WINSTON SALEM, NC – Entering the Winston-Salem Super Regional, the Alabama Crimson Tide face a tall task in the No. 1 team in the nation — Wake Forest. But, when looking at the Demon Deacons, interim head coach Jason Jackson sees a lot of his own club.
“If you look at these two teams, I think we’re very, very similar,” he said. “We’re both well-rounded teams, and we got some guys with thump. We got some guys that can run a little bit. And we got some depth on the mound and some power arms just like they do. I think you’ve got two really, really good teams, and I think it’ll be a really good series.”
To get to this juncture, Alabama swept its home regional in Tuscaloosa, but the first two games didn’t come easy. It took a walk off to defeat Nicholls State on Friday, and Saturday’s match with Troy was tight.
“I thought we pitched really well all weekend if you take away one inning,” Jackson said. “We had one rough inning against Troy, gave up a five-spot. Outside of that, I thought we pitched really well all weekend. We had good at bats. But, when you get to this time of year, everybody’s got a good team and everybody’s got really good starters.”
In the regional final, Alabama put it all together to trounce Boston College 8-0.
“[Starting pitcher] Jacob McNairy took that game and said ‘no, this one’s on me, boys,” Jackson said. “We got a couple of big hits when we needed it.”
So, how does Alabama take the success of last weekend and continue it to defeat what Jackson called “a great ballclub?”
“I think just going out and playing our game is probably the big thing,” he said.
Between the Crimson Tide and Omaha is one of the best pitching staffs in the country, led by Rhett Lowder, Josh Hartle, Seth Keener and Sean Sullivan. The approach remains the same.
“Looks like they’re solid,” outfielder Tommy Seidl said. “They’re very polished, so we’re not going to count on them making any big mistakes. But, [we need to] be ready for what they’ve got and be confident in our approach. They still have to throw strikes.”
In addition to the Deacons on the mound, Alabama faces a highly potent offense.
“You just got to attack the strike zone,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of talk, this park is an offensive ballpark. The ball really flies. There’s going to be some home runs hit, we all know that. You have to make them be solo home runs.”
“Wake, they’ve played in this ballpark all year,” he continued. We’ve all seen their pitching numbers. They do a really good job of attacking, going right at guys and limiting those free passes. Try not to change what we do right. Continue to do the things that we’ve done all year. Strike one and get ahead.”
If Alabama can accomplish those goals, anything can happen. The Crimson Tide believe they can be the team to take down the Deacs.
“We’re confident that we can go toe-to-toe with anybody in the country,” Seidl said. “Any team that’s got confidence, [that’s] not afraid of anything, can be a dangerous team.”