Another day, another opportunity for No. 10-seed Alabama baseball to increase its resume for an NCAA Regional Application.
However, a game at the 2021 SEC Tournament against the No. 6-seed Florida Gators will not be an easy one.
After Wednesday's 11-inning, 3-2 upset of No. 2-seed Tennessee, the Crimson Tide has now crept its way back into the NCAA Regional conversation. With a win over Florida in the third round of the tournament, Alabama would increase its regional chances even further.
Both the Crimson Tide and the Gators are undefeated so far in this year's tournament, with Alabama winning in both the first and second rounds and the Gators mercy-ruling Mississippi State 13-1 in the second round after a bye.
The winner of Thursday's game will automatically advance to Saturday's semifinal, while the loser will play Tennessee on Friday for one last shot to advance.
Stay tuned here at BamaCentral for live updates, stats and analysis from Hoover Metropolitan Stadium as the Crimson Tide takes on the Gators (4:32 p.m. CT, SEC Network).
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Here are your starting lineups:
No. 10-seed Alabama Crimson Tide (31-22, 12-17)
1. Peyton Wilson - 2B
2. William Hamiter - 1B
3. Sam Praytor - C
4. Zane Denton - 3B
5. Owen Diodati - DH
6. Jackson Tate - LF
7. Andrew Pinckney - RF
8. Jim Jarvis - SS
9. Caden Rose - CF
Dylan Smith - P
No. 6-seed Florida Gators (37-19, 17-13)
1. Jacob Young - LF
2. Nathan Hickey - 3B
3. Jud Fabian - CF
4. Kris Armstrong - DH
5. Kendrick Calilao - 1B
6. Sterlin Thompson - RF
7. Josh Rivera - SS
8. Cory Acton - 2B
9. Mac Guscette - C
Franco Aleman - P
TOP of 1 - Florida batting
- Young struck out swinging in three pitches. Smith picks up his first strikeout of the game and we are underway here at the Hoover Met. One out.
- Hickey flew out to the warning track in left. Two out.
- Fabian singled to left. Runner on first, two out.
- Armstrong grounded out to short. Three out. Side retired.
- MID 1 - Florida 0, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 1 - Alabama batting
- Wilson singled up the middle. Runner on first, nobody out.
- Hamiter grounded out into a double play. Two out, nobody on base.
- Praytor grounded out to short. Three out. Inning over.
- END 1 - Florida 0, Alabama 0
TOP of 2 - Florida batting
- Calilao singled to left. Runner on first, nobody out.
- Thompson flew out to right-center field. One out, Calilao on first.
- Rivera grounded into a double play. Three out. Side retired.
- MID 2 - Florida 0, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 2 - Alabama batting
- Denton is hit by the pitch. Runner on first, nobody out.
- Diodati struck out swinging. One out, Denton at first.
- Tate grounded out to second. Denton advances to second. Two out.
- Pinckney struck out swinging. Three out, Denton left stranded at second. Inning over.
- END 2 - Florida 0, Alabama 0
TOP of 3 - Florida batting
- Acton hit a slow roller to short and was thrown out at first. One out.
- Guscette flew out to right. Two out.
- Young singled to center. Runner on first with two out.
- Hickey singled to right. Young advanced to second, still two out.
- Fabian struck out swinging. Three out. Runners left stranded on first and second. Side retired. Two strikeouts for Smith.
- MID 3 - Florida 0, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 3 - Alabama batting
- Jarvis popped it up to shallow left. One out.
- Rose grounded out to second. Two out.
- Wilson singled to right. Runner on first, two out.
- Wilson was picked off at first base. Three out. Inning over.
- END 4 - Florida 0, Alabama 0
TOP of 4 - Florida batting
- Armstrong struck out swinging. One out. That makes three strikeouts for Smith.
- Calilao hits a one-hopper back to Smith, who tosses the ball to first base for the out. Two out.
- Thompson singled down the right-field line. Runner on first, two out.
- Rivera flew out to right. Three out, runner left stranded on first. Side retired.
- MID 4 - Florida 0, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 4 - Alabama batting
- Hamiter is hit by the pitch. Runner on first, nobody out.
- Praytor grounded out to third. One out, Hamiter advanced to second.
- Denton grounded out to short. Hamiter advanced to third. Two out.
- Diodati popped the ball up to third. Three out, Hamiter left stranded on third. Inning over.
- END 4 - Florida 0, Alabama 0
TOP of 5 - Florida batting
- Acton struck out swinging. One out. Smith now has four strikeouts.
- Guscette fouled out to first. Two out.
- Young flied out to shallow right, caught by Wilson. Three out. Side retired.
- MID 5 - Florida 0, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 5 - Alabama batting
- Tate grounded out to short. One out.
- Pinckney singled up the middle. Runner on first, one out.
- Jarvis grounded out to first. Pinckney advanced to second. Two out.
- Rose grounded out back to the pitcher. Three out, runner left on second. Inning over.
- END 5 - Florida 0, Alabama 0
TOP of 6 - Florida batting
- Hickey hits a leadoff solo home run to dead center field. 1-0 Florida. Nobody out.
- Smith picks up his fifth strikeout of the day, this time over Fabian. One out.
- Armstrong lined out to Hamiter. Two out.
- Calilao gets caught looking. Six strikeouts now for Smith. Three out. Side retired.
- MID 6 - Florida 1, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 6 - Alabama batting
- Wilson singled up the middle. Runner on first, nobody out.
- Hamiter grounded out to second. Wilson advanced to second. One out.
- Praytor grounded out to third. Two out, Wilson stuck on second.
- Wilson is caught stealing at third. Three out. Inning over.
- END 6 - Florida 1, Alabama 0
TOP of 7 - Florida batting
- Thompson doubled to center. Runner on second, nobody out.
- Rivera flew out to right. Thompson advanced to third. One out.
- Acton lined a ball directly on the left-field line. Acton reached second, while Thompson scored. 2-0 Florida with one out and Acton on second.
- Acton stole third base.
- Guscette grounded out to short. Acton crossed the plate. 3-0 Florida with two out, nobody on base.
- Landon Green is warming up in the bullpen for Alabama.
- Young hits a solo home run over the left-field wall. 4-0 Florida. Still two out and nobody on base for the Gators.
- After a mound visit by pitching coach Jason Jackson, Smith remains on the mound for the Crimson Tide.
- Hickey grounded out to first. Three out. Side retired.
- MID 7 - Florida 4, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 7 - Alabama batting
- Diodati struck out looking. One out.
- Tate grounded out to short. Two out.
- Pinckney singled to left. Runner on first, two out.
- Jarvis gets caught looking. Three out, Pinckney left stranded on first. Inning over.
- END 7 - Florida 4, Alabama 0
TOP of 8 - Florida batting
- Jake Eddington will take over on the mound for Smith.
- Final line for Smith: 7.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 29 BF, 105 TP.
- Fabian draws a four-pitch walk.
- Armstrong struck out swinging. One out, runner on first.
- Calilao singled to right. A fly ball was hit to right, but the ball bounced out of Pinckney's glove. Fabian advanced to third. Runners at the corners with one out.
- Thompson singled up the middle, Fabian crossed the plate for the Florida run. 5-0 Florida with one out and runners on first and second.
- Rivera flew out to the warning track in left field. Both runners forced to retreat back to their respective bases. Two out.
- Eddington is called for a balk. Both runners advance to second and third.
- Acton hit a grounder up the middle, and a bounce off of second base propels the ball over the shortstop's head. Two runners score. 7-0 Florida with two out and a runner on first.
- Pinckney makes a diving play in right to retire Guscette. Three out, one runner left stranded. Side retired.
- MID 8 - Florida 7, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 8 - Alabama batting
- Trey Van Der Weid is now on the mound for Florida.
- Final line for Aleman: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 26 BF, 92 TP.
- Rose grounded out to short. One out.
- Wilson grounded out to third. Two out.
- Hamiter struck out swinging. Three out. Inning over.
- END 8 - Florida 7, Alabama 0
TOP of 9 - Florida batting
- Young singled up the middle. Runner on first, nobody out.
- Tate made a hustling, sliding catch in foul territory. Hickey out, Young back on first.
- Fabian singled to left. Young advanced to second. One out, runners on first and second.
- Armstrong flew out to right. Two out, runners on first and second.
- Calilao grounded out to third. Three out, two runners left stranded. Side retired.
- MID 9 - Florida 7, Alabama 0
BOTTOM of 9 - Alabama batting
- Van Der Weid's day is done as Florida replaces him with Jack Leftwich.
- Final line for Van Der Weide: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 3 BF, 9 TP.
- Praytor drew a four-pitch walk. Runner on first, nobody out.
- Denton singled to center, then to second on an E7. Praytor advanced to third, then to home for Alabama's first run of the game. 7-1 Florida, runner on second and nobody out.
- T.J. Reeves is pinch-hitting for Diodati.
- Reeves struck out looking. One out, Denton on second.
- Tate is hit by the pitch. Runners now on first and second with one out.
- Pinckney struck out swinging. Two out with runners still on first and second.
- Jarvis singled up the middle. Denton crossed the plate, but Tate is called out at third on the slide. The umpires are now reviewing the call. If the play stands, the game is over. If it is overturned, then Alabama will add a run and have runners at the corners.
- Call is overturned. Denton's run counts. 7-2 Florida with Tate on third and Jarvis on first, two out.
- Rose flew out to center field. Three out, runners left stranded on the corners. Inning over.
- END 9 - Florida 7, Alabama 2
FINAL: Florida 7, Alabama 2
Alabama baseball pulled off the dramatics on Wednesday beating Tennessee, 3-2, in extra innings after a runner-interference call in the ninth ended the inning and took away a walk-off win for the Volunteers.
Now the Crimson Tide will face red-hot Florida in the third round of the 2021 SEC tournament from inside the Hoover Met.
The Gators run-ruled Mississippi State in only seven innings, 13-1, in the second round behind four RBIs from Kris Armstrong and three RBIs each from Jacob Young and Sterlin Thompson.
Sophomore left-hander Hunter Barco (10-2, 3.81 ERA) went all seven innings for Florida and only gave up one run on four hits and struck out two Bulldog batters.
Alabama will send Dylan Smith (1-7, 4.04 ERA) to the mound, while the Gators' starter will be right-hander Franco Aleman (4-4, 5.61 ERA).
Thursday's meeting will be the first of the season between both schools and first since March 29-31 when Florida swept that series.
"You can ask me that question every year the last ten years, and I'd tell you the same thing," Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said of Florida following the win over Tennessee. "One of the best teams in the country, uber talented, really well coached. They're the total package. They look like a team that's heating up at the right time. Tremendous, tremendous challenge, and I know they'll get our best effort, and we're going to have to play really, really well to beat them."
How to Watch No. 6-seed Florida vs No. 10-seed Alabama
Where: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, Hoover, Ala.
When: 4:32 p.m. CT on Thursday, May 27
TV: SEC Network
Online: ESPN app
Last Time Out: Alabama designated hitter Owen Diodati's RBI single to score catcher Sam Praytor in the top of the 11th inning proved to be the winning run against Tennessee in a 3-2 thriller. Junior right-hander Jacob McNairy hurled 4.2 shutout innings, only giving up three hits and striking out two batters. Junior closer Chase Lee matched McNairy's 4.2 innings and picked up the victory.
Alabama 2021 Review: The Crimson Tide finished the season with an overall record of 29-22, including a 12-17 record in the SEC. While pitching has been a struggle all season, the Crimson Tide bats have been fairly productive until recently. Third baseman Zane Denton has frequently been a contributor on offense, leading the team with a .317 batting average and totaling 63 hits with 36 runs and 38 RBIs. In terms of power, catcher Sam Praytor leads Alabama with 13 home runs as well as RBIs with 44 on the season. While the Crimson Tide will need to bring its A-game up and down the lineup, look for these two players to heavily contribute if Alabama is able to pull of a win against Tennessee.
Crimson Tide SEC Tournament History: Prior to the SEC Tournament's inception in 1977, Alabama baseball had the league's third-most SEC Championship Series victories with four in seven appearances. In tournament play since 1977, the Crimson Tide is tied for second-most tournament championships with seven and has the third-most appearances with 27. Alabama's most recent tournament championship was in 2003, its second of back-to-back titles. This year marks the team's return to the tournament after missing the field every year since 2016.