March 26, 2011
Box Score | Quotes/Notes
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - A walk-off single from late-inning replacement Brett Booth helped propel the Alabama baseball team (17-7, 4-1 SEC) to a 6-5 win over the Kentucky Wildcats (14-10, 2-3 SEC), Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Booth, who came in as a defensive replacement at third base in the top of the eighth, got his first Southeastern Conference hit of the season when it counted. With runners on first and second, a liner to deep left-center field fell just past the diving UK center fielder to bring home the Tide win.
"We missed some opportunities, we had some chances to put the game away throughout, but the bottom line is we found a way to win," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Every SEC game is tough and different guys have to step up. Brett Booth comes in, he's been struggling, and finds a way to get the big hit with two outs for us. Sometimes it doesn't look as pretty as you want it to but the bottom line is the `W' at the end of the day."
Jonathan Smart (1-0) earned the win after coming in to shut down the Wildcats in order in the top of the ninth. UK reliever Trevor Gott (1-2) took the loss for the Wildcats.
Kentucky kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the second. A grounder that resulted in a fielder's choice force out helped cross a run, setting the score at 1-0.
Alabama returned to score some runs of its own in the bottom of the third. A bases-loaded single from Austen Smith helped bring across the first run of the inning. Josh Rosecrans immediately followed him up by plating another run for the Tide. Next up, with runners on first and third, Andrew Miller ripped a double to center to clear the bases and add two more to the Tide's lead. Two batters later, James Tullidge ripped a single through the left side to score another run - the Tide's fifth of the inning - setting the score at 5-1.
The Wildcats answered in the top of the seventh. Back-to-back bases-loaded singles from UK crossed one run each time. Kentucky scored another run on a sinking liner that Miller dove for and made a spectacular catch to save the Tide from greater damage. During the next at-bat, a wild pitch allowed another Wildcat to cross to even the score at 5-5 to factor Adam Morgan out of any decision.
In the ninth, a leadoff single from Jared Reaves and an error by the UK second baseman allowed runners to reach on first and second with two outs. Booth stepped to the plate and lined the first pitch he saw to left-center, past the diving fielder to bring home the run, the victory and the series for Alabama.
Alabama returns to action on Sunday looking for the weekend sweep of the Wildcats after already clinching the series. The third game will feature two sophomores with the Tide throwing righty Tucker Hawley (4-1) while the Wildcats counter with lefty Taylor Rogers (2-1). The game is scheduled for a 1:05 p.m. CT start Sewell-Thomas Stadium.