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Series Preview: The Crimson Tide Rolls Into Knoxville

Tennessee is looking to bounce back from its first loss in 24 tries when No. 24 Alabama comes to Lindsey Nelson Stadium for a three-game series.

The Crimson Tide are coming off their first NCAA Tournament in seven years and look poised to make it back after a 22-12 (7-5 SEC) start to the season.

Let’s take a look at Alabama entering the weekend series.

How The Crimson Tide Got Here

Alabama was average in pre conference play, getting swept by then-No. 1 Texas in Austin as well as dropping midweek matchups against UT Martin, North Alabama and Southern Miss.

The Crimson Tide got off to a tough start to conference play, dropping two-out-of-three against Florida before blowing late leads in game one and two at Mississippi State.

However, from there Alabama has turned it around. They took the series finale in Starkville sparking a 6-1 stretch in conference play for the Crimson Tide entering the weekend series in Knoxville.

Entering the weekend 7-5, Alabama is in second place in the SEC west– two games back of Arkansas.

Pitching Matchups

Fifth year head coach Brad Bohannon has elevated the talent level in Tuscaloosa in his tenure and it shows on the mound this season.

“Really good pitching,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said. “Coach Bohannon has usually got a pretty good approach with how he is going to put together the roster. … It seems this team — you’ve got to kind of go by what you’ve got on the roster. They have a lot of talented bats, including a lot of left-handed hitters. The pitching has taken over and kind of become the core of what they’ve got going on. I don’t want to speak for them and I have looked at it a little bit. I think probably as they have solidified who is their Friday guy and who comes in in this role and this role and that role, that has probably helped them win some of those tight games.”

RHP Garrett McMillan has been a legitimate Friday night ace for Alabama this season. The junior has a 3-2 record, 2.79 ERA and an impressive 0.97 WHIP. Freshman Chase Burn (6-0, 1.51 ERA) will get the ball for Tennessee coming off his first poor collegiate performance last weekend.

Saturday starter Jacob McNairy (4-0, 5.73 ERA) is the only Alabama weekend starter to be in that role all season. The right-handed senior has started in five of his nine appearances this season. McNairy has struggled in SEC play, giving up 15 earned runs in 15.1 innings pitched.

RHP Chase Dollander (6-0, 3.00 ERA) will get the ball for Tennessee in game two.

LHP Grayson Hitt (3-0, 2.78 ERA) will get the ball for Alabama in the series final. Hitt has been the Crimson Tide’s best starter in SEC play, posting a 2-0 record and 3.80 ERA. Freshman Drew Beam will get the ball for Tennessee on Sunday. The Murfreesboro native has a 7-0 record and 1.14 ERA this season.

Antoine Jean (3.51 ERA in 25.2 IP), Hunter Fertado (5.64 ERA in 22.1 IP), Dylan Ray (4.66 ERA in 19.1 IP) and Hunter Hoopes (1.59 ERA in 17 IP) are the most used arms out of the Alabama bullpen.

Alabama Bats To Know

Alabama’s .291 batting average is the seventh best in the SEC and includes six players hitting over .280 and the Crimson Tide’s 36 home runs ranks 10th in the SEC.

Senior outfielder Tommy Seidl gets everything going for the Alabama offense hitting .331 with 11 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases. 

Jim Jarvis (.301 BA) and Andrew Pickney (.298) have the next two highest batting averages on the team, driving in 14 and 15 runs, respectively, on the season.

Brentwood, Tennessee native Zane Denton is Alabama’s leading power bat. The third baseman is hitting .292 with a team-high nine home runs and .936 OPS.

Senior Drew Williamson (nine doubles and five home runs) and junior outfielder Owen Diodati (six doubles and six home runs) bring the rest of the power in the Alabama offense.

Game Times/How To Watch

Friday — 6:30 p.m. ET first pitch can be streamed on SEC Network+.

Saturday — 7 p.m. ET first pitch can be streamed on SEC Network+.

Sunday — 1 p.m. ET first pitch can be streamed on SEC Network+.

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