Bama hosting two tune-ups this weekBy Brett Hudson | 04/17/2012 11:03pm
Alabama will try to find answers for its shortcomings before it faces another brutal Southeastern Conference weekend in hosting Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday and Wednesday night, with first pitch set for 6:05 both nights.
Alabama, having just been swept by the No. 5 LSU Tigers last weekend, currently holds a trend of letting the result of the midweek game transfer to the weekend series.
On March 20, Alabama lost to Troy 9-0 on a midweek meeting, then went on to lose the following series to Ole Miss two games to one. The next midweek game was an Alabama win over South Alabama, resulting in a home sweep of the then-No. 23 Auburn Tigers. Last week, Alabama lost its midweek game 9-1 to UAB at home, and then was swept over the weekend by LSU.
The Crimson Tide has a good opportunity to get on the right side of the midweek decisions this week, as the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils have seen serious struggles this season. The Delta Devils will come into the two-game series with an 8-27 record, 7-10 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Delta Devils have also struggled on the road, entering Tuesday’s game with a 4-17 mark in games away from Itta Bena, Miss.
The best batter the Delta Devils will bring to Tuscaloosa is Joseph Germaine, batting .305 with a slugging percentage of .386 and nine doubles. If Germaine were playing for Alabama, this would put him fourth on the team in batting average. His slugging percentage ranking would drop from first to fourth, as well.
The Delta Devils have struggled at the mound as well, with their best starting pitcher compiling a 2-5 record in nine starts with a 5.08 ERA. The Mississippi Valley State pitching staff averages a 6.13 ERA and allows opponents to hit a combined .313 batting average.
Alabama hopes to enjoy an advantage in starting pitching, as Case Nixon will likely start one of the two games. Nixon has a lower ERA than all pitchers on the Delta Devils pitching staff, a 3.97, and has held opponents to eight extra-base hits. No pitcher for Mississippi Valley State has allowed fewer than 10 extra-base hits.