HOOVER, Ala. To start off the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament Wednesday, the No. 2 seed Arkansas (36-18, 15-15 SEC) will play Alabama (32-24, 14-16 SEC), the No. seed. First pitch will occur at 9:30 CT and the game will be broadcast on CSS.
Alabama won the season series, 2-1, in early April where all three games were decided by two runs or less. But the Crimson Tide are limping into the postseason, having lost four of their last six games and falling from the No. 2 Seed in the tournament to the No. 7 seed on the final day of the regular season.
Alabama plans to stay on schedule with its rotation and use senior Nathan Kilcrease on the mound. The right-handed Kilcrease was 6-4 with a 3.35 ERA this season and is coming off one of his best performances of the season in his last start, a complete-game, five hit masterpiece against South Carolina on May 19.
Arkansas will send sophomore Randall Fant to the mound. Fant was 3-3 with a 3.24 ERA this season and won his last start on Saturday against Ole Miss with a three-hit, 6 13 inning scoreless gem. The Razorbacks were undecided on who to pitch in Game 1, Fant or Brandon Moore, but head coach Dave Van Horn pushed for experience rather than the freshest pitcher.
Randall is ready to go, said Van Horn. We want to win this SEC Tournament, well go with the most experienced guy.
Dont count Arkansas out if the team is trailing late in the game. The Razorbacks have compiled 21 come-from-behind victories this season, 13 after trailing past the sixth inning.
In SEC Tournament history, Arkansas has only played a No. 7 seed once, winning that contest.
At SEC Tournament games in Hoover, Ala., Arkansas is 15-19.
Against Alabama in SEC Tournament history, Arkansas has a 2-4 record.
The current Arkansas team has nine players on it with SEC Tournament experience. None of them have hit a home run in the tournament.
Arkansas played a series against every team in the SEC Tournament earlier this season. The Razorbacks beat Mississippi State and Florida, 2-1, and lost to South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Alabama and Auburn, 2-1.
Alabama is making its seventh-straight SEC Tournament appearance and has made it to the field 24 times since 1977.
The Crimson Tide has a career 42-34 tournament record, and has won the SEC Tournament seven times, which is second best in the conference.
Nathan Kilcreases win on May 19 was his first since April 14 at Tennessee. There was a span of four starts in between his latest two wins.
Alabama has played every team in the SEC Tournament at least once this season. The Crimson Tide lost series to South Carolina, Florida, Vanderbilt and Auburn, won series over Arkansas and Mississippi State, and played Georgia just once, losing 6-3.