Alabama baseball won’t have an easy route out of the SEC basement. The Crimson Tide travels to No. 7 Arkansas this weekend after being swept in its last two conference series.
“You get into league play and no matter whether it’s going good or bad, you look at the schedule and it’s like ‘Oh my gosh,’” coach Brad Bohannon said. “Arkansas is a tremendously talented team and maybe the best group of position players in the league.”
The Crimson Tide pitchers won’t have any easy outs this weekend, either. The Razorbacks lead the SEC and rank 10th nationally with a .307 batting average. Arkansas is averaging 7.3 runs per game and is third nationally with 63 home runs.
Alabama at No. 7 Arkansas
Schedule: Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
Where: Baum Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark.
Records: Alabama 23-20 (5-13 SEC), Arkansas 29-13 (10-8 SEC)
Radio: 102.9 FM
Alabama won back-to-back SEC series against Kentucky and Missouri before its slide in the last two weeks. Alabama gave up 12 runs in those six games, but has given up 68 runs in the last six SEC games. Players are working to stay upbeat even during a difficult stretch.
“We come out every day win or lose, and the next day, we’re ready to win again or practice again,” senior second baseman Chandler Avant said. “We’re always enjoying being around each other. We love being around the coaches, and I think the coaches enjoy being around us for the most part. It’s a great environment, it really is.”
Arkansas was swept last weekend by Mississippi State. The Bulldogs had been tied for last place in the SEC with Alabama and Tennessee until taking all three games from the Razorbacks. Arkansas’ only other SEC series losses this season came at Ole Miss and at Florida, both top-10 teams. Arkansas is 8-1 at home in SEC play.
“There will be big crowds and they’ll be animated, doing their Pig Sooie dance and all that,” Bohannon said. “Just like I’ve said all year long, the cool thing about going to places like that is if you win, it means something. They scuffled this past weekend, got swept by Mississippi State. They’ll be hungry and our kids will be too. It’ll be a good challenge. We’ll be excited.”
The final six weekend series of Alabama’s schedule are all against SEC West opponents, including Arkansas. Alabama has already matched its SEC win total from 2017 and passed its overall win total from last season, but still has nearly a month of regular season remaining.
“We’ve had some very good days, some really good weekends,” Bohannon said. “We still have 40 percent of our league schedule left,” Bohannon said. “Even though it feels like you’re right at the end of it, and you are, but we still have 12 league games. It’s a big part of our league schedule. You go 12-0 and you’re talking about hosting a regional. We have to win that first one on Friday before we start talking about the others.”
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.