The Bat Cats (32-25) entered their first round SEC Tournament tilt with the Alabama Crimson Tide (32-24) needed at least a win--possibly more--to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Instead, Gary Henderson’s squad left Hoover with a 5-2 loss and another disappointing end to the season.
Bama jumped all over Kentucky starter Zach Logue in the top of the 2nd inning, even after their leadoff hitter grounded out to start the inning. Logue gave up consecutive singles and then a throwing error loaded the bases. To make matters worse, Logue walked the next batter and just like that Kentucky was down 1-0. Another single--and another error--brought two more Tide runners home and the deficit reached three by the end of the inning.
Logue settled down after the wild start. He threw 5 ⅔ innings, three scoreless after the 2nd, gave up two earned runs on six hits to go along with two strikeouts.
While Logue settled Kentucky down on defense, the Wildcats’ bats stayed quiet for most of the game courtesy of sensational pitching from Alabama start Nick Eicholtz.
Evan White recorded the team’s first hit--a home run--in the 4th inning. Kentucky got runners on first and second base in the next inning but failed to bring them home.
After Justin Lewis successfully relieved Logue, Zack Pop came out to close the game. Pop got Kentucky through the 7th and 8th innings without giving up any more runs. Then Riley Mahan’s RBI double in the bottom of the 8th made it a one-run game, 3-2. As a result, Kentucky entered the final inning with a chance to win.
Pop forced a fly out in the top of the 9th to start the inning. Things looked good until a walk and a homer gave the Crimson Tide another three-run cushion that Kentucky simply could not overcome.
The team will have to wait until Monday to see if they are chosen for a slot in the NCAA tournament