TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama Crimson Tide (32-24, 14-15 SEC) enters the 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament as the seven seed and will play the 10th seeded Auburn Tigers (33-22, 13-17 SEC) in the first round on Tuesday, May 21. Alabama and Auburn will play the second game of the tournament, which will begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Mississippi versus Kentucky game, which starts at 9:30 a.m. CST. Tuesday’s game will be televised on Fox Sports, with Dave Neal and Larry Conley calling the action.
All Alabama baseball games throughout the 2013 season will be broadcast by the Crimson Tide Sports Network (CTSN). Every game of the SEC tournament will be broadcast on 95.3 The Bear in Tuscaloosa, with Chris Stewart and Lee Tracey calling the action. Livestats will be available on www.SECSports.com and a live webcast for the all games of the SEC Baseball Tournament will be available on ESPN3.com. All games are subject to blackouts.
The Crimson Tide is coming off a road SEC series loss at No. 1 Vanderbilt. Alabama dropped games one and three to the Commodores, 7-6 and 14-10, respectively. The Tide defeated the Dores 5-4 in 10 innings in game two of the series. Auburn earned the 10-seed in the tournament after posting a SEC series win at home over 11th-ranked Arkansas this past weekend. The Tigers won the first game 3-0, lost game two 1-0, then closed the series with an 11-6 win on Saturday.
Tuesday’s game between Alabama and Auburn will mark the fifth meeting this season. The winner of Tuesday game will move on to face second-seeded LSU on Wednesday morning. The Tide is 2-2 against the Tigers. After dropping the Capital City Classic, 6-3 on March 5, Alabama took two of three games in Auburn to win the SEC series in late March. Alabama is slated to start sophomore left-handed pitcher Justin Kamplain (1-0, 4.53 ERA), while the Tigers will counter with junior left-handed pitcher Conner Kendrick (5-3, 2.03 ERA).
Entering the 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament, Ben Moore leads the Crimson Tide with a .290 batting average, 38 RBI and a .438 slugging percentage this season. Moore is also tied for the team lead with 12 doubles, he leads the team with four triples and is fourth on the squad with four home runs. Mikey White led the team with a .350 batting average during SEC play and finished the regular season with a .284 average, equaling Kyle Overstreet for the second best average on the team. Brett Booth and Austen Smith are tied for the team lead with six home runs and Kenny Roberts, who had a grand slam on Thursday night at Vanderbilt, has five home runs and is tied with Booth with 43 runs scored.
Justin Kamplain will make his 20th appearance and sixth start of the season on Tuesday. Kamplain enters the game with a 1-0 record and a 4.53 ERA. Kamplain started the year in the Alabama bullpen and collected a couple of saves earlier in the year. Kamplain is second on the team with 48 strikeouts in 51.2 innings pitched and is second on the team with 0.92 strikeouts per inning pitched.
Auburn enters the SEC Baseball Tournament as the No. 10 seed after posting a 13-17 record during conference play. The Tigers finished the regular season with a 33-22 overall record after winning eight of their last 11 games to close out the season. The Tigers won their last three SEC series by defeating No. 18 Mississippi, Florida and No. 11 Arkansas in two out of three games. Auburn is hitting .275 as a team, while averaging 4.9 runs and 9.1 hits per game. The Tigers’ pitching staff posted a .3.36 ERA during the regular season, while holding opponents to a .250 average in 55 games.
Auburn’s leading hitter during the regular season and SEC play was first baseman Garrett Cooper. Cooper hit .355 for the year, while hitting .352 in SEC games. Cooper tied for the team lead with seven home runs and 37 RBI, was tied for second with 12 doubles and posted a team-best .543 slugging percentage. Cullen Wacker finished the year with a .318 average to go along with two home runs and 34 RBI and Jordan Ebert hit .305 with four home runs and 21 runs batted it.
The Tigers will start lefty Conner Kendrick on Tuesday, to make his third appearance of the season against the Tide. Kendrick led the Tigers with a 2.03 ERA, posted a 5-3 record in 18 appearance and eight starts during the regular season. Kendrick was the winning pitcher in Auburn’s 6-3 win over the Tide in the Capital City Classic, but took the loss as the starter, when Alabama defeated the Tigers 6-2 in the SEC series opener on March 28.
When Alabama and Auburn meet on Tuesday, it will mark the 272 meeting all-time between the two schools. After winning two of three SEC games over the Tigers earlier this season, Alabama is 148-123 all-time versus the Tigers. The match-up in the SEC Tournament will be the ninth between the two schools, with the Tide holding a 5-3 record against the Tigers in the post-season event. In the most recent SEC Tournament match-up, Alabama posted a 7-1 victory in the opening game of the 2010 tournament.
Since the inception of the SEC Baseball Tournament in 1977, Alabama has advanced to the conference tournament 25 times. With the seven seed in this year’s tournament, Alabama has been in the tournament field in eight of the last nine years. The Crimson Tide has a 43-36 (.544) record in the tournament. UA is second among the 14 SEC schools with seven tournament titles (1983, 95, 96, 97, 99, 2002, and 03). From 1950-76, Alabama appeared in seven SEC Playoff series, posting a 9-10 record with three championships (1950, 55, and 68).
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