Scout.com/Jeff Drummond

Kentucky Wildcats to open SEC Tournament against Alabama

With an NCAA Tournament bid potentially hanging in the balance, Kentucky opens the SEC Tournament on Tuesday in Hoover, Ala., seeking to improve its "bubble" resume.

The Wildcats (32-24 overall, 15-15 SEC) will face Alabama (31-24, 15-15 SEC) in the opening round at 5:30 p.m. ET at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. UK took two out of three against the Crimson Tide in their regular-season matchup, but all three games in Lexington were closely contested.

Kentucky was a No. 3 regional seed in Baseball America's last NCAA Tournament projections before taking two out of three games from Missouri during the weekend to close out the regular season. The Cats are currently No. 55 in the RPI, which places them squarely on the proverbial bubble, but UK has won series against current RPI No. 2 Florida and RPI No. 5 South Carolina and bolstered its strength of schedule with series against No. 1 Louisville, No. 6 Ole Miss and No. 8 Vanderbilt. 

The Cats plan to send sophomore left-hander Zach Logue (pictured above) to the mound on Tuesday. The Ohio native posted a 3-1 record and a 2.62 ERA this season as a mid-week starter and relief specialist. Alabama is expected to counter with junior right-hander Nick Eicholtz (3-3, 2.25) who was sensational in an April 10 win over UK, allowing only one run on three hits over 7.2 innings on the mound.

Offensively, UK is led by sophomore first baseman Evan White, who owns a .377 batting average and a .943 OPS. He also leads the team with 39 RBI and 10 stolen bases. Junior left fielder Zach Reks is hitting .340 with seven homers and 22 RBI.  Sophomore shortstop Riley Mahan checks in at  .311 with five homers and 31 RBI. Junior third baseman JaVon Shelby has 12 homers and 35 RBI.

The Kentucky-Alabama game will be broadcast by the SEC Network. The matchup will be a single-elimination game. Should the Cats defeat the Tide, they'll advance to the double-elimination portion of the event against league champion Mississippi State, coached by former UK head coach John Cohen.


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