Alabama Baseball Falls Late to Seventh-Ranked Kentucky, 5-2, on Sunday Afternoon
Alabama baseball fell to seventh-ranked Kentucky, 5-2, as the Wildcats’ three runs across the final three innings proved to be the difference on Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the loss, the Crimson Tide moves to 18-11 on the season and 3-6 in Southeastern Conference play.
“I was a little disappointed in our club today,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “We came out and played a little satisfied after winning the first two days. I don’t think we really played with as much energy as we had the first two days of the series. With that being said, I thought (Kentucky starter) Justin Lewis was outstanding. He pounded the strikezone, and he has a really good changeup that gave our hitters trouble. Once Chandler Taylor was able to push one out of the park early, (Lewis) really settled in and chopped us up for five or six innings. He did a great job and was a challenge for us today.”
Kentucky starter Justin Lewis (5-2) was in control on Sunday afternoon, throwing 7.1 innings of two-run baseball. After surrendering both runs on two hits in the first inning, the junior right-hander went on to hold the Crimson Tide scoreless over the next 6.1 frames, allowing only three hits while collecting six strikeouts to close out his start.
Alabama carried a 2-1 lead into the top of the sixth, but Kentucky would score three runs across the sixth and seventh innings to take the advantage before adding an insurance run in the ninth. The Crimson Tide did not go quietly, threatening in the bottom of the eighth with the tying runs on base, but a call to the bullpen by the Wildcats halted the Tide offense.
The junior duo of Joe Breaux and Chandler Taylor highlighted the Tide bats, each collecting an extra-base hit in the contest. Breaux finished 1-for-3 with a double, one walk and a run scored, while Taylor finished his afternoon 1-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and one run.
Alabama jumped out front first, using the two-run home run from Taylor to take the 2-0 lead after one inning of play. The junior’s home run crossed Breaux, who reached on a one-out double to get things started. The Wildcats got on the board in the top of the second, using a solo home run to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
Kentucky made it a 2-2 game in the sixth. A one-out double followed by a single put two in scoring position for UK. In the next at-bat, a double to left crossed one to even things up. The Wildcats would add two more in the seventh to take the lead. The inning began with a leadoff home run to put UK in front for the first time on Sunday. Kentucky then used a hit-by-pitch and single to reach a pair before a groundout to first moved the runners into scoring position. Following an Alabama pitching change, a single to center brought across one more to make it a 4-2 contest.
The Wildcats added an insurance run in the ninth, putting up a single tally to add to the cushion. With one down in the inning, back-to-back singles to right placed runners on first and second and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases. In the next at-bat, a sacrifice fly allowed one run to score, setting the score at 5-2, the eventual final.
Next up for Alabama is a home midweek matchup with Jacksonville State on Tuesday, April 3. The contest between the Crimson Tide and Gamecocks is scheduled for a 6 p.m. CT first pitch with the game airing live on SEC Network+.