TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Another top-25 opponent is set to travel to Tuscaloosa this weekend as Alabama baseball hosts sixth-ranked Tennessee for a three-game series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide and Volunteers are set for a 6 p.m. CT first pitch on both Friday and Saturday with things wrapping up at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. The series opener will air on SEC Network+ with the final two matchups receiving national attention on SEC Network.
Follow the Tide
Fans can follow this weekend’s series via the below outlets:
Watch: SEC Network+ (Friday) | SEC Network (Saturday and Sunday)
Listen: 100.9 FM / CTSN / TuneIn App
Live Stats: StatBroadcast.com
Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
FRIDAY: UA – Tyler Ras (Jr., RHP) vs. UT – Chad Dallas (Jr., RHP)
SATURDAY: UA – Dylan Smith (Jr., RHP) vs. UT – Will Heflin (Sr., LHP)
SUNDAY: UA – TBA vs. UT – Blade Tidwell (Fr., RHP)
- Alabama and Tennessee will meet for the 115th time in series history when the two teams open the Easter weekend series on Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide holds the all-time advantage, 75-39, including a 45-16 mark in Tuscaloosa.
- The two teams last met from March 23-25, 2018, in Knoxville with the Vols sweeping the Crimson Tide. UT came away with a 5-4 win on Friday night before a break on Saturday due to weather. Tennessee then swept a pair of seven-inning games as part of a doubleheader on Sunday, first by a score of 2-1 followed by a 3-0 win.
- Alabama picked up a 2-1 series win over UT last time the two teams met in Tuscaloosa from March 25-26, 2016. The Crimson Tide came out on top, 7-3, in the opener before winning game one of a doubleheader the next day by a score of 11-3 to clinch the series. The Vols avoided the sweep with a 6-3 win in game two of the twinbill.
- Alabama will begin the series with a pair of right-handers in juniors Tyler Ras and Dylan Smith. Ras opens the weekend as the Friday starter for UA with Smith set to follow on Saturday. The Crimson Tide’s Sunday starter has yet to be announced.
- Tennessee looks to junior righty Chad Dallas in the series opener with senior southpaw Will Heflin getting the nod on Saturday. The Vols send freshman right-hander Blade Tidwell to the mound on Sunday for the start on getaway day.
- Alabama wrapped up last week at 0-4 after suffering four tough losses. The Crimson Tide first fell in the midweek, 5-4, against Southern Miss and the nation’s top pitching staff on Tuesday. Alabama then battled with No. 3 Ole Miss, coming down to the wire in both ends of a doubleheader on Friday before falling in the series finale on Saturday.
- UA was led at the plate by second baseman Peyton Wilson. The Tide leadoff man finished his week batting .579 (11-19) and paced UA in nearly every offensive statistic.
- Wilson recorded four straight multi-hit outings, finishing with 11 total hits in four games. Of those 11 hits, five went for extra bases including two doubles, a triple and a pair of home runs. He added four RBI, four runs scored and three stolen bases in as many chances. The stolen bases all came across the three-game series with Ole Miss, as Wilson took second twice and third base once against preseason All-SEC catcher Hayden Dunhurst.
- On the mound, Alabama’s starters posted solid efforts to keep the Tide within striking distance. The foursome of William Freeman, Tyler Ras, Dylan Smith and Connor Shamblin combined for a 3.09 ERA (8 ER/23.1 IP) and 15 strikeouts while limiting the opposition to a lowly .209 average.
- Ras and Smith paired for 13.0 innings of work in Friday’s doubleheader, allowing just two earned runs to post a 1.38 ERA. The duo struck out nine and held Ole Miss to only nine total hits.
- Alabama and Southern Miss traded the lead numerous times on Tuesday night with the game finishing 5-4 in favor of the Golden Eagles.
- UA built a two-run lead with one in the second and one in the fifth. Southern Miss countered with a three-spot in the top of the sixth before UA came back to post a pair of runs on a Will Patota RBI-double in the home half for a 4-3 advantage. The Golden Eagles would not trail for long, as USM posted two in the seventh to retake the lead, 5-4, for what would be the eventual final.
- Freeman was solid in his start for the Crimson Tide. The redshirt senior tossed a season-high 5.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits with a pair of strikeouts.
- The Tide put together a late comeback but could not overcome an eight-run ninth, as Alabama fell, 9-6, to Ole Miss in game one of Friday’s doubleheader.
- Ole Miss homered to take a 1-0 lead after two innings but would not hold the advantage long. The Crimson Tide answered back with two solo homers – one from Owen Diodati and one from Sam Praytor – in the bottom of the third to take the lead and then added one more run on a solo homer from Drew Williamson in the sixth.
- The Rebels would trail from the third inning until the ninth when Ole Miss posted eight runs to take the lead for good. Alabama fought for three in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a three-run homer from Wilson but would get no closer with the game finishing at 9-6.
- Ras was solid once again. The Crimson Tide starter contributed 6.0 innings of one-run baseball, allowing five hits and issuing four walks while striking out one Rebel hitter.
- Pitching dominated game two of the day as the Crimson Tide fell, 2-0, to the Rebels.
- Smith was handed the loss despite another excellent start. The right-hander kept UA in the game thanks to 7.0 innings of one-run baseball, allowing just four hits and no walks while striking out eight batters.
- Alabama fell to Ole Miss, 11-6, in the series finale on Saturday. The Tide got out front first with one run in the second but would not hold a lead the rest of the afternoon. Ole Miss posted four runs in the fifth and added seven across the final four frames to secure the win. The Crimson Tide battled for two in the fifth, a pair in the eighth and one in the ninth but was unable to match the Rebels.
- The Tide was led at the plate by Wilson once again on Saturday, with the sophomore homering as part of his 4-for-5 day. He added an RBI, one stolen base and a team-high two runs scored from his leadoff spot. T.J. Reeves also homered in the game, finishing 1-for-4 with a run and a team-leading two RBI.
- Shamblin suffered his first loss of the season, tossing 5.0 frames and allowing four runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
- The Volunteers finished the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign at 15-2 overall. Tennessee was set to travel to Columbia to square off with South Carolina to open SEC action before the season was officially canceled.
- Tony Vitello is in his fourth season at Tennessee. Vitello entered 2021 with a career record of 84-50, all coming while in Knoxville. A 2002 graduate of Missouri, Vitello is joined by assistant coaches Frank Anderson, Josh Elander and Ross Kivett along with student assistant coach Richard Jackson.
- The Volunteers were selected to finish third in the East and seventh overall in the SEC in the league’s preseason poll, as voted on by the conference’s head coaches.
Alabama returns to non-conference play at The Joe with a pair of midweek games against ULM on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Tuesday, April 6, game is set for a 6 p.m. start followed by a 3 p.m. first pitch on Wednesday afternoon. Both matchups of the series can be seen on SEC Network+.