Kilcrease Pitches Bama to Series-Opening Win
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Junior Alex Meyer tossed 6.2 innings but the Alabama Crimson Tide plated two runs in the first inning and Bama senior starter Nathan Kilcrease handcuffed the Kentucky baseball team in a complete-game shutout, with UA winning the series opener 4-0, on a gorgeous Friday evening in front of 4,102 fans at “The Joe” at Thomas-Sewell Stadium.
Kentucky (14-9, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) allowed Alabama to plate two runs in the bottom of the first inning, using three hits in the frame and a two RBI single from Josh Rosecrans for the difference. Meyer was solid after the first and second inning, as he battled through bases loaded, one-out jams in both frames. Bama plated two insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh, with Kilcrease stopping UK’s rally in the top of the eighth inning with an inning-ending double play.
Making his sixth start of the year, Meyer charted a solid start despite not having his best control, going 6.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, walking a season-high six and striking out eight. Meyer (3-3) took the hard-luck loss, snapping a streak of two consecutive wins. UK turned to Alex Phillips out of the bullpen in the seventh, with Phillips getting UK out of the seventh and working a scoreless eighth to keep UK within striking distance.
Alabama (16-7, 3-1 SEC) star right-hander, Kilcrease, dueled with Meyer throughout the game, with Kilcrease going the complete-game nine innings, his first complete-game effort of the year. Kilcrease allowed only seven hits and no walks in the outing, striking out six.
UK was handcuffed throughout the game offensively, with the Wildcats mustering six hits off Kilcrease in the game, with third baseman Thomas McCarthy collecting a club-high three hits, while freshmen J.T. Riddle and Matt Reida each singled. Pinch hitter Luke Maile doubled in the eighth inning and Taylor Black extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single with one out in the eighth.
The series will resume on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. ET at Thomas-Sewell Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM, in addition to coverage on UKathletics.com. UK will start sophomore right-hander Jordan Cooper (1-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Alabama junior southpaw Adam Morgan (3-1, 4.23 ERA).
The Tide got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, plating two runs on three hits to take a 2-0 lead. Preseason All-American centerfielder Taylor Dugas led off the inning with an infield single, chopped high off the plate, with the speedy Dugas beating the throw. After a foul out, Jared Reaves drew a full-count walk and Austen Smith singled to rightfield to load the bases, with Riddle making a strong throw to keep the bases loaded. Rosecrans then scored two with a single through the gap in the infield on the left side.
Alabama plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh to stretch its lead and chance Meyer from the game. Bennett led off the inning with a single, with Meyer responding with back-to-back strikeouts, before Rosecrans singled to make it 3-0. UK then called on Phillips out of the bullpen and he allowed an inherited runner to score on a two-out single in front of Brian Adams in centerfield.