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Alabama Baseball Welcomes 11th Ranked Oregon Tonight For Ad Hoc Game

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The 23rd-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide hosts two ranked opponents this week, the 11th ranked Oregon Ducks on Thursday and the 21st ranked Houston Cougars over the weekend.

Jeff Golden/Getty Images

In a quirk of the schedule, Alabama didn't have a true "mid week" game this week, but instead for the second week in a row are playing Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Thursday game, with 11th ranked Oregon came about because of the Ducks playing Mississippi State in Starkville this weekend. Oregon coach George Horton contacted 'Bama coach Mitch Gaspard about practicing in Tuscaloosa on Thursday night. Both coaches said "what the hell, lets play a game" so the matchup was born. The game will be at 6:30 p.m. and can be seen on SEC Network Plus.

Oregon Ducks

Even more so than Alabama, Oregon is living by their pitching staff and their outstanding 1.61 ERA. In 95 innings Duck pitchers have only allowed 60 hits and 34 walks, and have struck out 111. Opponents are hitting .185 vs the Ducks. However OU batters are only hitting .208 as a team, but have still been able to forge a record of 8-2 thus far.

Tim Susnara is the leading hitter with a .333 average and has one home run. Austin Grebeck, .265, Daniel Patzlaff, .250 and Matt Kroon, .222, are the only other regulars hitting above .200. Oregon will save their three weekend starters for the Mississippi State series, and thats a good thing, since their ERA's are 0.45, 0.82 and 1.59 in three starts each. Freshman left-hander Kyle Robeniol will garner his first start of the season for the Ducks. In three appearances covering 8.2 innings he has a 3.12 ERA and a 1-1 record, allowing seven hits, six walks with seven strikeouts.

Alabama leads the SEC in ERA with a sterling 1.33 mark. 'Bama will counter Robeniol with a left-hander of their own, fifth year senior Jon Keller. In three games, one start, Keller has a 1.35 ERA and a 1-0 record over 6.2 innings, allowing six hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Alabama pitchers have thrown 108 innings, allowing only 72 hits, with 34 walks and 108 strikeouts.

Offensively the Tide is hitting .253 with four home runs,  have drawn 48 walks, and struck out 97 times. 'Bama is being lead by Chance Vincent and Connor Short, both with batting averages of .333. Cobie Vance checks in at .298, followed by Cody Henry at .278, Chandler Taylor at .275 and Chandler Avant at .262. Avant leads in RBI's with eight, and Vincent and Henry have driven in seven each.

[Ed. Note: The Oregon game has been rained out and will not be made up.]

Houston Cougars

Houston, with a 6-5 record, is the opposite of Oregon. The Cougars are hitting .281 as a team with 14 home runs and 23 stolen bases, but have a team ERA of 3.15 in 97 innings. The pitchers have only allowed 79 hits and 23 walks, and have recorded 105 strikeouts.

Joe Davis is the big bat with an average of .467 and three home runs and a ridiculous 18 runs driven in. Connor Wong is hitting .364 with three home runs, followed by Justin Montemayor at .33, Casey Clay at .316 with four home runs, and Corey Julks at .294.

The Cougars haven't set their rotation for the weekend, but Andrew Lantrip, 1-2, 2.45 ERA, John King, 2-1, 4.40 ERA and Marshall Kasowski, 1-1, 3.24 ERA and Mitch Ullom, 1-1, 8.22 ERA are most likely to be the starters. The Houston bullpen is deep and talented with Seth Romero, Trey Cumbie, Aaron Fletcher, Tammer Lawson and Nick Hernandez.

The Tide will start Geoffrey Bramblett on Friday. The junior righty from Hoover is 1-0 with a 0.84 ERA in three starts covering 21.1 innings, allowing only 12 hits, six walks and striking out 18. Sophomore RHP Jake Walters gets the nod Saturday and has a 1-1 record and a 3.24 ERA in 16.2 innings over there starts. Walters has allows 14 hits, with eight walks and a team leading 25 strikeouts. Sunday's starter has yet to be announced, but will most likely be Sr. Ray Castillo or junior Mike Oczypok. Normal Sunday starter Nick Eicholtz is still out with a strained fore arm muscle.

'Bama relies heavily on its bullpen, led by junior closer Thomas Burrows (who already has four saves), junior Matt Foster, and a trio of freshman, Dylan Durate (LHP), Kyle Cameron and Brock Love, who are both right handed.

The Houston game times are set for: Friday 6:30 p.m., Saturday, 2:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. All will be available on line with SEC Network Plus, and or Watch ESPN app.

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