The young guns of Alabama baseball are picking the perfect time to bring their bats to life again. Following a loss to Memphis last Tuesday night, and a stretch in which they lost seven of their previous eight games, the players held a meeting and came to a simple solution: Stop pressing.
“We were scuffling a little bit and everybody’s pressing a little bit,” Austen Smith said. “It took time. We had to relax and everyone came out swinging. No better time to get hot than now.”
Turns out Smith was right about that.
Following an SEC series opening win over rival Tennessee, Smith led the way on Tuesday night as Alabama erupted for 15 runs in a 15-7 win over Samford to improve to 12-9 on the year. Alabama has now won four of their last five games by outscoring their opponents 52-18 during that stretch.
Alabama has gone four straight games with 10+ hits and has scored 12+ runs in three of their last four games. The Crimson Tide have a chance to string together quite a few wins as they host a struggling Jacksonville State team on Wednesday night before traveling to face a Georgia Bulldog squad that was swept to begin SEC play by Texas A&M.
Prediction time: I said last week that a key factor for Alabama the rest of the season would be quick starts, and they proved me right by jumping out to a 9-1 lead over the Volunteers after three innings on Sunday and 13-1 over Samford after 3=t innings last night.
I’ll make another prediction this week, and say that if Alabama wants to play in a regional this season they’ll need to do two things: take care of their midweek games and not get swept in SEC play. Alabama has eight midweek games left against opponents with a combined record of 59-65. Going 6-2 or better over these final eight midweek games will go a long way towards putting Alabama into a regional.
The second thing they’ll need is to win their SEC series at home, and not get swept on the road. Following the strategy I said would put Alabama at 35-31 to end the season, and on the bubble of making the NCAA tournament. If Alabama can win the series this weekend on the road against Georgia, they will set themselves up nicely before tough series against Arkansas and Ole Miss. I think they win the series this weekend, taking two out of three if not sweeping the Dawgs in Georgia. Prove me right guys.