Alabama dropped its series opener to Kentucky Friday night at Rhoads Stadium, 4-1.

Alabama (46-5, 14-5 SEC) and Kentucky (31-18, 13-9 SEC) were both scoreless through the first four innings before the Wildcats got on the board with three runs in the fifth. Kentucky tacked on another in the sixth before junior Bailey Hemphill erased the shutout with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, part of a 3-for-3 day at the plate. The home run was her 21st of the season, tying her for second in UA single-season history and just four behind Kelly Kretschman’s SEC record of 25. Alabama got a runner on base in the bottom of the seventh but could not complete the rally.

Behind the dish, senior Reagan Dykes caught a runner stealing in the second inning, putting her one shy of Kendall Dawson’s career record of 44. Freshman Montana Fouts (13-2) took the loss in the circle.

The two teams cruised through three scoreless innings before Kentucky threatened in the top of the fourth, loading the bases on a single and back-to-back errors to start the inning. A force out at home went for out number one and senior Reagan Dykes unloaded on a throw to third to pick off the runner for out number two. Fouts caught the final batter swinging to get out of the jam and keep the game at 0-0.

Kentucky loaded the bases with nobody out again in the fifth but broke into the run column this time with a two-run double down the left-field line. A sac fly in the next at-bat made it 3-0 before a fly ball and a runner-left-early call at third ended the half-inning.

The Wildcats made it a four-run game with a two-out RBI double in the sixth and, following a pitching change, a fly ball sent it to the bottom half of the inning. With one out in the sixth, Hemphill erased the shutout with a solo home run, but that was the only run the Tide could muster over the final two innings.

Game two of the weekend series is set for an 8 p.m. CT start Saturday, April 27 live on ESPN.

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