Tide Baseball Loses Two To Kentucky

LEXINGTON, KY -- The misery of Alabama's 2012 baseball season drew a little closer Saturday as the Crimson Tide lost a doubleheader to seventh-ranked Kentucky. With the losses, Bama is officially eliminated from the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Alabama suffered through a comedy of errors in losing the opener, 7-6, and then was pounded by Kentucky in the second game, 8-1.

Coach Mitch Gaspard's Crimson Tide was swept in the three-game series by the Wildcats with the doubleheader played Saturday because of the threat of inclement weather in Lexington on Sunday.

The three losses to Kentucky leave Alabama with an overall record of 18-33 and a 7-20 SEC record.

Alabama will play its final non-conference game of the season when it hosts Troy at 6 p.m., CDT Tuesday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Bama closes out the season hosting Georgia in games Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Alabama had eight hits in the series finale, as James Tullidge was 3-for4 with an RBI to lead the Tide. Tullidge was 6-for-8 in the doubleheader with a run scored and two RBI. Jon Kelton also had two hits in the game, as he was 2-for-4 and collected four hits in the two games on Saturday.

UA starting pitcher Charley Sullivan (2-3) took the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) in 11 hits with a walk and a hit batter, in six innings. Kentucky starter, Corey Littrell earned the win to improve to 8-0 on the season and 6-0 in SEC play. Littrell threw 6.2 innings, allowing one run on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Just like the first game of the Saturday doubleheader, Kentucky (41-11, 18-9) took an early lead, scoring once in the first inning. UK scored an unearned run in the opening frame, as the Tide traded a double play for the run.

Alabama answered in the second, scoring a run on three consecutive singles by Brett Booth, Kelton and Tullidge. The Tullidge single to center field allowed Booth to score from second.

The game remained tied at 1-1 until the bottom of the fourth when Kentucky scored a run on two-out RBI single by Brian Adams to score Paul McConkey. UK tacked on two more runs in the sixth, which included a leadoff home run by Michael Williams and a bases loaded infield single by Thomas McCarthy, making the score 4-1 after six innings.

Kentucky put the game out of reach with a three-run seventh inning, which was highlighted by a towering two-out, two-run home run to left center by Adams. All three runs were scored off UA reliever Chazz Otwell, who entered the game in the seventh inning.

UK added a run on a solo home run by Austin Cousino, off Taylor Guilbeau, to lead off the eighth inning, capping the scoring at 8-1.

In the first game of a Saturday Southeastern Conference doubleheader, the Alabama Crimson Tide suffered a 7-6 loss to the seventh-ranked Kentucky Wildcats from Cliff Hagan Stadium. With the loss, Alabama falls to 18-32 overall and 7-19 in SEC play. The Wildcats improve to 40-11 and 17-9 in conference play.

In the first game, the Crimson Tide scored three runs in the seventh inning to take a 5-1 lead. That advantage lasted only through the bottom half of the inning as the Wilcats scored five runs to take a 6-5 lead. Alabama tied the game with a run on an RBI single by Jared Reaves in the eighth, but Kentucky scored the game-winning run on a bases loaded walk in the eighth.

In the eighth, losing pitcher Josh Rosecrans (0-2) gave up a run without allowing a hit. Rosecrans hit the first batter of the inning, then after a strikeout, walked three straight hitters to allow the winning run to score. UK closer Trevor Gott (3-0) earned the win after throwing the final 1 1/3 innings for the Wildcats. Gott did not allow a hit with three strikeouts and a walk to close out the game.

Bama starting pitcher Jon Keller pitched into the seventh inning, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks, but once again did not factor into the decision. Kentucky starter Jared Grundy allowed one earned run on eight hits in 5.0 innings in a no decision.

The Tide out-hit the Wildcats 14-11 as five different UA players had at least two hits in the game. Reaves and James Tullidge had three hits each, as Tullidge recorded his fifth multiple hit game of the season and second three hit game of his career. Taylor Dugas, Austen Smith and Jon Kelton were all 2-for-4 in the game.

With two hits, Dugas, who holds the school record with 329 career hits, moved into sole possession of third all-time in the SEC, passing Mississippi State's Richard Lee (1995-98). Jay Waggoner (1992-95) of Auburn is second with 341 hits and LSU's Eddy Furniss (1995-98) holds the conference record with 352 knocks.

Kentucky took a 1-0 lead after one, scoring an unearned run thanks to a fielding error on UA shortstop Reaves. The error came with two outs and runners on the corners for the Wildcats.

Alabama scored two runs with two outs in the sixth inning to take its first lead in the game and the series. After Smith singled off Grundy, he stole second and scored on a single by Kelton. Kelton advanced to second on an error by the Kentucky left fielder and scored when Tullidge followed with a RBI double for a 2-1 Tide lead.

In the seventh, UA loaded the bases with no outs off UK reliever Alex Phillips. With the bases loaded, Smith forced out Dugas at home with a ground out to third. Rosecrans then delivered a sacrifice fly to plate Reaves, and with runners on second and third, Brett Booth's line drive up the middle hit Phillips and bounded into right field to allow both Moore and Smith to score for a 5-1 Tide lead.

The Wildcats responded with five runs in the seventh to regain the lead at 6-5. UK loaded the bases with no outs to chase Keller from the game. Reliever Jake Hubbard struck out the first hitter he faced, then Cameron Flynn delivered a sac fly to center to drive in one run. Michael Williams followed with a RBI single to left, then J.T. Riddle followed with a two-run double down the left field line to even the score at five. After a single by Thomas McCarthy put runners on the corners, an error by Kelton at second allowed Riddle to score the go ahead run.

In the eighth, Tullidge delivered his third hit of the game with a leadoff single, then moved to second on a sac bunt by Andrew Miller. After a wild pitch allowed Tullidge to move up to third, Reaves had a two-out RBI single to center to score Tullidge and tie the game at 6-6.

The Wildcats scored the go ahead run in the eighth inning without getting a hit off reliever Rosecrans. Rosecrans hit Austin Cousino to open the inning, then after a passed ball and a wild pitch allowed Cousino to move to third, Rosecrans struck out Zellers for the first out of the frame. An intentional walk to Luke Maile put runners on the corners, then after a walk to Cameron Flynn, Michael Williams walked on a 3-2 pitch to push the winning run across.

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