Alabama Drops Extra-Inning Marathon to Kentucky in Sunday Series Finale
Alabama and Kentucky battled for 13.0 innings in Sunday’s series rubber match, with the Wildcats ultimately coming through to defeat the Crimson Tide, 3-2.
Alabama (47-6, 15-6 SEC) found itself in an early 2-0 hole after Kentucky (32-19, 14-10 SEC) scored runs in the first and third innings. Two runs in the sixth, including an RBI double from senior Reagan Dykes, tied the game up and neither team scored in the seventh, forcing extra innings. After five scoreless innings, an RBI single by the Wildcats in the top of the 13th broke the tie. The Tide got the potential tying run on base in the bottom half but could not bring her in.
The 13 innings marks the longest game for Alabama since playing 14 at LSU on April 8, 2011. Junior Elissa Brown was 3-for-6 in the leadoff spot, also swiping a pair of bases. Her first stolen bases marked the 100th of her career, becoming the seventh player in program history to reach the milestone. Of the six previous to do so, only three hit triple digits in their junior season.
Dykes also caught a runner stealing in the ninth, tying her with Kendall Dawson (2009-12) for the career record at Alabama with 44. Dykes and junior Bailey Hemphill tallied the two other multi-hit efforts for Alabama in the loss. Freshman Montana Fouts (13-3) took the loss in relief, with the go-ahead run as her only run allowed over 10.2 innings pitched.
Kentucky struck first in the opening frame on a solo home run from Abbey Cheek. Alabama got the potential tying run into scoring position the bottom half, but was picked off at second before a strikeout ended the inning. In the top of the third, a leadoff single and some aggressive running on a sac bunt got the runner all the way to third and a single to right made it a 2-0 Kentucky lead.
With a runner at second in the bottom of the fourth and two out, sophomore KB Sides knocked a single up the middle but a good throw from the outfield caught the runner at the plate to end the inning and keep the Tide out of the run column. Alabama looked to start a rally in the bottom of the sixth, with Brown leading off the inning with her third single of the day before stealing second. After a popup, a single from junior Bailey Hemphill put runners at the corners. A slow roller to second wasn’t enough to turn a double play for Kentucky as the runner at third came home on the RBI fielder’s choice to make it 2-1. Dykes roped one into the left field gap and fellow senior Merris Schroder hustled all the way around from first to score and tie the game at 2-2.
Both teams went down in order in the seventh, sending the game to extras. Kentucky left four on base over the next five innings before breaking through in the top of the 13th with an RBI single to move ahead 3-2. A one-out bunt from freshman Skylar Wallace but her on as the potential tying run to turn it back to the top of the order, but a force out and lineout ended the rally as Kentucky held on to win and take the series.
Alabama concludes the regular season next weekend with a three-game series in Baton Rouge, La., against LSU (40-12, 14-7 SEC) starting Friday, May 3 at 6 p.m. CT live on ESPN2.
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