The first three weeks of the SEC schedule haven’t gone the way the University of Alabama baseball team would have liked. The next two weekends could be critical to the Crimson Tide’s postseason fate.
A road series at Ole Miss this weekend and a home series against Texas A&M pits Alabama against two teams that are both just one game ahead in the conference standings. Winning one or both series could greatly help Alabama’s chances of making the SEC tournament.
“As we went down through the last two weekends, I think we played really well against some really good teams,” head coach Greg Goff said on Monday. “A pitch here or there either way could win the series. We just need to continue to work on the little things … That’s my job as we move forward.”
Ole Miss has lost five straight SEC games, but all were by three or fewer runs. The Rebels remain a tough matchup. They’re 14-6 at home this season.
“For me, it’s one of my favorite places to go to,” senior reliever Mike Oczypok said. “The fans are great. It’s a different type of environment. They have a lot of fun as fans. They just make it a different experience for us.”
Ole Miss is 13th in the conference in batting average, but the pitching staff is third in the SEC in ERA. The Rebels lead the league with 290 strikeouts, and should challenge Alabama’s hitters. The Crimson Tide have improved their strikeouts this year, dropping from 7.7 last year to 6.6 this year, but are still in the middle of the conference.
Goff said he’s seen improvement from the start of Alabama’s season, but there’s still a ways to go in the last two months of the regular season.
“I think we’re getting there,” Goff said. “I think we’re continuing to improve each week with them. You can watch the game from (Sunday) and see us get down twice, and these guys had enough courage to come back and compete and tie that thing back up.”