No. 25 Alabama Baseball Opens the 2021 Season with McNeese State

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama baseball opens its 2021 season this weekend at Sewell-Thomas Stadium as the 25th-ranked Crimson Tide hosts McNeese State from Friday through Sunday. Opening Day is set for a 3 p.m. CT start followed by a 2 p.m. first pitch on Saturday. Things wrap up on Sunday at 1 p.m. All three games during Opening Weekend will air live on SEC Network+.

Follow the Tide

Fans can follow this weekend’s game via the below outlets:

Watch: SEC Network+

Listen: 100.9 FM / CTSN / TuneIn App

Twitter: @AlabamaBSB

Live Stats:

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

FRIDAYUA – Connor Prielipp (So., LHP) vs. MSU – Will Dion (R-So., LHP)

SATURDAY: UA – Antoine Jean (So., LHP) vs. MSU – Ty Abraham (R-Fr., RHP)

SUNDAY: UA – Dylan Smith (Jr., RHP) vs. MSU – TBA

Leading Off

  • Alabama and McNeese State will meet for the eighth time in history when the two teams square off for the 2021 season opener onFridaynight at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide holds the all-time series advantage, 6-1, including a perfect 6-0 mark in Tuscaloosa.
  • The Tide and Cowboys last met from March 2-4, 2007 for a three-game weekend set in Tuscaloosa. Alabama came out on top night one, 6-4, before claiming a series victory onSaturdaywith a 9-1 win. UA secured the sweep with a 4-3 win on getaway day. The three victories extended Alabama’s winning streak to six straight games.
  • Alabama opens with Connor Prielipp on the hill for a second consecutive season as the sophomore gets the nod on Friday. Following Prielipp is fellow left-hander Antoine Jean, who is set to start on Saturday. Things wrap up onSundaywith junior right-hander Dylan Smith on the hill for the Crimson Tide.
  • McNeese State calls on left-hander Will Dion in the season opener. The Cowboys will then look to right-hander Ty Abraham on Saturday with Sunday’s starter still to be announced.

About Alabama

  • Alabama enters the 2021 campaign with high expectations after a 16-1 start a season ago. The 2020 campaign was cut short just before conference play as the season was put on hold and eventually canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. All spring sports were put on-hold on Thursday, March 12, one day prior to the start of SEC action.
  • The Crimson Tide cracked the top-25 rankings and stayed there for the final three renditions of the polls. Alabama was featured in three separate polls during 2020, including polls by Collegiate Baseball News, the NCBWA and USA Today. The final set of polls, which were released on or before March 23, saw UA at No. 18 by CBN while ranking the Tide 21st in both the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches polls. UA was in line to begin SEC play as a ranked team for the first time since 2010.
  • Head coach Brad Bohannon led the Crimson Tide to a 14-game winning streak to start the season in 2020, the second-best win streak to start a new season in program history and the longest winning streak overall under Bohannon. The 14-game win streak was also the standalone fifth-longest winning streak in Crimson Tide history.
  • Alabama’s offense posted consistent numbers in 2020. The Crimson Tide finished with a .308 average (182-590) and totaled 39 doubles, four triples and 22 home runs, resulting in a .500 team slugging percentage and 295 total bases.
  • The offense recorded at least one home run in 13 of 17 games with multiple homers in five of those contests. Alabama’s offense produced double-digit hit totals in 12 games, including 10 of 13 home matchups. Those big offensive numbers led to 148 runs, a total that was fifth in the conference and 10th nationally.
  • On the mound, UA maintained a 2.24 ERA (39 ER/157.0 IP) and tossed three shutouts. The UA pitchers struck out 185 compared to just 49 walks and held opposing hitters to a .221 average. The Tide’s strong pitching effort placed Alabama in the top half of nearly every pitching metric in the league, including a No. 3 ranking in ERA.
  • The defense sported a .985 fielding mark through 17 games to lead the SEC and rank ninth in the nation.
  • Alabama had two All-America selections by Collegiate Baseball News in freshmanConnor Prielippand senior Brett Auerbach. Prielipp was named a first-teamer at pitcher while Auerbach was a second-team honoree at catcher. The duo were the Crimson Tide’s first All-America selections since Thomas Burrows was named a third-teamer by the NCBWA in 2016. In addition, Prielipp became the 16th first team All-American in program history and the first Alabama freshman to every earn the distinction.
  • Prielipp was rewarded with more accolades a week later when he joinedOwen Diodatiand Antoine Jean as Freshman All-Americans by CBN. The selections marked the first time Alabama has had three players in the same year named to a Freshman All-America team. The previous high was two, which came in both 1999 and 2013. The group was also the first Freshman All-America selections for the Crimson Tide since Burrows in 2014.
  • CBN also named Prielipp one of its four Freshman Player of the Year honorees. Prielipp joined Wade LeBlanc (2004) as the only two players in UA history to earn the distinct honor.
  • Tyler Gentry was the fourth pick of the third round (76th overall) in the 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft, going to the Kansas City Royals. He became the second-highest drafted Crimson Tide outfielder in program history.
  • In addition to Gentry, Brett Auerbach (San Francisco Giants) and Casey Cobb (Boston Red Sox) each signed professional contracts with an MLB club following the 2020 campaign.
  • Alabama returns 20 letterwinners while losing 12 from the 2020 squad. The 2021 Crimson Tide welcomes back six positional starters and 10 total pitchers while hosting 14 redshirts or newcomers.

About McNeese State

  • Justin Hill begins his eighth season as a collegiate head coach, all of which have come at McNeese State. Hill, who was named the 2017 Southland Coach of the Year, owns 200-164 career record at MSU. He is assisted by associate head coach Nick Zaleski and assistant coach Jim Ricklefsen along with volunteer assistant Cass Hargis.
  • McNeese State finished 10-7 overall during the pandemic-shortened season in 2020. The Cowboys were one year removed from winning the Southland Conference Tournament and earning a spot in theNCAA Nashville Regional as the No. 3 seed.
  • The Cowboys were selected to finish second overall in the Southland Conference in the league’s preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.

On Deck

Alabama will take to the road for the first time in 2021 when it heads to Jacksonville State on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The Crimson Tide and Gamecocks are set for a 4 p.m. start at Rudy Abbott Field.