Alabama Can't Hit, Loses To Kentucky
Alabama and Kentucky will close out the three-game series on Sunday, at 12 p.m. (CDT). Freshman left-hander Taylor Wolfe (2-1, 4.01 ERA) will make his fourth straight Sunday SEC start on the mound for Alabama.
Rogers allowed a first-inning run without a hit as the Crimson Tide took an early 1-0 lead. Sophomore Jon Kelton reached when he was hit with the first pitch of the game and moved to second on sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas' sacrifice bunt. Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge's ground out to second base moved Kelton to third base and Kelton scored three pitches later on a wild pitch by Rogers to give Alabama a 1-0 lead.
Kentucky tied the game in the bottom of the first inning on Chris Bisson's first-pitch leadoff double and Gunner Glad's sacrifice fly to even the score at 1-1.
Alabama put the first two runners on base in the second inning as junior second baseman Ross Wilson doubled to right and senior third baseman Jake Smith followed with a base hit to right. With runners at second and third and no outs, the Crimson Tide looked poised for a big inning.
Rogers had other ideas.
The lefty struck out junior DH Chris Smelley on three pitches and then struck out senior right fielder Cal Tinsley before getting an inning-ending ground out from junior catcher Brock Bennett as the Tide missed out on an excellent scoring opportunity.
Kentucky quickly answered with three runs in the bottom of the second inning to build a 4-1 lead. Braden Kapteyn drew a four-pitch walk from UA starter Jimmy Nelson and Taylor Black blasted a 3-1 pitch down the left field line for his third home run of the season to put UK in front 3-1. Lance Ray laced a one-out double to left and moved to third on junior shortstop Josh Rutledge's error. Keenan Wiley plated Ray with a sacrifice fly to right as UK led 4-1.
Rogers (4-3) allowed only four base runners over the next four innings and left in the eighth with his team leading by six runs. He held the Tide to two runs and five hits with five strikeouts and no walks and threw 106 pitches.
Wiley, who went 3-for-4 on Saturday with one run scored and two RBI, had a hand in four of the five innings in which UK scored.
In the fifth, Wiley stroked a leadoff single in the fifth inning and scored on Andy Burns' one-out double to give UK a 5-1 lead.. In the sixth, he capped a two-run inning with a two-out triple to left-center field as the Wildcats took a 7-1 lead. Ray hit his second home run of the season in the inning.
Nelson (4-1) had a shaky start for the Crimson Tide, but he did battle into the sixth inning saving the bullpen for Sunday's series finale. The junior allowed seven runs (6 ER) and 10 hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
The Wildcats added a run in the seventh against senior left-hander Jonathan Smart, as Black delivered a one-out single to give UK an 8-1 lead. Black had three hits and three RBI for the Wildcats.
Smart allowed one run and three hits in 1 1/3 innings and sophomore right-hander Tyler White pitched a perfect eighth inning.
The Tide put two runners on base against Rogers when he hit Kelton and Dugas with back-to-back pitches to lead off the eighth inning. The lefty then got Rutledge to fly out to left field and Ray fired a strike to third base to double up Kelton, who tried to tag up on the play for the second out. Senior first baseman Clay Jones followed with an RBI single to score Dugas to make the score 8-2. Jones' two-out hit also chased Rogers.
UK right-hander Matt Little struck out Ross Wilson to end the inning and retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to preserve the win.
Wilson led Alabama with two hits, while Rutledge, Jones and Smith accounted for the other three hits in the game.
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