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Defense dooms Kentucky Wildcats in SEC Tournament elimination-round loss to Alabama

A disastrous second inning in the field Tuesday may have ended Kentucky's season.

Alabama scored three times with only one ball leaving the infield during the decisive inning of a 5-2 win over the Wildcats in the opening round of the SEC Tournament.

With the loss, Kentucky (32-25 overall, 15-15 SEC) was eliminated from the event and will now have to wait to see if it made the NCAA cut. The Crimson Tide (32-24, 15-15 SEC) will advance to the double-elimination bracket against regular-season champion Mississippi State.

The fateful second inning included two infield hits, a miscommunication between UK's shortstop and second baseman, and two errors. One of them was a controversial call on a would-be force out at second that ultimately opened the door for a bases-loaded walk and a two-run single by Alabama's Hunter Webb.

UK played catch-up the rest of the evening, clawing within 3-2 by the eighth on a solo homer by Evan White and an RBI double by Riley Mahan, but Alabama's Will Haynie hit a two-run homer off Zach Pop in the ninth to give the Tide some key insurance runs.

Haynie and Webb each led Bama with three hits on the day.

Nick Eicholtz (4-3) turned in his second impressive start of the season against the Cats, allowing only two earned runs on three hits over 6.2 innings on the mound. On April 10, the right-hander held UK to one earned run on three hits over 7.2 innings.

After Matt Foster worked a scoreless inning of relief, Thomas Burrows pitched the final 1.1 innings for Bama, allowing no hits and striking out two to earn his 12th save of the season. The Tide improved to 25-0 when leading after eight innings this season.

Zach Logue (3-2) was the tough-luck loser for UK, allowing two earned runs on six hits over 5.2 innings.


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