Cats fall to Alabama, NCAA hopes hanging by a thread

May 24, 2016 – #9 Alabama vs #8 Kentucky

Chris Angolia

UK baseball went into its first round matchup in the SEC Tournament with the Alabama Crimson Tide needing a win to improve its NCAA Tournament chances but came up short falling to the Tide 5-2.

In a game regarded by many college baseball analysts as a ‘play-in game’ for the bubble, the Cats now may find themselves on the outside of the tournament looking in with the loss.

Zach Logue was given the ball over 2-11 Zack Brown and delivered a very gritty performance in the loss.

Logue went 5.2 innings allowing three runs, two earned on six hits while adding two strikeouts.

Unfortunately for Logue, Crimson Tide starter Nick Eicholtz was just a bit better going 6.2 innings allowing only two runs on three hits.

Evan White and Riley Mahan drove in both runs for the Cats on the evening. White homered in the fourth and Mahan doubled in the seventh which scored Dorian Hairston and cut the Tide lead to one, but the rally came a little too late for UK.

The Tide would go on to add a two-run homer in the ninth for some insurance and go on to close it out 5-2. Alabama will now face the top-seeded Mississippi State Bulldogs in the second round of the SEC Tournament Wednesday.

As for the Cats, all they can do now is sit and watch things unfold until the NCAA Tournament selection show Monday. Head coach Gary Henderson, who has been under some scrutiny this year, believes that his squad should be a part of the 64 team field come Monday night.

“I think if you’re 15-15 in the SEC, you’re an NCAA tournament team. I think we are. I think they (Alabama) are,” Henderson said.

Although UK carries along a .500 record in the best conference in the country, that may not be enough to get them into the field. The team’s midweek losses this year have hurt its RPI drastically and that does not bode well for a team that sits firmly on the bubble.  

Come Monday, the 32-25 Cats will be in Lexington anxiously awaiting the committee’s decision. The selection show is set for noon on Monday and can be seen on ESPNU.