Hot Tide Baseball At Powerful Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Southeastern Conference baseball season begins Friday and the two hottest teams in the league meet in in Lexington, Ky., when the University of Alabama meets fourth-ranked Kentucky in a three-game series at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The three-game series begins Friday at 4 p.m. (EDT) and continues Saturday at 2 p.m. (EDT) and Sunday at 1 p.m. (EDT).

Alabama brings a six-game winning streak to Lexington after dispatching North Alabama and Samford on Tuesday and Wednesday. The six-game winning streak is the second-longest current winning streak in the conference behind Kentucky's 15-game winning streak. During the streak, the Crimson Tide is hitting .328 (67-for-204) with 12 home runs and 57 RBI. Alabama is averaging 10.3 runs and 11.2 hits per game. Junior catcher/DH Alex Avila and sophomore left fielder Brandon May are an identical 10-for-21 (.476) during the streak. Avila has five home runs and 13 RBI and nine runs scored. May has eight RBI and eight run scored. Junior center fielder Alex Kubal is hitting .368 (7-for-19) during the streak with one home run, three RBI and five runs scored.

On the mound, the Tide sports a 3.29 ERA during its six-game winning streak and the staff has recorded 48 strikeouts in 52 innings. UA opponents are hitting only .214 in the last six games. Junior RHP Casey Kebodeaux (2 G, 1 GS, 2-0, 2.45 ERA) has two of the six wins, while junior RHP Austin Graham (1 GS, 1-0 0.00 ERA), junior LHP Miers Quigley (1 GS, 1-0, 2.57 ERA), junior RHP Austin Hyatt (1 GS, 1-0, 3.68 ERA) and freshman RHP Nathan Kilcrease (2 G, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) have the other four wins.

The Crimson Tide's weekend rotation will consist of Hyatt, Stroup and Graham, who have combined for just five career SE starts. Graham will be making his first career SEC start in the series finale.

Kentucky (15-0) enters SEC play as one of only two undefeated Division I baseball teams. No. 1 ranked Arizona State (14-0) also remains undefeated after a two-game sweep of Arkansas at Packard Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., this week. Kentucky and Elon (15-1) lead all Division I schools with 15 wins heading into this weekend's action.

The Wildcats lead the SEC in hitting and earned run average entering SEC play. They are hitting .374 (195-fro-521) with 20 home runs and 159 RBI through 15 games. UK is averaging 11.7 runs and 13 hits per game this season. The Wildcats have also stroked 49 doubles in 15 games. Senior first baseman/outfielder Sawyer Carroll is the team's leading hitter with an SEC-leading ..558 (29-for-52) average with six home runs and 29 RBI this season. Junior outfielder Collin Cowgill is hitting .379 (22-for-58) with three home runs and 15 RBI. He leads the team with 22 runs scored.

The Wildcats sport a SEC-leading 2.10 ERA this season. UK's weekend rotation is junior LHP Chris Rusin (2 GS, 2-0, 0.64 ERA), junior RHP Scott Green (3 GS, 2-0, 1.50 ERA) and senior RHP Greg Dombrowski (3 GS, 3-0, 1.12 ERA) are a combined 7-0 this season on the mound and have totaled 54 strikeouts and one walk in 48 innings. Green has 28 strikeouts and no walks in 18 innings. Rusin has 13 strikeouts and no walks in 14 innings. Dombrowski has 13 strikeouts and one walk in 16 innings. Kentucky has also been solid on defense with just 15 errors (.974) in 15 games this season.

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