AUBURN, Ala. – After an extra-innings loss to the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets in Atlanta on Tuesday night, the Auburn Tigers (19-13-1, 4-8 SEC) turn their attention to the Alabama Crimson Tide (24-10, 4-8 SEC) for a three-game series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
“We’re looking for competitive spirit, competitive nature,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “We need one or two guys to go out there and reset a good rhythm for our ballclub.”
Alabama comes into this series after dropping two out of three games against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at home last weekend and earning a 13-0 victory over the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at home on Tuesday night.
The probable pitching matchup for Friday night is graduate left-hander Tommy Vail for Auburn and sophomore right-hander Luke Holman for Alabama. Vail has pitched 30.2 innings this season and has a 5.28 ERA, a 1.30 WHIP and 37 strikeouts to 21 walks. Holman has pitched 35 innings this season and has a 2.83 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP and 44 strikeouts to 12 walks.
Saturday's probable pitching matchup features freshman left-hander Drew Nelson for the Tigers and junior left-hander Grayson Hitt for the Crimson Tide. Nelson has pitched 21.2 innings this season and has a 5.40 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and 22 strikeouts to 13 walks. Hitt has pitched 38.2 innings this season and has a 4.19 ERA, a 1.40 WHIP and 49 strikeouts to 25 walks.
Sunday's probable starters have not been listed, but some potential candidates are Tanner Bauman or Will Cannon for Auburn and Garrett McMillan or Ben Hess for Alabama.
Alabama got off to a hot start winning 14 games straight out of the gate. The Crimson Tide has cooled off, however, dropping 10 of their last 20 games and five consecutive weekend series.
The Crimson Tide is led at the plate by redshirt senior outfielder Tommy Seidl, graduate infielder Drew Williamson, freshman infielder Colby Shelton and graduate infielder Ed Johnson. Seidl averages .412 with an OPS of 1.074, three home runs and 18 RBIs.Williamson averages .385 with an OPS of 1.142, 10 home runs and 38 RBIs.Shelton averages .292 with an OPS of 1.116, 13 home runs and 26 RBIs. Johnson averages .370 with an OPS of .988, four home runs and 29 RBIs.
Alabama has been effective on the mound and at the plate. The Crimson Tide ranks No. 2 in the SEC and No. 8 in the NCAA in batting average with a .319 and No. 9 in the country in on-base percentage with a .432. Alabama also ranks No. 5 in the SEC and No. 20 in the NCAA in team ERA with a 3.94.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CST on Friday and Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. CST on Sunday. All three games will be televised on SEC Network+.