Alabama Baseball Not Fazed by Super Regional Challenge
By Will Miller,2023-06-06
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Once again, it's game week for the Alabama baseball team.
This time, though, game week carries a good chunk of extra significance.
The Crimson Tide used a 3-0 showing at the Tuscaloosa Regional to advance to its first Super Regional since 2010. It is two wins away from Omaha, but the top overall seed in the tournament stands in Alabama's way.
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons also swept the regional round, scoring 48 runs in three games and winning them all by double digits. The Deacs are now members of the 50-win club, drawing additional attention for the lopsided nature of the regional games.
Alabama interim head coach Jason Jackson said Wake's stats jump off the page on both sides of the ball. The Crimson Tide, familiar with facing the sport's best on an almost weekly basis, isn't shying away from the task.
"It's going to be a really good weekend of baseball," Jackson said. "You've got two really deep pitching staffs going at it, two really good offenses. You look at their numbers, and they all jump off the page at you, and you look at our numbers — our numbers are pretty dang good, too. I love my guys. I ain't trading them for anybody, I can tell you that."
RHP Garrett McMillan said playing the top team sets up Alabama to have a good run in the College World Series if the Crimson Tide advances.
"It's a big opportunity to go to the College World Series at any point," McMillan said. "To be playing the number one team, it sets you up when you get there to make a good run at it as well."
He added that Alabama has played teams the caliber of number one multiple times this season alone, just by virtue of competing in the SEC.
"It's not going to be anything we haven't done before," he said. "It's gonna be something we're ready for, and something that we're excited for. I think we'll go out there and play our best game."
Right fielder Andrew Pinckney, who earned all-tournament honors at the Tuscaloosa Regional, emphasized fundamentals and playing good baseball in the face of the challenge.
"The game's still 27 outs," Pinckney said. "They still have to get us out 27 times, and the team that plays the best is going to make it to Omaha. That's kind of how I'm looking at it."
Jackson said that being in the SEC makes teams comfortable being in battles, because series in league play are going to be competitive Friday through Sunday.
"You feel like you're playing a super regional every single weekend," Jackson said. "You're not tight. You're like, 'Of course it's 3-3 in the sixth [inning], this is what it always is.' You wait for somebody to get that big hit, or make that big pitch, and that can put you on top. Going through the league helps with that stuff."
The first game of the Winston-Salem Super Regional has an early start. The Crimson Tide will take on the Demon Deacons at 11 a.m. CT this Saturday, followed by a second game on Sunday. A rubber match will go down on Monday, June 12 if neither team has won the series by then, and the first club to take two earns a big trip Midwest.