by: Alex Chasen
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The (#22) (20-2, 4-0) Kentucky Wildcats expand their winning streak to 16 games, beating the (#25) (18-5, 1-3) Alabama Crimson Tide 4-3 in 12 innings.
Alabama looked to start off this home series with a statement win after losing two out of three games in their first SEC matchup of the season on the road against rival (#2) Florida last week, but their subpar start against conference opponents continued.
Assistant Coach Jason Jackson on if he’s concerned about the lineup’s lack of production in their first four games against conference opponents.
“No, I just think it’s SEC play…, you’re going to see big arms every Friday night and more times than not I think this is what a Friday night in the SEC is going to look like, it’s going to come down to some little things like defending the bunt, getting all your runners in when you got a runner on third with less than two outs, those are the things it’s going to come down to,” Jackson said.
Through the first four innings of this game, it was all Kentucky, scoring two runs in the first and then adding another one in the fourth.
Alabama was able to show signs of life in the bottom of the fifth, getting their first hits of the night and getting one run across the plate.
An extremely windy second half of this game along with strong pitching performances stopped both teams’ power hitters from getting the ball over the fence which created flyout after flyout, making it difficult for any runs to be scored.
After a quiet three innings from both teams, Alabama tied the game up, scoring two runs in the ninth inning.
Both teams were held scoreless until the top of the 12th when Kentucky had runners on first and third, Freshman Alabama pitcher Riley Quick threw a wild pitch which allowed Wildcat short-stop Grant Smith to sprint across the plate for the lead.
Jackson discussed how the team felt after the highs and lows throughout this game.
“I think they were a little down, I think they knew they had some opportunities to win this game, but it’s a quick turnaround, so you break it down, talk about some things, go to bed, get up tomorrow and the score is back to 0-0…, and tomorrow we will be the ones to execute a little better, ” Jackson said.
Kentucky continues to hold the longest active winning streak in division one baseball and their longest in over 10 years when they started the 2012 season 22-0.
The Crimson Tide will look to tie this weekend’s series at one game piece on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT. Starting on the mound for Alabama will be right-handed sophomore Luke Holman (2-0, 1.06 era) while Kentucky will have left-handed senior Tyler Bosma (3-1, 4.63 era).