305 with four home runs and 31 RBIs, and leads the team with 19 doubles. Ben Moore is also hitting .305 and leads the team with nine home runs, and is second with 35 runs driven in. Mikey White is next with a .303 average and has six home runs and 32 RBIs. Georgie Salem is hitting .288, Casey Hughston .282 and Kyle Overstreet is at .278. Spencer Turnbull has a 5-6 record with a 2.28 ERA, and in 87 innings has allowed the opposition to hit only .193. Justin Kamplian has a 6-3 record with a 3.07 ERA in 82 innings, and has 66 strikeouts. Jonathan Keller has a 5-2 record and a 2.57 ERA. Closer Thomas Burrows has saved 10 games, with a 4-1 won-lost mark and a 1.62 ERA. Tucker Hawley is 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA while Geoffrey Bramblett has won four, lost two and has a 4.19 ERA. Fellow freshman Nick EIcholtz is 3-2 with a 3.35 ERA.
Florida State is the fifth seed nationally, and has a 43-15 record on the season. The 'Noles have a team batting average of .278 with 26 home runs on the season. The pitching staff has a 3.02 ERA. D.J. Stewart is the leading hitters with a .348 average and leads in home runs with seven, and is second in RBIs with 48. Jose Brizuela is hitting .325 with three home runs, 38 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. John Nogowski leads in runs batted in with 49, and has a .311 average and five home runs. In limited offensive appearances Heisman Trophy winner Jamies Winston has hit a paltry .132. Pitching wise, Luke Weaver is 8-3 with a 2.66 ERA, Mike Compton is 7-2 with a 3.06 ERA and Brandon Leibrandt is 4-1 with 1.83 ERA, and has been limited by injury. Gage Smith, the main middle reliever has a 5-2 record and a 2.08 ERA. Winston is the closer and has saved seven games. In 30 innings he has allowed only 18 hits and six walks, has struck out 29, and has a very good ERA of 1.17.
Georgia Southern, the Southern Conference Champion, is making their 14th NCAA appearance. The Eagles have an overall record of 39-21. GSU is hitting .289 as a team and has an ERA of 3.16. Garrett Chapman is the teams leading hitter at .346 and adds seven home runs and 30 RBIs. Stryker Brown has a .325 average and has 10 home runs and 44 RBIs. Aaron Mizell is third in average at .313, and leads in home runs with 13 and RBIs with 52. Josh Wirsu is the leading pitcher with a 9-3 record and a 2.33 ERA. Sam Howard as a 6-6 record and a 2.60 ERA. Long reliever Jason Richman has appeared in an amazing 45 games and has pitched 84 innings with a 5-1 won lost record and a 1.06 ERA. Matt McCall is the closer and has nine saves.
The Tide will start either Spencer Turnbull or Justin Kamplain in the opening game. Coach Gaspard will make a decision after studying the the film on KSU. Jonathan Keller will still be limited by elbow soreness and will only be available out of the bull pen on a limited basis. Turnbull and Kamplain will need some help from Geoffrey Bramblett, Nick Eicholtz, or Tucker Hawley as starters and Burrows will need help from Jay Shaw, Ray Castillo and Taylor Guilbeau. Bramblett, Eicholtz and Hawley will also be bull pen options.
After struggling down the stretch, a new season has begun for the Tide. The team only needs to get hot for a couple of weeks to make the finish to the regular season a distant memory. 'Bama has the ability to win this regional, which is matched up with the Louisville regional, and advance to the Super Regionals, and play for a berth in the College World Series. All the games from all the regionals will be available on the ESPN family of channels, either ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPN3.
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Roll Tide Y'all Roger
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