First-year Alabama baseball coach Rob Vaughn was a Thursday guest on The Gary Harris Show. Here's a look at what he had to say on his team, pitching staff, power hitting and the SEC.

On Opening Weekend

"You get to this point; you're looking for a couple of things: you want the guys prepared and you want them healthy. We can check both those boxes now.

"It's been a great preseason... and we're chomping at the bit to play someone else."

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On Facing Manhattan this weekend

"They won't be scared. They'll test our grit.

"Ben Hess on Friday. Riley Quick on Saturday. Sunday... there's a lot of options there... probably Aiden Moza.

"It's about how we can go out and win games. The first few weeks for us will be figuring out the best lineup and best rotation."

On LHP Alton Davis

"AD is the most ultimate team dude. We've built him up as a starter, but he's probably going to start the year on the back end [as a closer]. It's really hard to get those last three outs, and he's done it."

On adding power to the lineup

"Slugging the baseball is really important. You've got to be able to hit doubles and homers. I want my team to be able to score in different ways.

"Our leadoff hitter Gage Miller has some thunder.

"We need to be able get a runner in from third with a two-out hit.

"I think we're going to strike people out, hit a lot of homers and steal a lot of bases. We're going to be a fun team to watch."

"Will Hodo is a veteran, professional hitter. If you're in the right field seats, you'd better lock in on Camden Hayslip. He's poised for a breakout year.

"I think the community of Tuscaloosa is going to fall in love with these 40 guys."

On his team/philosophy

"Our guys have heard me say a thousand times: 'Do you job.' That's an old coach Saban thing I had before I ever got to Alabama."

On the SEC

"It's a heavyweight fight. There's some really good teams. There's so much depth; everybody is SO good. You have to be able to take a punch. Being an eighth place team in this league, you're probably going to host a regional.

"Our kids haven't been slugged upside the mouth yet, but it's coming. I want to see how our guys respond."

On getting back to the CWS for the first time since 1999

"It's about that time, isn't it?"

It is, coach. Vaughn and the 2024 Tide host Manhattan for a three-game set starting at 4 PM CT Friday, and you can hear Alabama baseball all season on Tide 100.9 and 1230 AM WTBC.

Nehemiah's Coffee House Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Gallery Credit: Mary K

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