Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon is building his Crimson Tide team through recruiting, and in his third season the dividends of his hard work were starting to show before the season was cut short just prior to the start of SEC play by the worldwide COVID pandemic. The Tide ended their season with a 16-1 record, the best winning percentage in school history. On top of that Bama placed two players on the Collegiate Baseball News All-American teams. The two honorees, Conner Prielipp and Brett Auerbach were the first Alabama players to earn All-American status since Thomas Burrows in 2016.
Freshman left handed pitcher Conner Prielipp was named to the first team, the first Tide player to reach that pinnacle since Taylor Dugas in 2010. Prielipp, a Tomah, Wisconsin native, was on his way to a historic season before the stoppage of play. The 6’2’, 195 pounder started four games for the Tide and didn't allow any runs. Prielipp finished the season with a 3-0 record in 21 innings pitched and allowed only five hits, six walks, and struck out 35 batters. His WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) was an astonishing 0.52 which led the SEC and was fifth in the nation. Hitters hit a minuscule .077 off the southpaw.
Senior utility man Brett Auerbach was named to the second team as a catcher, one of the four positions he started at during the abbreviated season. The JUCO transfer started games at third base, center field, and second base as well, and also saw action in left field. Auerbach only started five games at catcher, and moved behind the plate late in the game three more times. In that short amount of time he threw out five base runners attempting to steal, which was second in the SEC. In 17 games the Mission Viejo, CA native hit a robust .388 with eight doubles and three home runs. The versatile leadoff hitter also stole 12 bases to lead the SEC and finish fifth in the country. Auerbach finished with 14 RBI, drew 12 walks, had 43 total bases, and a .642 slugging percentage and .506 on base percentage.
The Tide had other players that could have easily been considered for All-American also. Red shirt sophomore catcher Sam Praytor hit .350 with six home runs and drove in 18 runs. Junior outfield Tyler Gentry led the Tide with a .429 batting average with four home runs, six doubles, 21 RBI and a .750 slugging percentage. Relief pitcher Chase Lee had a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings pitched while only allowing four hits and walking two while striking out 19. Lee had a 1-0 record and two saves.
Alabama seemed to be on the way to a very good season and was assuredly going to make an appearance in the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2016, and first NCAA Regional since 2014. Bohannon is building the correct way and the future looks bright for the Tide, as long as COVID doesn't change college baseball into a unrecognizable shell of its former self. Thats a topic for another day.
Congratulations and Roll Tide to Conner and Brett.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It!