With softball season now underway, Alabama baseball is on deck to begin its 2015 campaign. The Tide comes off a season where they fell short in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional, falling to Kennesaw State in the finale.

Despite losing a lot of on field talent from last year, Alabama starts the year with the high, realistic hopes of making a deep postseason run. Mitch Gaspard's team opens the season on Friday against Maryland Eastern Shore at the Hoover Met, and we have five things you need to know about this year's team.

  • 1

    Alabama will play its home games in Hoover

    Alabama fans will have to wait another year to get back to Sewell-Thomas Stadium and into the right field seating area, as construction to The Joe will force the team to play all of its home games at the Hoover Met. The team will not have to travel there and back from Tuscaloosa though, as they will be staying in the Wynfrey Hotel on game weekends.  This will be a great chance for the Alabama faithful in the Birmingham area to check out the team.

     

    Courtesy of Alabama Athletics
  • 2

    Mikey White named second team All-American

    Junior shortstop Mikey White was named a second team All-American by D1Baseball.com. White enters the year after batting .300 last year with nine doubles, two triples and seven home runs. White will look to be a leader for a team that will be replacing a lot of production lost from last year.

    Photo courtesy of Alabama Athletics
  • 3

    Alabama will break in new pitching rotation

    Alabama loses its top two pitchers from last year in Justin Kamplain and Spencer Turnbull to graduation, while Jon Keller will miss the year due to injury. Nick Einholtz could be looked at to play a huge role this year. He appeared in 20 games in 2014, starting nine, earning a 3.35 ERA and .188 batting average against him.

    Will Carter, a junior college transfer, could also look to have an impact. But even with their help, the Tide will need to find someone else to step up and contribute.

  • 4

    All-American Thomas Burrows returns to the bullpen

    Thomas Burrows returns to Alabama after an incredible freshman season, where he earned freshman All-SEC honors and freshman All-American honors. Burrows led last years team with 11 saves on the year, only one short of the Alabama freshman record. That went along with a 2.15 ERA and .173 batting average against. Burrows will lead the bullpen that might need to give the starting staff a lot of help throughout the year. Luckily, Burrows will be up to the challenge and will look to improve on his All-American numbers from last year.

    Photo courtesy of Alabama Athletics
  • 5

    The SEC is once again the toughest conference

    After a dominant 2014, the SEC looks to be as strong as ever in 2015. The conference includes defending national champion Vanderbilt, who sits atop of the preseason rankings. The SEC put seven teams in the top 25, including No. 4 LSU, No. 5 Florida, No. 11 South Carolina, No. 19 Ole Miss, No. 22 Mississippi State, and No. 25 Texas A&M.

    Just outside the top 25 was Alabama at No. 28 and Tennessee at No. 29.

    (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)