The Crimson Tide robbed UK of a home run, recorded two double plays and turned a bases-loaded triple play to frustrate the offense that entered SEC play leading the league in almost every major category.
Alabama junior right-hander Spencer Turnbull was the beneficiary of the strong glovework, taking a shutout into the eighth inning. His rightfielder, Ben Moore, robbed UK's A.J. Reed of a game-tying home run in the fourth inning, and his infield turned a triple play on a line drive by Reed in the sixth inning to get him out of a big jam.
Turnbull (2-1) allowed just four singles over 7.1 innings, carefully working around five walks with no damage. He struck out three.
Alabama's Thomas Burrows worked 1.2 innings for his first save of the season.
UK's Reed (3-1) also suffered the hard-luck loss on the mound, allowing three runs on four hits in seven-plus innings. The junior left-hander walked four and struck out a season-high six.
Kentucky (13-5, 0-1 SEC) managed just four hits, including two by Kyle Barrett. Austin Cousino and Storm Wilson also had hits for the Cats.
Alabama (11-5, 1-0 SEC) got a solo home run and an RBI single from Will Haynie. A balk and a wilp pitch accounted for the Tide's third run of the game.
The series will conclude on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 1:30 p.m. ET.