Alabama breaks up sweep attempt for UK Baseball


Sophomore pitcher Kyle Cody pitches during the game between the University of Kentucky baseball team vs. Eastern Michigan University in Lexington , Ky.,on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff 

Chris Angolia

No. 13 UK Baseball headed into its Sunday matchup with Alabama looking to complete its first sweep in SEC play, but the Cats fell to the Tide by a final score of 2-1.

The game was a pitcher’s duel, with starters for each team allowing just four hits up until the eighth inning.

Kyle Cody turned in his third consecutive start Sunday, going 7.1 innings allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits and three strikeouts. Unfortunately for Cody, Crimson Tide starter Nick Eicholtz’s performance was a bit stronger. Eicholtz went 7.2 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and three strikeouts.

Eicholtz picked up the victory and moved to 2-1 on the year, whereas Cody’s record dropped to 3-2. The UK senior has a 4.89 ERA in 42.1 innings pitched and has allowed just one home run on the year.

Things looked good early, but after an early error in the first, the Cats found themselves trailing 1-0. Eicholtz then dialed in, throwing three perfect innings before allowing a single to Storm Wilson to start the fourth, but even then, UK could not get going offensively.

The Tide added some insurance in the eighth with a run scored by Georgie Salem. Alabama capitalized on two hits in the inning to build on its lead and put more pressure on the Cats heading into the bottom of the inning.

Down two with hits rare on the day, things did not look good for UK until the team mounted a little rally of its own to close out the inning.

With two outs in the inning, UK strung together three straight singles, cutting the Alabama lead to 2-1 with JaVon Shelby coming to the plate and two men on base. Shelby took a 1-0 pitch and sent one deep to left, but the ball got caught in the wind and fell in the warning track in left field, keeping the score at 2-1, which proved to be the final score.

Evan White picked up the lone RBI for UK on Sunday with an RBI single in the eighth, bringing him to 29 on the year — good enough for second on the team. White is also third on the team in batting average, hitting at .353.

Despite the loss, the Cats are now 4-0 in SEC series this year and sit inside the top three of conference standings.

UK has a crucial week ahead when it hosts in-state rivals Eastern Kentucky University on Tuesday and Louisville on Wednesday, a game rescheduled from last Wednesday due to rain. The Cats also travel to SEC-power and top-five Vanderbilt over the weekend.

At 22-9, the No. 13 Cats will look to start the week on the right foot on Tuesday against 14-17 EKU. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium.