Alabama Baseball set to play in the Ruston Regional
After winning games against South Carolina and Tennessee in the SEC Tournament before being eliminated, Alabama baseball has earned their spot in the postseason for the first time since 2014. It is their 25th appearance in a regional all-time.
They have been placed as the No. 3 seed in the Ruston Regional with Louisiana Tech, NC State, and Rider joining them. Alabama will play No. 2 seed NC State on Friday, June 4th at 1 p.m. CT.
Alabama (31-24, 12-17 SEC) was on the bubble, with some sources projecting them to get in and some having them on the outside looking in. Although they only went 2-7 in SEC series, they had a meaningful 16-1 victory over Arkansas to start SEC play that displayed their potential and talent.
This is head coach Brad Bohannon's first time taking the Crimson Tide into the postseason, and there is no doubt that he and the players are fired up for this opportunity.
"I'm really glad we're not doing a season recap but talking about the upcoming weekend," Bohannon said.
Every regional is a double elimination tournament, and only one team will advance to the super regionals.
Friday's opponent, the NC State Wolfpack (30-17, 19-14 ACC), advanced all the way to the Championship in the ACC Tournament. The Wolfpack give up a lot of runs with a 4.99 average ERA. This is good news for a Bama because of the pop that is present at the top of the lineup. However, their offense is highly productive with four players batting over the .300 mark.
Run support for the Crimson Tide was the issue in the SEC Tournament. Alabama jumped on South Carolina to win 9-3 in their first game, and then won in extra innings 3-2 with some controversy against Tennessee the following day. Against Florida, Dylan Smith pitched seven innings and allowed four runs. Alabama did not put any runs on the board until the ninth and lost 7-2. In their final game, Alabama got ambushed by Tennessee early on and could not fight back losing 11-0.
NC State is definitely a winnable matchup for Alabama if they, as Bohannon loves to say, "Just keeps playing."
Louisiana Tech (40-18) is in Conference USA, and they have notable wins this season over Arkansas and Ole Miss. The Bulldogs score runs in bunches, and they feature four hitters with more than 50 RBIs. Rider won the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament, so they will be a tough opponent as well.
"The SEC is the best baseball league in any way that you can measure it," Bohannon said. "We're not going to go down there and see anything we haven't seen."
Alabama has the advantage of having played in the SEC all year, so they have seen elite baseball teams every week. If the Crimson Tide stays level headed and gives run support for their pitchers, they will be able to make noise in the Ruston Regional.
Bohannon expressed his appreciation for the fanbase that has stuck around and waiting for the progression of this program, and now it is time to take another step.