36 minutes ago
Isaiah Houde | SEC Network
HOOVER, Alabama — A towering night on the mound from a trio of pitchers and an incredible all-around performance from right fielder Andrew Pinckney led 9-seeded Alabama past 8-seeded Kentucky in the tournament opener. SEC baseball. at the Hoover Met.
The Tide earned their first shutout win in SEC tournament history.
Pitcher Hunter Furtado pitched five innings for the first time in his college career and finished with just two hits allowed. Kade Woods threw two perfect innings and Alton Davis II finished the game with a spectacular relief performance.
Kentucky nearly opened the scoring late in the second inning, but Pinckney downed United Kingdom’s Devin Burkes at home plate for the final outing of the inning. Burkes doubled earlier in the inning and advanced to third on a Bama throwing error, and had tried to score on Reuben Church’s flyout on the right.
The game was close as Burkes collided with Alabama catcher Mac Guscette at home plate, and Guscette was slow to get up. Kentucky disputed the appeal but it was upheld.
Two innings later, Pinckney broke the 0-0 tie by hitting a long two-run homer over the right-field fence, giving Alabama a 2-0 lead.
Pinckney, who received his Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year award before the game and was also recently named All-SEC second team, also had a spectacular slippery catch an inning later.
The Wildcats continued to struggle in the sixth inning, going just two hits after five. After a night of holding Kentucky scoreless for the first half of the game, Furtado was relieved by Woods.
Alabama put two batters on the base with no outs and none other than Pinckney came in to drive his third RBI and give his team a 3-0 lead. After a stellar seventh inning by Woods on the mound, the Wildcats entered the eighth inning without scoring yet.
Kentucky retired the No. 2 and 3 hitters in the top of the eighth, but Pinckney built on his incredible performance by drilling a ball down the left line and getting a brace — his third hit of the night. Despite two outs before Pinckney was at bat, the Tide put another runner on base and eventually scored Pinckney on a single by Ed James.
Alabama kept their arms cool in rotation by bringing in Davis II in the bottom of the eighth to close out the game. He did just that as the Wildcats were unable to fight back and prevent the first-round shutout loss.
HOW DID IT HAPPEN
T4 | Tommy Seidl was hit by a pitch to start the half inning at Alabama. One out later, Pinckney homered to right field. Alabama 2, Kentucky 0.
T6 | Seidl started the inning with a single down the middle. Drew Williamson followed with a double to left center, moving Seidl up to third. Pinckney reached base with an error and Seidl scored, while Williamson finished third. Alabama 3, Kentucky 0.
T8 | Pinckney doubled with a shot to center field. Colby Shelton was walked to the next bat. Johnson picked right center and tagged Pinckney. Alabama 5, Kentucky 0.
Alabama (39-17) advanced to the second round in a tough game against 1-seeded Florida (42-13). The first pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and the game will be televised on SEC Network .
Kentucky (36-18) will await the announcement of the 2023 NCAA Division I baseball tournament.