In the ninth, Michael Williams took over at catcher for Kentucky, batting in the eighth spot. Alabama’s Jake Smith reached on a one-out single and took second on a wild pitch. David Kindred singled off the glove of pitcher Matt Little, Smith moving to third. Brett Booth came in to run for Kindred, but Little immediately picked him off, 1-3-6. Andrew Miller’s infield single, a high hopper over Little’s head, scored Smith. Miller moved up a base on Brock Bennett’s single to right. Little plunked Taylor Dugas, loading the bases and prompting another pitching change — RH Braden Kapteyn, who was already in the lineup at DH. Josh Rutledge swung at Kapteyn’s first pitch, flying out to second baseman Chris Bisson in shallow right. In the bottom of the ninth, Cory Farris flied to center. Bisson doubled to right-center, bringing Chad Wright to the plate with the potential tying run. Wright lined out to left, though. On a 3-2 pitch, Gunner Glad took a called third strike on the inside corner.
Alabama 11 runs, 14 hits 2 errors
Kentucky 9 runs, 17 hits, 2 errors
Eight inning: Alabama takes lead with 5-run inning
Cory Farris stayed in the game for UK, taking Neiko Johnson’s spot in right field. Jon Kelton led off the inning for Alabama with a double to right-center. Jake Smith singled up the middle, advancing Kelton to third. RH Jordan Cooper came in from the UK bullpen, taking over from Nick Kennedy. David Kindred’s double down the right-field line scored Kelton and moved Smith the third. Andrew Miller’s infield single to shortstop scored Smith. Brock Bennett put down a bunt, fielded by Cooper. Chris Bisson, covering at first, simply dropped Cooper’s toss for an error and loading the bases with nobody out. Everybody moved up on Taylor Dugas’ bounce-out to second base, Kindred crossing the plate to cut UK’s lead to 9-8. RH Matt Little came in from the UK bullpen. Josh Rutledge blooped a two-run single to center, giving the Tide a 10-9 lead. A wild pickoff attempt by Little moved Rutledge to second. Little retired the next two batters, though, to hold Alabama to nine batters in the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Alabama went with its sixth pitcher of the day, RH Nathan Kilcrease. Andy Burns just missed a homer, sending left-fielder Kelton to the warning track for a long out. Braden Kapteyn walked, then advanced two bases on Keenan Wiley’s single to right. Taylor Black took a called third strike. With Lance Ray hitting for Marcus Nidiffer, Wiley stole second without a play. But Ray struck out. After eight innings: Alabama 10, Kentucky 9.
Seventh inning: Both sides strand runners
Alabama’s Taylor Dugas knocked a one-out single to right. UK Coach Gary Henderson called on RH Nick Kennedy to relieve LH Mike Kaczmarek. A wild pitch put Dugas in scoring position. One out later, Ross Wilson battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk. Kennedy got Clay Jones to bounce to short for an inning-ending force play at second. Cory Farris pinch-hit for Neiko Johnson and flied out to open the bottom of the inning. Chris Bisson drew a walk. One out later, he stole second and took third on a wild pitch. However, Gunner Glad struck out. After seven innings: Kentucky 9, Alabama 5.
Sixth inning: Slam highlights Bama’s 5-run inning
After a long rest in the dugout, RH Alex Meyer walked Alabama leadoff man Taylor Dugas and added a base via a wild pitch. Josh Rutledge singled up the middle, moving Dugas to third. After a visit from Coach Gary Henderson, Meyer got Ross Wilson on a fly to shallow right, but walked Clay Jones to load the bases. Henderson then went to the bullpen, calling on LH Mike Kaczmarek. He hit Jon Kelton with a pitch, forcing in Dugas with the Tide’s first run. Jake Smith then ripped a 1-2 pitch over the center-field wall, his second career grand slam against UK and his fourth slam overall. Kaczmarek got the next two batters to end a five-run, two-hit inning. In the bottom half, Alabama went to its fifth pitcher of the game, RH Tyler White. Braden Kapteyn led off with his third hit of the game, a single to center. Kapteyn moved up on Keenan Wiley’s bunt and Taylor Black’s groundout, but was stranded at third. After six innings: Kentucky 9, Alabama 5.
Fifth inning: UK bats around in six-run inning
Wildcats RHP Alex Meyer continued to cruise, setting Alabama down in order. Then UK built on its lead. Andy Burns led off with a triple to the left-field corner, then came home on Braden Kapteyn’s second RBI-single of the game. Keenan Wiley beat out a bunt single, putting runners on first and second. Taylor Black also put down a bunt — which LHP David Head threw into right field for a run-scoring, two-base error. When the throw to second was bobbled by shortstop Josh Rutledge, for a second error on the play, Wiley also scored. The Crimson Tide changed pitchers, bringing in LH Matt Taylor. He beaned Marcus Nidiffer. Neiko Johnson’s bunt moved runners to second and third. One out later, Chad Wright came through with his third hit of the game, a two-run single to left, and took second base on the throw. Wright scored on Gunner Glad’s third hit of the game, a single up the middle. Burns, who led off the inning, lined out to right. After five innings: Kentucky 9, Alabama 0.
Fourth inning: Wildcats stretch lead to 3-0
Alabama got its second hit of the game, by Jon Kelton, and like the first one it was a double. It came with two outs, though, and RH Alex Meyer struck out Jake Smith for the second time to strand Kelton. Taylor Black led off the UK half of the inning with his fourth homer of the season, the ball glancing off the top of the left-field wall. Marcus Nidiffer followed with a single to left, his second hit in as many at-bats. That knocked out RH Tucker Hawley, who was replaced by LH David Head. Neiko Johnson bunted Nidiffer to second. One out later, Chad Wright sent an RBI-double to the right-field corner. Wright was stranded. After four innings: Kentucky 3, Alabama 0.
Third inning: UK strikes first
Alabama’s Taylor Dugas drew a two-out, full-count walk. He moved to second on a balk by Alex Meyer. But Josh Rutledge, who doubled in the first inning, grounded out to shortstop. UK got a two-out single by Gunner Glad, making him 2-for-2. Andy Burns walked on four pitches. Braden Kapteyn’s single to left plated Glad, moved Burns to second and finished Bama LH Taylor Wolfe. Coach Mitch Gaspard summoned RH Tucker Hawley from the bullpen. He got Keenan Wiley to fly to center. After three innings, Kentucky 1, Alabama 0.
Second inning: Meyer in control
RH Alex Meyer retired Alabama in order. Included was a strikeout, his third of the game. LH Taylor Wolfe set down the first two Kentucky batters, before Marcus Nidiffer doubled to left. Neiko Johnson struck out to end the threat. After two innings, no score.
First inning: Cats waste scoring chance
Alabama got a one-out double from Josh Rutledge, but RH Alex Meyer was otherwise in contol and Rutledge was stranded. In the bottom of the inning, Chris Bisson led off with a swinging-bunt single and advanced to second on Chad Wright’s single up the middle. Bisson was picked off by catcher Brock Bennett, a play that would end up costing a run. Gunner Glad made it three singles in a row, lining a 3-2 pitch to left. Wright needed every bit of his considerable speed to make it safely to third. Glad stole second as Andy Burns took a full-count pitch for a strike. Braden Kapteyn flied out to right. After one inning, no score.
Pre-game: UK goes for sweep
It’s a beautiful Sunday for baseball in the Cliff Hagan Stadium neighborhood — sunny, 67 degrees with a 6 mph breeze from right field to left.
Kentucky (21-11, 4-7 Southeastern Conference) is trying for a three-game sweep of Alabama (20-11, 4-7). Game time is 1 p.m.
The Wildcats pulled out a 7-6 victory Friday night and won 8-2 Saturday.
ALABAMA — CF Taylor Dugas; SS Josh Rutledge; 2B Ross Wilson; 1B Clay Jones; LF Jon Kelton; 3B Jake Smith; DH David Kindred; RF Andrew Miller; C Brock Bennett. Pitching: LH Taylor Wolfe (2-1, 4.01).
KENTUCKY — 2B Chris Bisson; LF Chad Wright; 1B Gunner Glad; 3B Andy Burns; DH Braden Kapteyn; CF Keenan Wiley; SS Taylor Black; C Marcus Nidiffer; RF Neiko Johnson. Pitching: RH Alex Meyer (4-2, 7.64).
UMPIRES – HP Richie Tallent; 1B Donald Gilmore; 3B Mark Chapman.