TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama scored two unearned runs in the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie and escape with a 5-3 victory over Kentucky on Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The loss was the third straight for the Wildcats as they fell to 12-5 on the year and 0-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama improved to 16-5 and 1-0 in the league. The two teams meet Saturday for game two of the three-game set at 4 p.m. CT. The game can be heard in the Lexington area on WLXO 96.1-FM.
With the game deadlocked in the eighth, Evan Bush reached on an error to lead off the inning. He was sacrificed to second and moved to third on a groundout. After Gabe Scott walked, Kody Valverde punched a single through the left side to score Bush.
Scott came all the way around to score from first after freshman Antone DeJesus' throw sailed over the third baseman's head as he tried to get Scott at third.
"It's a tough way to lose a game," said Kentucky head coach John Cohen. "But I think our kids fought hard am really happy with the way they competed. We have 11 freshmen out there and they have to learn to compete at the SEC level. We're investing a lot of energy in those guys and they are going to come around."
Alabama jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first four innings. In the sixth, freshman Collin Cowgill belted a towering three-run home run to right field off starter T.J. Large. The shot scored junior Kevin Caldwell and junior Billy Grace, who had each reached on walks.
"It felt good to the game up. Unfortunately, we couldn't win the game," Cowgill said. "I was trying to be short and hit a line-drive somewhere. (Large) was throwing hard and I just got my bat there as quick as possible."
The home run was just the second hit for Kentucky, which finished with only three for the game. The Wildcats did create offensive chances by drawing six walks.
"We created some innings by getting base-runners. It's not always about getting hits, it's about getting base runners," Cohen said. "You just need to have good timing with your hits."
Large allowed all three hits in 6 1/3 innings and struck out three Kentucky batters while walking five. Jordan Davis came on in relief to earn his first win with 2 2/3 innings of no-hit ball.
Alabama had eight hits, three of which were infield singles. The first Crimson Tide ball to leave the infield came in the third inning when Bush roped a double down the left-field line to plate Allen Rice for the game's first run.
Alabama added two more runs in the fourth when Matt Bentley was hit by a pitch and and Gabe Scott singled to lead off. Bentley eventually scored on a wild pitch and Cale Iorg drove home Scott with a sacrifice fly.
The first three Crimson Tide runs came off starter Scott Green, who worked five innings and gave up six hits, including all three infield hits. He struck out one and walked two and earned a no-decision.
"I thought Scott competed very well," Cohen said.
Craig Snipp took the loss for the Wildcats to fall to 1-1 on the year. He worked 2 2/3 innings and allowed the two unearned runs on two hits.
-Collin Cowgill hit his first career home run, a shot to right field
-Cowgill's three RBIs are a career high
-Scott Green has not earned a decision in his last three starts
-Kentucky did not record a hit until the beginning of the fourth inning, when Shaun Lehmann singled
-Kentucky's three hits were its fewest of the season
-Craig Snipp has still yet to allow an earned run in 12 1/3 innings pitched
-John Shelby stole his 12th base of the season and the 18th of his career
-Shelby has not been caught stealing in his career
-The Kentucky pitching staff snapped Allen Rice's 14-game hit streak
UK Media Relations release
'Bama Edges Kentucky
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