Alabama baseball’s best start since 2010 has come thanks largely to a strong start at the plate. The Crimson Tide (7-0) is one of 13 teams around the nation that remains undefeated after two weekends of play.
The offense ranks seventh nationally with a .348 batting average and third nationally with a .477 on-base percentage. It’s also 12th nationally with 9.6 runs per game. Junior left fielder Keith Holcombe leads the nation with a .684 batting average and a .739 on-base percentage, among qualifying players. Holcombe, a Hillcrest product, is also a linebacker for the football team.
Alabama batters have been hit by 21 pitches, second most in the nation. Second baseman Chandler Avant has been hit six times in seven games on his own, the most of any player in the nation.
Pray for my man @ChandlerAvant. Nothing's wrong with him, he's just always getting hit by pitches. As of now he's on track to set some sort of world record. He's a nice guy but apparently he's being targeted by the whole pitching community. #StopTheViolence #BruisedByBama pic.twitter.com/qpMGnJbPiM
— Jake Walters (@J_Walt16) February 26, 2018
The bullpen has also done its part. Alabama’s relievers went 25 straight innings without allowing an earned run until sophomore Davis Vainer gave up two in the series finale on Saturday. The bullpen closed out the final 3 2/3 innings of the game without giving up a run to begin a new streak.
The Crimson Tide will be tested this week with midweek games at Samford on Tuesday and home against Alabama State on Wednesday. Samford (5-3) boasts a team ERA of 2.71 and beat Alabama in two of their last three meetings dating back to the 2016 season. Alabama State (5-3) and Alabama haven’t played since 2011.
The game at Samford will be the first road game of the season for the Crimson Tide. Alabama will travel to Norman, Okla. for a three-game series against the Oklahoma Sooners over the weekend in its first extended road trip.