There’s still learning to be done for Alabama baseball in the two weeks before SEC play begins. Not every lesson will be in Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide heads to South Alabama for a three-game series this weekend. It’s the only nonconference weekend series Alabama will play away from Tuscaloosa. The next time Alabama heads on the road will be to face an Ole Miss team that’s ranked in every major poll.
“It’s just a different challenge,” infielder Morgan McCullough said. “You don’t have the comfort of your home stadium, food and everything like that. I think it’ll be a good test for us, especially before league play starts. I think it’ll be a good way to get going.”
McCullough is a new player for Alabama, but still has experience playing in the road in major college environments. He spent his freshman season in 2017 at Oregon before leaving for a junior college. Several of Alabama’s other newcomers, including its 10 freshmen, will be hitting the road for the first time in their collegiate careers.
Alabama at South Alabama
Schedule: Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
Where: Stanky Field (Mobile, Ala.)
Records: Alabama 7-2, South Alabama 4-2
Radio: 102.9 FM
Coach Brad Bohannon said on Wednesday that he plans to continue using senior Sam Finnerty as the Friday night starter, followed by true freshman Connor Shamblin on Saturday and junior Brock Love as the Sunday starter. Freshman Tyler Ras had started on Saturday in the first two weekend series of the season.
“I said at the beginning of the year that we were going to have seven, eight, nine guys start a game,” Bohannon said. “Again, some guys respond better to starting with a clean inning. Some guys are better coming in with some adrenaline with people on base. Tyler is going to pitch a lot. He’s really talented. We’re going to keep running him out there. We believe in him. He’s going to pitch a lot when it matters.”
South Alabama is receiving a handful of votes in college baseball top 25 polls. The Jaguars have made the NCAA tournament in two of the last three seasons.
The step up in competition also allows Bohannon to continue working a handful of players into the lineup to see different combinations at work. He said five or six position players will be the core of the lineup, but several positions still have competition.
“I try really hard to play a lot of people, especially early in the season,” Bohannon said. “I think it’s inherent when half your roster is new. You have six months to evaluate them. As soon as the games really count, they’re different so they’ll respond differently. I think we’re getting closer to kind of pegging it, how it will be.”
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