It won’t be long before Alabama baseball begins its rugged SEC play. This weekend is the Crimson Tide’s last chance for a full series to get set for the start of conference play with Northern Kentucky coming to Sewell-Thomas Stadium for a three-game series.

Alabama will use the same three pitchers it used in the last weekend series against South Alabama, though in a different order. Junior Brock Love will throw on Saturday with freshman Connor Shamblin pitching on Sunday, swapping places from a week ago.

“We just have to get better,” coach Brad Boahnnon said. “We need to keep playing. This is the fourth weekend of at least 14. I’m really excited to see Brock Love again. He was just amazing, probably the best outing of his life down at South Alabama. I want to see it repeated. He’s somebody that we have a lot of faith and belief in over time. He’s a fabulous young man and I’m excited to see him take the ball on Saturday. I think it’s a big start for Connor Shamblin on Sunday after last weekend. We need those guys to pitch well.”

Love gave up just one hit and struck out 11 in 4 2/3 innings while throwing 80 pitches against the Jaguars. Shamblin threw five no-hit innings in his second career start against Ball State but struggled last week, giving up three walks and a hit and failing to get out of the first inning.

Alabama vs. Northern Kentucky
Schedule: Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
Where: Sewell-Thomas Stadium
Records: Alabama 12-2, Northern Kentucky 1-8
Radio: 102.9 FM

Alabama enters the series on an eight-game winning streak while Northern Kentucky has struggled to start the season. The Norse are batting just .207, have a team ERA of 9.18 and have made 15 errors in nine games.

It’s possible Alabama could have sophomore catcher Sam Praytor return this weekend. He hasn’t started the last nine games after appearing to injure his elbow while warming up between innings.

“It’s kind of a day-by-day deal right now,” Bohannon said. “I know he did some activity today. I haven’t had a chance to get with (the athletic trainer) about it. We’re going to be real conservative. But I’m ready to see him get back out there.”

Reach Ben Jones at or 205-722-0196.