TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama got a home run robbing catch in rightfield, had a key runner’s interference call in the eighth, turned two double plays and a bases-loaded triple play, posting a 3-0 win over No. 20 Kentucky to open the Southeastern Conference schedule, on a pleasant Friday night in front of 4,258 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Kentucky (13-5, 0-1 SEC) fell victim to a dynamic pitching effort from Alabama junior right-hander Spencer Turnbull, who worked a shutout into the eighth inning while getting game-changing plays from his defense. The Crimson Tide turned a double play in the third and fourth innings, got a game-tying home run robbed by rightfielder Ben Moore in the fourth and turned a triple play to escape a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning, also getting a runners interference called during an eighth-inning UK rally.
UK starter A.J. Reed (3-1) suffered the hard-luck loss, allowing four hits and three runs in just over seven innings, walking four and striking out a season-high six. In addition, Reed – the NCAA leader in homers and RBI – had his game-tying home run robbed in the fourth inning by his Cape Cod League teammate, Moore. It marked the third straight quality start for Reed.
UK sophomore lefty Matt Snyder took over for Reed with one runner on and no outs in the eighth, allowing the run to score on a walk, balk and wild pitch. Freshman Zack Brown then came on to get the final out of the eighth.
UK collected four hits in the game, led by a two-hit game from Kyle Barrett, with Austin Cousino and Storm Wilson also notching singles.
A 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior, Turnbull (2-1) worked 7.1 dominant innings, allowing just four singles, walking five – including three two-out walks in the first inning, striking out three. Lefty Thomas Burrows came on with a runner on first base and one out, getting out of the eighth inning with two quick outs. Burrows worked the ninth to pick up his first save of the year.
The series will now conclude on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 1:30 p.m. ET at The Joe.
Alabama (11-5, 1-0 SEC) got on the board in the bottom of the second inning as Wade Wass doubled off the wall in right-centerfield, taking third on a ground ball to the right side. After Reed got Casey Hughston to strikeout for the second out, Will Haynie lofted a 1-2 single into right-centerfield, just out of the reach of a leaping UK second baseman Connor Heady, scoring Wass for a 1-0 UA lead.
Kentucky had its best chance in the top of the sixth inning as singles from Barrett and Cousino and a walk from Kuhn loaded the bases. Reed then smashed a line-drive right at Alabama shortstop Mikey White, with the ball fielded cleanly just above the infield dirt for an out. White then flipped it to second baseman Kyle Overstreet, who stepped on second base and fired to third base to get Barrett for the triple play, with Barrett and Cousino reacting like it was a ground ball.
UK started a rally in the top of the eighth inning as Wilson singled to lead off the game and bringing Heady to the plate. Heady laid down a great bunt but the throw from Haynie plunked him in the back of the helmet. Home plate umpire Scott Erby immediately called for runner’s interference, with Heady out on the call and Wilson forced to return to first base.
Haynie belted a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. After Reed walked Vincent and a sacrifice bunt moved him to second base, Snyder got White to fly out to centerfield, but on the pitch, a balk was called, allowing Vincent to take third and then score on a wild pitch during White’s at bat.