For the first time since 2010, the Alabama Crimson Tide Baseball team has advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round after an impressive showing in the Tuscaloosa Regional last weekend as they join five other SEC teams in a quest to make the College World Series with just 16 total teams remaining.
Alabama advanced to the NCAA Super Regional by sweeping the Tuscaloosa Regional with a 3-0 record defeating Nicholls 4-3, Troy 11-8 and Boston College 8-0. As the No. 16 seed, Alabama now advances to take on the top seeded Wake Forest Demon Deacons who also swept their Winston-Salem Regional defeating George Mason 12-0, Maryland 21-6 and George Mason for a second time 15-1.
Differing from the NCAA Regional round which consists of four teams in a double elimination bracket, the Super Regionals consists of just two teams who will play in a best-of-three format to see who advances to Omaha for the College World Series.
Alabama and Wake Forest will get game one of the Super Regional going on Saturday, June 10 at 11 a.m. CT in Winston-Salem, N.C. with the game being televised on ESPN. A time and network for game two on Sunday, June 11 is to be determined. If necessary, game three would be played on Monday, June 12.
The Crimson Tide will have a tough challenge on its hands traveling to face the top team in the country but getting off to a fast start could be the key if the Tide want to pull the upset this weekend. If they plan to do that, Alabama will need to get by the Demon Deacons stellar pitching staff led by back-to-back ACC Pitcher of the Year Rhett Lowder who has a 14-0 record on the season, First-Team All-ACC and Golden Spikes Award Semifinalist Josh Hartle and First-Team All-ACC lefty Sean Sullivan.
Just how good has Wake Forest’s pitching staff been this season? Well, the Demon Deacons staff leads the nation in hits-per-nine innings, strikeouts, strikeouts-per-nine innings, WHIP, strikeout-to-walk ratio, shutouts and ERA. This is largely why Wake Forest is the top ranked team in the country with a 50-10 overall record.
Alabama will need a strong weekend at the plate with guys like Tommy Seidl continuing to have solid at-bats. Seidl is currently riding a 13-game hitting streak where he is batting .392 and has collected five doubles, two home runs, 15 RBIs and 15 runs over the span. Seidl also leads the Crimson Tide with a .358 batting average on the season.
In addition to Seidl, Alabama will rely on outfielder Andrew Pinckney who was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team for the Tuscaloosa Regional. He currently ranks second on the team with a batting average of .347 and he has reached base safely in his last 14 games.
Countering Wake Forest on the mound, Alabama will turn to Luke Holman, Jacob McNairy and Garrett McMillan who will try to quiet the Demon Deacons bats who scored the second-highest total in the opening round in NCAA Tournament History with 48 runs scored over the course of last weekend’s regional. Additionally, Wake Forest leads the ACC in walks, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and scoring.
Holman leads Alabama with a 3.46 ERA and second in strikeouts with 79 on the season. McNairy carries a 7-2 record into the Super Regional and leads the Crimson Tide with 83 strikeouts in 78.1 innings pitched.
For Wake Forest, this is the first time in program history to host a Super Regional and just the third Super Regional Appearance in program history. David F. Couch Ballpark saw record-breaking crowds last weekend at the Regional and the same is to be expected this weekend.
For Alabama, a Super Regional upset win over Wake Forest would send the Crimson Tide to Omaha for the College World Series for the first time since 1999. Wake Forest has been to the College World Series just twice in program history in 1949 and the last appearance coming back in 1955. The 1955 appearance is the Demon Deacons lone national championship in program history.