• Louisiana-Monroe at Alabama
  • Schedule: Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
  • Where: Sewell-Thomas Stadium
  • Records: Alabama 3-5, ULM 4-4
  • Radio: 102.9 FM

The University of Alabama hits the midway point of its 21-game homestand to open the season this weekend as Louisiana-Monroe arrives in Tuscaloosa for a three-game series. The Crimson Tide is trying to snap a four-game losing streak after starting the season 3-1.

The UA offense has struggled in the last week, scoring 10 combined runs in the last four games. The Warhawks could present the right opportunity for Alabama to find its swing; they’ve allowed 88 runs this season. That includes a 32-4 loss earlier this year to McNeese State.

Alabama’s offense is going to try and be aggressive and keep the pressure up on the ULM pitchers.

“Throw the first punch, just like a fight,” second baseman Cobie Vance said. “Throw the first punch and get on them early.”

The programs haven’t faced one another since 2014 but they aren’t entirely unfamiliar. First-year head coach Greg Goff was 4-0 against ULM while coaching the last two seasons at Louisana Tech. Alabama manager Garrett Walters, the older brother of Saturday starter Jake Walters, played catcher for the Warhawks from 2014-16.

“(Garrett Walters) said they were a scrappy team,” left handed pitcher Dylan Duarte said. “They don’t give up very easily. Here, it really doesn’t matter who you play. Every series is a tough series. You can’t take anybody for granted.”

The weekend is also an opportunity for Jake Walters and Friday night starter Nick Eicholtz to build on their first two starts this year. The starting rotation is still working on increasing its pitch count and rounding into top form.

Alabama will also look to continue to develop reliable bullpen arms. Redshirt freshman Davis Vainer has been the workhorse of the group early, appearing in five games so far. Others are getting some of their first chances this year. Alabama used eight different pitchers in its game on Tuesday against Jacksonville State.

“I’ve known Coach Peddie for a long time,” head coach Greg Goff said. “Played him the last couple of years at Louisiana Tech and that was always a good rivalry. I know they have some really good arms, they’ve beat some good people. It’s early in the year and everybody is trying to get those wins when they can. They’ll be out here ready to get us, I’ll tell you that.”


Reach Ben Jones at ben@tidesports.com or 205-722-0196.