Two-Run Homers in Ninth, 10th Lift Alabama to a Walk-off Win
March 15, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Down to its last out in the bottom of the ninth inning Austen Smith belted a two-run home run to tie the game and Mikey White hit a two-out walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift Alabama to a 5-3 series-deciding win over No. 22 Kentucky, keeping the Wildcats from its first series win at Alabama since 1993, on Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Kentucky (14-6, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) was an out away from winning its first series at Alabama in 21 years, before Smith cranked the first pitch he saw over the leftfield fence to even the game at 3-3. With two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning and with UK righty Spencer Jack on in relief, White sent a two-run homer on the first pitch over the leftfield fence for the 5-3 win.
UK starter Andrew Nelson turned in a career outing, working a career-long 8.2 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs – two earned – not issuing a walk and striking out five. He was an out away from a complete-game win, before Smith belted the tying homer.
UK freshman lefty Logan Salow (1-1) took over with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning, working one inning, striking out one and allowing the decisive run. Jack allowed the homer, his first career earned run.
Alabama (12-6, 2-1 SEC) starter Jon Keller – who entered the game with a win in all four of his outings and a 0.83 ERA – worked six innings, allowing eight hits and three runs, walking one and striking out four. Bama then turned to 2013 freshman All-America closer Ray Castillo, who worked three shutout innings, allowing three hits and one walk, striking out two. Thomas Burrows (3-0) picked up the win with a shutout 10th inning, a day after picking up the save in the opener.
Kentucky was led by the plate by a three-hit game from A.J. Reed, who cranked his NCAA-leading ninth homer of the year in the fifth inning. UK got two-hit games from Austin Cousino and Max Kuhn, with Micheal Thomas and Thomas Bernal adding hits.
UK will return to action on Tuesday, playing host to Western Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Alabama got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Georgie Salem singled through the left side to lead off, taking second on a sacrifice bunt. Ben Moore then chopped a roller to third base, with the throw sailing into the dirt for an error. Nelson then got Kyle Overstreet to hit a double play ball at third base, with a bobble on the exchange from the glove to the hand allowing Overstreet to beat out the back end of the double play, scoring Salem for the first run of the game.
Kentucky got on the board in the top of the fifth inning, as Cousino and Kuhn smacked two-out singles to bring Reed to the plate. Reed got in a two-strike hole, before drilling his ninth home run of the year, a no-doubt bomb over the rightfield fence. It marked the first homer allowed by Keller since March 2, 2013 vs. Tulane.
Alabama evened up the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, as Overstreet singled to centerfield with one out. After a pop out for the second out, Smith hit a two-run, game-tying homer.