Cats pick up first Friday SEC win

Chris Angolia

No. 13 UK baseball was victorious Friday night over Alabama by a final score of 3-2. The win marks UK’s first Friday night win in SEC play this year.

Junior Zack Brown grabbed his first SEC victory going seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out three. After a 0-3 start in conference play Brown is now back in the win column and will look to improve moving forward.

“It’s been a long time (since I won an SEC game),” Brown said regarding his rough start in conference play.

Although Brown has struggled, both Dustin Beggs and Kyle Cody have picked him up helping UK win its first three SEC series of the year.

“The very next day (Beggs came) out and throwing strikes. He’s won seven in a row so you can’t complain about that,” Brown said about being picked up by Beggs. “We got Dustin and Kyle coming for us the next two days. Dustin is 7-0 and he’s doing great. Kyle is starting to get on a roll. Hopefully we can keep this thing going.”  

JaVon Shelby led UK on offense, going 1-4 with a 2 RBI double, one that would prove to be the game winner in the sixth. Unfortunately for Gunnar McNeill and Evan White, both of their 20 plus game hitting streaks came to an end Friday. Storm Wilson also added two hits and a run scored in the game.

Freshman Sean Hjelle picked up his fifth save of the year, which is good for eighth in the SEC and 14 in UK single season history.

For the Tide, Geoffrey Bramblett got the start and was rolling early. At one point, Bramblett retired 15 of 16 batters after allowing a leadoff single in the first inning, but slipped up in the sixth allowing three runs giving him the loss.

The Cats will now turn to undefeated Dustin Beggs to clinch the series on Saturday. Beggs heads in to Saturday’s start 7-0 with a 2.74 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 49.1 innings of work. The Tide will counter with sophomore Jake Walters who is 2-3 with a 2.54 ERA and 46 strikeouts over 39 innings.

Game two of the series between the Crimson Tide (18-12) and No. 19 UK (21-8) is set for 2 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium.