Alabama Baseball Suffers 3-2 Loss at No. 19 Kentucky Despite Strong Start from Bramblett
Alabama baseball fell, 3-2, to Kentucky on a near-freezing Friday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The loss was the Crimson Tide’s first loss in an SEC series opener and moves the team’s record to 18-12 overall and 5-5 in SEC play.
“Both sides played really well,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. “I thought Geoffrey (Bramblett) was tremendous tonight and had a great start for us. We just had the one inning where we misplayed the ball on the bunt, and then they come back with a couple hits and that was the difference in the game. It was a well-played game on both ends, we just came up short tonight.”
Putting together another strong outing, starter Geoffrey Bramblett worked 8.0 innings and struck out a season-high nine batters for the Crimson Tide. He allowed three runs on five hits with a walk and retired 11 straight from the second inning through the fifth. A single in the sixth broke the streak and was followed by a sacrifice bunt attempt that resulted in a throwing error and allowed the batter to reach and advance to second to put two in scoring position.
With first base open, a strikeout/wild pitch resulted in the batter reaching at first while the runner from third came home to give the Wildcats their first run. A double in the next at-bat cleared the bases and put Kentucky in front for good.
The two teams went scoreless until Alabama collected two runs in the third. Georgie Salem led off the frame with a double to right center before moving to third on a sacrifice bunt. Chandler Avant brought Salem home with a double of his own, this one down the right field line to score the game’s first run. Cobie Vance followed with a single in the very next at-bat, pushing Avant across and making it a 2-0 game after three.
Kentucky took its first lead of the night in the bottom of the sixth. The inning began with a single to put one runner on. The Wildcats went for the sacrifice bunt to move the man up, but an errant throw to first allowed for extra bases and put two in scoring position. A strikeout/wild pitch followed and brought across one before a double added two more. Bramblett regained composure, however, using a lineout, a popout and then a strikeout to get out of the jam and strand a man in scoring position.
Chance Vincent reached with a two-out single in the ninth, but the Crimson Tide could not come back as the Wildcats took game one, 3-2.
Alabama and Kentucky will return to the field again tomorrow for a 1 p.m. CT start at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Crimson Tide is scheduled to start sophomore right-hander Jake Walters while the Wildcats counter with senior righty Dustin Beggs. The game-two matchup will air live on SECN+.