UK baseball advanced to the second round of the SEC Tournament Tuesday night after defeating No. 24 Alabama 7-1 in the opening single-elimination round.
The Cats rode the arms of juniors A.J. Reed (11-2) and Andrew Nelson. Reed pitched five strong innings, holding the Crimson Tide to one run on six hits before handing the ball to Nelson for the final four innings. Nelson allowed two hits in route to his first career save. With the win, Reed now holds third place in wins in UK single-season history.
UK pounced on Alabama starter Nick Eicholtz early in the second inning scoring two on senior shortstop Matt Reida’s sacrifice fly and an RBI single by junior centerfielder Austin Cousino. Eicholtz lasted just one inning, leaving the game after allowing two runs and four walks.
The Crimson Tide scored a run in the third but the Cats responded with two runs in the fourth, six and one run in the eighth inning to pull away and send Alabama home to await their fate in the NCAA Tournament.
For the day, UK had nine hits. Cousino had three RBIs, junior Max Kuhn added one as did sophomore Thomas Bernal. Freshman JaVon Shelby, Reida and Storm Wilson all had two-hit games.
UK will face No. 12 Florida in the double-elimination second round Wednesday with the first pitch at 5:30 p.m. In April, the Cats posted a series win against the Gators in Lexington.