A new era of Alabama baseball began last season with the re-opening of Sewell-Thomas Stadium after much-needed renovations. Unfortunately, the excitement of state-of-the-art facilities did not translate to improvement on the scoreboard. An overall record of 32-26 (15-15 SEC) got the Crimson Tide on the plus side of winning but it was not enough to gain a birth into the . Mitch Gaspard "resigned" as head coach after another lackluster season and AD Bill Battle made an uninspiring choice of Greg Goff as the replacement. Thus begins the New Era 2.0.
Goff has yet to manage a game for the Tide, so Bama fans will need to be a little patient and give him the benefit of the doubt. New Bama AD Greg Byrne has smartly rebuilt the baseball programs at Mississippi State and Arizona, and will likely be keeping a close watch on the progress of the program under Goff.
GONE: Swept out the door along with Gaspard were Hitting Coach Andy Phillips, Pitching Coach Dax Norris, Volunteer Coach Nathan Kilcrease, and Director of Baseball Operations David Kindred - all former Bama players.
NEW: Assisting Goff will be former UCF head coach Terry Rooney. He holds the title of associate head coach while working as the team’s pitching coach. Jake Wells, a former player under Goff at Montevallo, serves as the Crimson Tide’s recruiting coordinator while also working closely with the team’s catchers. Michael Chadwick is Director of Operations and Joe Hoffer will serve as Athletic Trainer.
GONE: The Tide lost some good pitching to the MLB, beginning with Alabama all-time saves leader Thomas Burrows who was selected in the fourth round by the . He was traded to the in January. Also drafted were, Will Haynie ( , 16th round), Matt Foster ( , 20th round), Colton Freeman ( , 20th round) and Geoffrey Bramblett ( , 30th round).
Among those out of eligibility are Ray Castillo, Jake Hubbard, , Daniel Cucjen, Chance Vincent, and Georgie Salem. Hunter Webb decided not to return to the team for his senior season for personal reasons.
RETURNING: Despite being drafted by the Nick Eicholtz chose to return to the Capstone for his senior season. Other returning players include Chandler Avant, Cody Henry, Cobie Vance, Jake Walters, Chandler Taylor, and Connor Short. On the verge on winning a starting spot on the football team, how much baseball will Keith Holcombe play this year? Two other key guys returning to the hill are Brock Love and Dylan Durate.in the 13th Round, pitcher
NEW: The Crimson Tide has three junior college transfers, nine freshmen, two redshirt freshmen and one transfer that has to sit out the season. Most notably are jucos Hunter Alexander, a power hitting 1B/DH, and Kyle Kaufman, who likely starts behind the plate. Roger will have full coverage of the "New Guys" on Thursday.
Whoever made up this schedule sure laid out a simpler transition period for Goff. The first 21 games will be played in the friendly confines of "The Joe" on the campus of the University of Alabama. The 22nd game will be in Birmingham. Of those 22 games, none will be against ranked teams. The Crimson Tide will take only four trips out of state, two of which are to the state of Mississippi.
Feb 17-19 vs Presbyterian College (Saturday game moved to 5pm so it won't interfere with hoops)
Feb 21 vs Southern Miss
Feb 24-26 vs Oral Roberts
Feb 28 vs Jacksonville State
Mar 3-5 vs ULM
Mar 7 vs Troy
Mar 9-12 vs Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Mar 14 vs Eastern Illinois
Mar 15 vs Samford
Mar 17-19 vs Missouri *
Mar 21 at UAB
Mar 24-26 at South Carolina *
Mar 28 vs Auburn in Montgomery, Ala.
Mar 31-Apr 2 vs Arkansas *
Apr 4 at Troy
Apr 7-9 at Ole Miss *
Apr 11 vs UAB
Apr 13-15 vs Texas A&M *
Apr 18 vs Alcorn State
Apr 20-22 at Mississippi State *
Apr 25 vs Jacksonville State
Apr 27-29 vs LSU *
May 5-7 at Auburn *
May 9 at Samford
May 10 vs Grambling
May 12-14 vs Florida *
May 18-20 at Vanderbilt *
Home games are in BOLD.
Alabama is nowhere near the preseason rankings right now but some of their conference opponents are. The SEC has four teams among the top six. The Tide will face all four of those teams this season, plus #20 TAMU and #26 OM.
|14||Cal State Fullerton||14||16||11||41||BW|
|22||UC Santa Barbara||21||25||23||69||BW|
SB = Sun Belt; BW = Big West.
THE NAME GAME:
This Alabama team has two Chandlers, three Connors, two Garretts, two Kyles, two Zac(k)s, a Tanner, a Taylor, two Tylers but only one Dylan. C'mon GenX parents. Show a little creativity! A Hunter, a Walker, a Cobie, and a Cody.
Thank goodness for Deacon Medders. Now that is a baseball name.
This is a young team with only four seniors. A lot of fresh faces will be getting their shots.
Our baseball insider Roger Myers has been attending practices and will have reports on the progress including the projected lineups, potential pitching rotation, and a preview of opening weekend vs Presbyterian.
Follow Roger on Twitter all season long with in-game insights @.