Would it surprise you to learn that the Alabama baseball team fields one of the best offenses in the country?
And it’s not just a one-trick pony. Going into the opening weekend of SEC play with a home series against Georgia, the Crimson Tide hits for average (.310), in which it ranks 18th nationally, it hits for power, in which it ranks 10th in doubles (43) and 23rd in slugging percentage (.474); and it gets on base, a category in which it ranks eighth nationally with an on-base percentage of .431.
How did it get here? One of the team’s key cogs says the way the lineup is made is what has made is so proficient.
Georgia at Alabama
Where: Sewell Thomas Stadium
When: Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Records: Alabama 15-3, Georgia 12-5
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 102.9 FM
“Everyone has security around them in the lineup, and that has helped our production in a major way,” third baseman Cobie Vance said. “You can’t really pitch around anyone in our lineup because of the guys that are behind them or in front of them. You kind of have to go right at everyone and that benefits us to where we get to see better pitches each at-bat.
“I think our guys have figured out their swings a little better, and they’re choosing right pitches to swing at. We’re not chasing as much, which all goes back to Coach (Brad) Bohannon who harps on that we need to be swinging at strikes and taking balls.”
The team knows that the competition steps with the start of SEC play, but Alabama has played a couple of good teams, including Oklahoma and Southern Miss. The team’s performance though the first 18 games gives it belief as the schedule turns tougher.
“Our confidence is pretty high right now. We’re playing well to where we’re confident, but we’re not cocky,” redshirt freshman Garret Rukes said. “We know we can be beat, but we also know we can beat anybody if we play our best baseball each time out.”
A lot of that confidence stems from how they are swinging the bats.
“The biggest thing that I’ve seen is that we’re getting production throughout the lineup,” Bohannon said. “We’re able to get some production out of the bottom of the order, and that takes a little bit off of the guys in the middle because they don’t have to do it all themselves. We’ve got 10 or 11 guys, maybe even 12, that deserve to play every day. Being able to keep guys fresh and play some matchups has been really beneficial for us from a team offense perspective.”