Alex Meyer strikes out 11 in loss to Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Despite a career pitching performance from Kentucky freshman Alex Meyer, the No. 21 Alabama Crimson Tide plated one unearned run in the fifth inning and held off a ninth-inning rally to win 3-2 over the Wildcats, on a picture-perfect Sunday afternoon in front of 4,007 fans at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Meyer, a 6-foot-8 freshman from Greensburg, Ind., had the most impressive outing of his young career, hurling a career-high seven innings, while striking out a career-best 11. Meyer walked only one and allowed just four hits, leaving the game – without allowing an earned run – in the eighth inning after allowing the first two hitters to reach. Rated as the second-best freshman in college baseball by Baseball America entering the year, Meyer finished the game with three runs allowed, with two runs earned.

Meyer's pitching performance was the second stellar outing for a UK starter, as senior Chris Rusin hurled a complete-game gem Saturday, allowing one unearned run. Most impressively, the pitching performances from Rusin and Meyer came against an Alabama club that entered the weekend leading the league with a .341 batting average, averaging nearly 10 runs per game. Meyer handcuffed the Alabama offensive attack, holding the Crimson Tide without an extra-base hit for the first time in the year, a span of 44 games.

Meyer and Alabama starter Adam Scott battled throughout the game, with Scott posting his second win of the year, going eight innings, allowing two runs, three walks and three strikeouts. UK chased Scott from the game with a ninth-inning rally, as Gunner Glad led off the final frame with a single to center field and freshman Braden Kapteyn ripped his second homer of the year down the left-field line, cutting the lead to 3-2. Kapteyn, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, was also summoned in the bottom of the eighth inning to relieve Meyer with the bases juiced, and the right-hander got three outs, allowing the two inherited runners to score on a bases-loaded hit by pitch and a sacrifice fly.

The Crimson Tide (29-15, 12-9 SEC) turned to third baseman Jake Smith to close out the game, with Smith striking out two while getting the final three outs for his second career save.

Kentucky (22-21, 7-14 SEC) hit lasers all over the yard throughout the game off Scott, including freshman Chad Wright, who in all four at bats, hit line drives to the left-center field gap, in each case hauled in by center fielder Tyler Odle. Freshman Andy Burns led UK offensively with a 3-for-4 day.

UK returns to action with a mid-week matchup against Louisville, at 6:30 p.m. ET Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Wildcats won the first matchup in Louisville 8-7. The game can be heard live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM. UK men's basketball All-American Jodie Meeks will be on hand to throw out the first pitch against the Cardinals, scheduled for 6:25 p.m. ET, with fans encouraged to arrive early.

Alabama managed to push a run across in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking advantage of a throwing error on UK. After Meyer got Tyler Odle to fly out on the first pitch, he struck out Taylor Dugas on a breaking ball in the dirt. UK freshman catcher Michael Williams, making his second career SEC start, attempted to throw to first to seal the strikeout, but Williams throw sailed high and wide of first base, allowing Dugas to move to second. After Dugas stole third, Meyer struck out Josh Rutledge. Ross Wilson responded with his first career RBI against Kentucky, a first-pitch single through the left side, scoring Dugas with the unearned run.

The Wildcats had a golden opportunity to even up the game in the top of the seventh, as Keenan Wiley led off with a double into the right-center field gap, his third double of the year. With Wiley at third and two out, Bryan Rose ripped a single through the left side, with Wiley hustling to third, ignoring the stop sign from third-base coach Brad Bohannon, and getting throw out at home plate by five feet by Dugas, the UA left fielder, ending UK's threat.

AllWildcats Top Stories