The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs will meet for the 417th time in series history on Friday night

4/11/2019

TUSCALOOSA, AL
Alabama baseball continues its current road trip with a three-game series at fifth-ranked Mississippi State this weekend. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs are scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start to kick off the weekend on Friday before a 3 p.m. first pitch in the Saturday and Sunday pairings. Games one and two of the weekend will air on SEC Network+ with the series finale being broadcast nationally on SEC Network.

FOLLOW THE TIDE

Fans can follow this weekend's games via the below outlets:


Watch: SEC Network+ (Friday | Saturday) / SEC Network (Sunday)
Listen: 102.9 FM / CTSN / TuneIn App
Twitter: @AlabamaBSB
Live Stats: HailState.com

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS

FRIDAY: UA Sam Finnerty (Sr., RHP) vs. MSU Ethan Small (R-Jr., LHP)
SATURDAY: UA Brock Love (R-Jr., RHP) vs. MSU Peyton Plumlee (Sr., RHP)
SUNDAY: UA TBA vs. MSU TBA

LEADING OFF

Alabama and Mississippi State will meet for the 417th time in series history when the two teams square off for the series opener on Friday night at Dudy Noble Field. The Crimson Tide holds the all-time advantage, 214-198-4, in a series that dates back to 1896, but the Bulldogs lead the way in Starkville, 111-80-2. The series between the two schools is the third-oldest SEC pairing in Alabama history, trailing only Vanderbilt (1893) and Ole Miss (1895).
The two Western Division foes last met for three games from May 4-6, 2018, in Tuscaloosa. The Tide won the middle game of the series to register win No. 6 of the SEC slate, surpassing the 2017 win total of five games in conference play. State clinched the series on getaway day with a 6-4 win in the finale. The Bulldogs used five runs across the fifth and sixth innings to claim the series victory with a Sunday win.
Alabama calls on its regular weekend duo of right-handers Sam Finnerty and Brock Love to start the series. Finnerty, a senior, will toe the rubber on Friday night followed by Love, a redshirt junior, in Saturday's midday matchup. The Crimson Tide's Sunday starter is still to be announced.
Mississippi State will send redshirt junior left-hander Ethan Small to the mound in the series opener. Peyton Plumlee, a senior righty, will take the hill on Saturday with the Sunday starter for the Bulldogs still to be announced.

ABOUT ALABAMA

Alabama enters this weekend having won three of the last four, including an SEC series win over South Carolina across Friday and Saturday. The Crimson Tide swept a Friday doubleheader against the Gamecocks to secure the series victory, the Tide's first against SC in Tuscaloosa since 2007. UA battled on Saturday for the series sweep but fell in a 12-inning affair. Most recently, the Tide took down Samford on a record-setting night in Birmingham by the score of 21-2.
The Crimson Tide earned a series win over South Carolina thanks to a pair of victories in Friday's doubleheader at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide first blanked the Gamecocks, 9-0, to start the day before a 4-1 victory in game two of the twinbill to clinch the series.
Sam Finnerty spun a complete game shutout in game one of Friday's doubleheader. Finnerty tossed a career-long 9.0 innings, allowing four hits and no walks while striking out five. The senior used only 79 pitches on the way to the Crimson Tide's first complete game shutout since May 18, 2018. Finnerty's start was highlighted by a stretch in the middle of the game that saw him retire 16 straight Gamecock hitters. His efforts earned him SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week honors on Monday.
The bats also came alive in game one with four players recording multi-hit performances, led by junior Tyler Gentry's 2-for-4 day that included a grand slam, a team-high four RBI and two runs scored. Fellow juniors Morgan McCullough and Brett Auerbach also contributed a pair of hits in addition to two RBI apiece, with McCullough adding two runs scored.
The Crimson Tide came away with a 4-1 win in game two of the doubleheader thanks to another impressive performance on the mound. Redshirt junior Brock Love provided Alabama with a career-long 6.0 innings of work on the way to the win. Love allowed one run on three hits and a pair of walks while punching out eight across his 93 pitches of work.
Jeremy Randolph then took over, tossing the final 3.0 frames for his fifth save in as many chances. The graduate closer issued just two walks and struck out four to help the Tide secure the doubleheader sweep.
Alabama's offense was powered in game two by the heart of the order with the 3-4-5 hitters combining to go 8-15 with two RBI and three runs scored. McCullough, who hit in the three spot, finished with a team-high tying three hits and led the Tide with two runs scored. Matching him on hits was Drew Williamson. The freshman tallied three hits, including a double, and added a team-leading two RBI to go with a run scored. Gentry, the four-hole hitter, recorded two hits to go with a run scored.
An extra-innings affair between Alabama and South Carolina favored the Gamecocks, 5-4, as SC earned the Saturday victory in 12. The Crimson Tide was tasked with overcoming an early 4-0 deficit but was able to do so, scoring two in the third and two in the fifth to make it a 4-4 game after five innings.
The Tide bullpen provided a commendable effort in the series finale, keeping SC off the board from the third inning until the 12th. Alabama's relievers did not allow a hit from the fifth inning on, but a walk and two wild pitches in the final inning of play led South Carolina to the win.
A season-high 19 hits, including nine home runs, powered UA to a 21-2 win over Samford on Tuesday. The Tide totaled 13 extra-base hits, made up of the nine homers to go with three doubles and a triple, on the way to a season-best 21 runs.
Everyone got in on the offensive show in Birmingham with 11 total players recording at least one hit against the Bulldogs. Seven of those players contributed to the Crimson Tide's nine home runs, the most in a single game since UA's 13 against UAB on April 14, 1999.
Freshman T.J. Reeves and Gentry each homered twice. Joining them with roundtrippers were juniors Auerbach, McCullough and Johnny Hawk along with freshmen Tyler Ras and Williamson who each registered one apiece.
Williamson led the Tide in hits with a perfect 3-for-3 night that saw him fall a double short of the cycle. He added a team-high tying three runs scored to go with his two RBI and walk. Matching Williamson with three runs was Gentry. The duo of Reeves and Auerbach tied for the team-lead in RBI with four to cap off the huge scoring night.
The Tide scored one in the first before opening the flood gates in the third inning. A record-setting third saw UA score 13 runs on 11 hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch. The 11 hits set a new record an inning, highlighted by the Tide's program-record five home runs in the frame to go with three doubles and a triple.

ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE

Chris Lemonis is in his first season with the Bulldogs in 2019 and came to Starkville with a career record of 141-91-2 across his four years as the head coach at Indiana. Lemonis is joined by assistant coaches Scott Foxhall and Jake Gautreau along with volunteer assistant coach Kyle Cheesebrough.
Mississippi State returns 18 letterwinners, including eight positional starters and five pitchers, from the 2018 team that finished 39-29 overall and 15-15 in SEC action to finish third West. The Bulldogs went on a storybook run last season, advancing all the way to the College World Series before falling to Oregon State. The 2019 roster is without 11 lettermen from a season ago, a number that includes two positional starters and seven pitchers. The 2019 State squad features 17 newcomers, a group that is made up of 11 freshmen and six transfers.
The Bulldogs were selected to finish sixth in the West and 10th overall in the SEC in the league's preseason poll, as voted on by the conference's head coaches.

ON DECK

The Crimson Tide's current five-game roadtrip will come to an end on Tuesday when Alabama heads to Birmingham to take on UAB at Regions Field. The Tide and Blazers are scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch in the midweek matchup.


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RTR,

Diamond Tide