Standout Pitching, Timely Hitting Helps Alabama Baseball to 4-2 Win over No. 7 Kentucky on Friday
Alabama baseball paired a standout pitching effort with timely hitting to secure the 4-2, series-opening win over seventh-ranked Kentucky on Friday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the victory, the Crimson Tide improves 17-10 on the season, including a 2-5 mark in conference play.
“It was a really good win for us,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “It certainly wasn’t perfect. We haven’t swung the bats great the past week and a half, but tonight we strung together a lot of really tough, quality at-bats. We had a lot of hard contact against one of the best pitchers in the country. Obviously, Cobie (Vance) got a big hit late to increase the lead from one to two runs. Sam Finnerty gave us a great start, then Brock Guffey gave us a big inning, and Deacon Medders was outstanding at the end. It was just a really good all-around team win for us tonight over a very strong opponent.”
Alabama received a solid pitching performance from its starter, Sam Finnerty (3-1). The junior tossed 5.2 innings, allowing two runs – only one earned – on eight hits, while issuing three walks and striking out three for his third win of the season. The tandem of freshman Brock Guffey and sophomore Deacon Medders combined for the final 3.1 innings, holding the high-powered Wildcat offense scoreless. Medders collected his team-leading third save of the season, working the final 2.0 frames, to secure the win for UA.
Kentucky got out front first in Friday’s opener, using a single and then an error in the next at-bat to reach a pair, before a two-out single to center scored the game’s first run. The Wildcats would not hold their lead for long, as Alabama answered with two runs in the bottom of the second.
The Tide began the second with a single from senior Chandler Avant. Following the leadoff man was Joe Breaux, with the junior finding the corner in right for an RBI-triple to even things up at one apiece. A groundout in the next at-bat brought in Breaux from third and gave the Crimson Tide the 2-1 advantage after two innings of play.
Alabama added to its lead with one more run in the bottom of the third. A one-out single from junior Cobie Vance started the run-scoring sequence for UA before a double from fellow junior Chandler Taylor put both runners in scoring positon. Avant brought Vance in two pitches later, grounding out to second to widen the gap to 3-1 through three.
Both teams went scoreless until the top of the sixth when Kentucky cut the lead in half with a solo home run. Alabama would regain its two-run advantage one frame later in the bottom of the seventh. Freshman Sam Praytor led things off with a single through the left side. A sac bunt and a groundout to first moved him to third, before a single back up the chute from Vance added one for the Crimson Tide to make it a 4-2 contest, the eventual final.
Senior Hunter Alexander led the Tide in hitting, finishing 3-for-4 with a double and one RBI. The trio of Breaux, Praytor and Vance each contributed multi-hit efforts, all finishing with two hits and one run scored. Vance and Breaux also added one RBI apiece with Breaux notching a double and triple.
Alabama looks for the series win on Saturday afternoon in game two of the series, which is scheduled for a 2 p.m. CT first pitch on SEC Network+. The Crimson Tide will call on senior right-hander Jake Walters in the start while the Wildcats will counter with junior righty Zach Haake.