Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Rested Tide looks to rebound against Bulldogs

Fresh off of being swept last weekend by the LSU Tigers, the Alabama baseball team will head into what the team is referring to as a “make or break” part of the season as they begin a weekend series against Mississippi State.

“This is a part of the season where we have to start playing well,” head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “If it is going to happen for this group, it is going to happen right now.”

Due to no weekday games, the Tide had the whole week to rest and prepare for the upcoming series.

“It has been nice to practice and not have a game so we can work on some stuff,” Ross Wilson said. “Hopefully, that will pay dividends this weekend.”

Both Alabama and Mississippi State, each 5-10 in the SEC and in last place in the SEC West, are in need of a win if they want to keep their SEC tournament hopes alive.

“Both of us are in the same boat right now, desperately needing some wins and some momentum and also to gain confidence as you move on to the last 12 games in the league,” Gaspard said.

A sore spot for the Tide has been their inability to get hits in clutch situations.

“You’ve got to get timely hits, and that’s kind of been our Achilles heel once we started SEC play,” Gaspard said. “We have left just entirely too many guys on base in critical situations where we haven’t been able to get the big hit.”

Preseason All-American Ross Wilson is one batter who Gaspard has said the team will count on to turn things around in order for the team to be successful. The pressure, however, is something that Wilson said does not bother him.

“That’s kind of the way I see it,” Wilson said. “Your better players need to produce and that starts with me especially. I’m about to get it going, and hopefully it starts this weekend.”

The Tide has struggled to pitch with consistency this season. In an attempt to get things back on track, Gaspard has changed the pitching rotation for the weekend. The Tide will now go with Jimmy Nelson on Friday, Adam Morgan on Saturday and freshman Tucker Hawley on Sunday.

“Nelson right now has pitched really well,” Gaspard said. “He’s coming off an extremely good outing against LSU on Sunday so we want to try to put the ball right back in his hands Friday.”

By adding Hawley to the weekend rotation, Gaspard said he hopes to find a pitcher who can hit the strike zone with consistency.

“What he does is throw strikes,” Gaspard said. “If you look at his numbers, he doesn’t walk guys. We feel like he gives us the best opportunity to get us to the middle part of the game.”

Alabama will need to have a strong pitching performance as they face a Mississippi State team that has scored 74 runs in their last five games.

“Offense is the strength of their team, so we are going to have to pitch very well,” Gaspard said.

Alabama looks to turn things around as they kick off the start of a five-game homestand tonight at 6:35 p.m.

“This weekend series is definitely make or break for us,” Wilson said. “I feel like we are going to have a good weekend, and hopefully things will start to roll for us after that.”

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