March 20, 2008
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Alabama baseball team had a long day at the ballpark Saturday, enduring a near six-hour-rain delay and a disappointing 15-2 loss to fourth-ranked Kentucky on a cold and wet day that turned to late night at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington.
The game began at 2 p.m. and was halted in the bottom of the fourth inning at 4:42 p.m. (EST), with the Wildcats leading 12-1. After a five-hour and four-minute rain delay, the game was finally resumed at 8:46 p.m.
Before the rain delay, Kentucky (17-0, 2-0 SEC) scored six runs in the second and third innings to take a 12-0 lead. UK scored all six runs, including five with two outs, off Tide starter Will Stroup. Kentucky centerfielder Collin Cowgill capped the inning with a three-run home run to center to make it 6-0. It was his fifth home run of the season.
The Wildcats added six more runs in the bottom of the third off three different UA pitchers. Chris McClendon and Marcus Nidiffer had RBI singles in the inning and Brian Spear added a two-run double for the Wildcats.
Stroup (2-1) was charged with seven runs and six hits in two innings and picked up his first loss of the season.
Alabama (9-7, 0-2 SEC) scored its only run in the top of the fourth inning before the rain delay. Sophomore left fielder Brandon May walked, moved to third on senior first baseman Matt Bentley's single and scored on sophomore right fielder Kent Matthes' ground out.
UK starter Scott Green held the Tide to one run on three hits in four innings before the rain delay. He did not pitch the mandatory five innings and received a no decision.
After the five-hour delay, Alabama sent sophomore left-hander Del Howell to the mound and he was clearly the bright spot of the day for the Tide. The Tuscaloosa native held the Cats to three runs on four hits in his five-inning relief stint with four walks and eight strikeouts. The five innings and eight strikeouts were both career highs.
UK left-hander Andrew Albers (4-0) earned his fourth win of the season with five scoreless innings in relief of Green. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck out five batters.
Alabama pushed its final run across in the ninth when Matthes singled and later scored on an error by third baseman Spencer Korus.
Kentucky tallied 13 hits in the win, including two each by Spear, Carroll, Wilkes, McClendon and Wade.
Matthes paced UA's five-hit attack with a pair of singles. May walked three times for the Tide.
Alabama and Kentucky conclude this three-game series with a 1 p.m. (EST) game Sunday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Crimson Tide is expected to send sophomore right-hander Austin Graham (3 G, 1 GS, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound for his first career start. UK will counter with right-hander Greg Dombrowski in the finale.