The offense wasn’t always there for the University of Alabama baseball team (3-4) as it scored nine runs in three games against Oral Roberts this weekend. But one player’s offense has been there every game this season.
Second baseman Cobie Vance has a hit in each of the first seven games this season. He’s 15-29 (.517) after going 6-12 over the weekend. His seven RBIs are second on the team and he has three extra-base hits so far.
“Cobie has just been tremendous offensively,” head coach Greg Goff said. “You look at how he’s doing it, he’s using the whole field, he’s adjusting with two strikes. He just competes. He plays the game the right way.”
The sophomore had exactly 58 hits in 58 games as a freshman, but batted just .258 on the season. His performance early this season has shown improvement from that.
He said it’s partially due to scouting reports from the coaching staff that prepare him for pitching matchups. He got some suggestions before Wednesday’s midweek game against Southern Miss, in which he went 3-4 with a double and two RBIs.
“Southern Miss, their guy was a power arm that was going to come right at you with fastballs and if he gets ahead, he’s going to try and spin it into the dirt,” Vance said. “Being able to lay off curveballs that are down, seeing pitches up. They tell us to see curveballs that challenge, which basically means that even if it’s going to be a ball, make sure it’s reasonable.”
That’s the kind of game he’ll be looking for on Tuesday when Alabama plays Jacksonville State (4-2) at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
“They’ll be in here trying to make a statement, just like we’re trying to make a statement also about how to bounce back from this rough weekend,” he said.
One senior may be missing
The University of Alabama men’s basketball team will host its annual Senior Day pregame event prior to Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m. game against Ole Miss — although one senior may be missing.
The Crimson Tide will honor four-year senior center Jimmie Taylor of Greensboro, along with graduate transfers Corban Collins and Bola Olaniyan. Shannon Hale, also completing his college eligibility this season, is currently serving a suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team.” According to UA head coach Avery Johnson’s Feb. 18 announcement, Hale is not a part of team activities until at least the conclusion of the regular season.
“For the rest of the regular season, he will not be back,” Johnson elaborated. “We will reevaluate his situation March 5.”
Hale, who has appeared in 21 games this season, has averaged 4.1 points and 1.5 rebounds per game, making 20 of his 21 appearances off the bench.
The Tide’s chances are slim
With two games remaining in the Southeastern Conference regular season, Alabama is assured of not playing in the opening “play-in” round of the upcoming SEC Tournament in Nashville but would require significant help to earn the double-bye into Friday’s quarterfinals.
The Crimson Tide’s losses last week to Georgia and Texas A&M have Alabama at 9-7 in league play. The only possibility for UA to take fourth place and earn the double bye would be to win its remaining games against Ole Miss and Tennessee while South Carolina loses both its remaining games. That outcome would put both teams at 11-7 and Alabama would win a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Gamecocks.
Alabama could mathematically finish in any position from fourth to 10th, but that picture will begin to clear with the results of the SEC Tuesday night games. A win over Ole Miss on Wednesday would assure the Crimson Tide of no worse than a No. 7 seed.
— Cecil Hurt
Alabama in SEC Tournament
The Alabama women’s basketball team dropped its final two games of the regular season to Georgia and Missouri this past week. Alabama finished in 10th place in the southeastern conference and will play in the first round of the SEC Tournament on March 1.
Alabama had a chance to earn a first round bye in the conference tournament but the two losses dropped the Crimson Tide below Ole Miss in the final conference standings, despite Alabama’s two wins over the rebels.
Alabama forward Quanetria Bolton put together a 13-point performance over the Tigers on Sunday, her third-straight double digit performance off of the bench. The junior is averaging just below 10 points per game this season for Alabama, and has been a large part of the team’s offensive success in the last stretch of the season.
Alabama will take on Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina. The Commodores beat the Crimson Tide earlier this season at home in Memorial Gymnasium, but they finished behind the Crimson Tide in the final conference standings at 4-12.
— Drew Hill
Gymnastics falls from top 5
That didn’t take long.
The University of Alabama gymnastics team’s time in the top five was short-lived. Once the regional qualifying scores were released, the Crimson Tide jumped from sixth to fourth, but now, a week later, it’s right back where it was ranked for three weeks straight, as the No. 6 team in the nation.
“Honestly, I don’t allow myself to get wrapped up into rankings and numbers,” UA head coach Dana Duckworth said Monday. “I know that’s difficult for our fans to understand, but there are so many things out of our control and how people are getting judged across the country.”
It’s worth noting Alabama’s 197.085 RQS didn’t change, even after defeating now-No. 10 Boise State, 196.925 to 196.675, last Friday. That mark is one of UA’s top six, but it wasn’t factored into the RQS because it wasn’t high enough to bump another home score and there needs to be at least three away meets taken into account.
Oklahoma is ahead of the pack with a 197.99 RQS. LSU’s 197.695 and Florida’s 197.495 follow in order.
Last week, Alabama’s strongest all-around threat, Kiana Winston, didn’t compete. Nothing is wrong. Duckworth simply decided to rest the junior.
Among the Crimson Tide, Winston is tied with senior Keely McNeer for most routines this season at 27 each. Winston holds the most individual titles with 15, has notched seven 9.95-plus scores and is still the only UA member to score a perfect 10, which she did on the floor exercise.
— Terrin Waack