Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

University of Alabama Baseball Ready to Bust 5-Game Losing Streak against Auburn

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

University of Alabama Baseball Ready to Bust 5-Game Losing Streak against Auburn

Article excerpt

Thanks to 21 hits and 12 runs, Alabama snapped a three-game losing streak and provided temporary relief for its offensive slump on Sunday.

Tuesday, it looks to do more streak busting by ending a five- game drought at the hands of Auburn in Montgomery.

Alabama, which hasn't beat Auburn since they started meeting for an annual non-conference game at Riverwalk Stadium in 2009,

will turn to Nick Eicholtz, a true freshman making his second collegiate start, to snap the streak Tuesday night. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

"They've all been telling me about it, how we've lost five in a row," Eicholtz said. "That's something that I really want to change. So I'm going to do everything in my power to put up zeroes and let the offense do what they did (Sunday)."

Alabama's inconsistent 5-5 start had been plagued by inconsistent offense until Sunday. The constant has been strong pitching, and Eicholtz has played a key role. He hasn't allowed an earned run in 10 innings of work. During his outing at Southern Miss on Wednesday, his first college start, he gave up one unearned run through five innings and allowed just four hits while striking out four.

Between relief duty and Wednesday's start, Eicholtz, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-hander, has cemented himself as one of Alabama's top mid-week starting options.

"He really has good mound presence, particularly for a young guy making his first start last Wednesday night," Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. "He looked like a veteran out there, just the way he handled himself, the way he worked out of a couple of spots. And that's really what we want to see, a guy who pitches with an attitude out there."

This week, an arichrival raises the stakes.

"I've been here four years," first baseman Austen Smith said. "I think this is the year we're going to get it done."

The game does not count in the conference standings; the teams play a three-game conference series in Tuscaloosa April 11-13. Auburn beat Alabama 6-3 at Riverwalk Stadium last season. …

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