TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Zach Haake took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and allowed just two hits for the game but Alabama capitalized on his final pitch of the day to claim a 4-2 victory at Thomas-Sewell Stadium and clinch the weekend series.
The Crimson Tide’s Hunter Alexander skied a fly ball high into the air and watched as it narrowly cleared the left field fence for a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning, providing all the scoring it would need. The Tide had loaded the bases with three walks in the inning, including a pair with two outs.
Up to that point, Haake had been dominant despite occasional bouts of wildness. He didn’t allow a hit through 6.2 innings or much hard contact and when he did walk hitters he either did so with two out or erased them with double play balls. No Alabama runner reached third base until the Tide’s final at bat.
For the second straight day the Kentucky offense found little more than frustration. A team that works counts and controls the strike zone again struggled with a zone that appeared larger than normal and when the Cats did hit the baseball hard it was consistently right at Alabama defenders, short-circuiting potential rallies.
The Cats (18-9, 2-6 SEC) will send junior right-hander Justin Lewis to the mound on Sunday looking to avoid a sweep heading into a big week that sees Louisville and South Carolina come to Lexington for a total of four games.
Top 7th – Luke Heyer doubled off the CF wall. Kole Cottam singled up the middle, scoring Heyer. UK 1, Alabama 0.
Bottom 8th – Walker McCleney, Chandler Avant and Chandler Taylor walked to load the bases. Hunter Alexander hit a grand slam to LF. Alabama 4, UK 1.
Top 9th – Troy Squires, Kole Cottam and pinch hitter Ryan Shinn singled to load the bases. Pinch hitter T.J. Collett walked, scoring Squires. Alabama 4, UK 2.
- Several Cats extended impressive reached base safely streaks…
o Senior INF Luke Becker has reached in all 27 games.
o Senior C/1B Troy Squires has reached in 26 of 27 games this season.
o Junior OF Ben Aklinski has reached in 21 of the last 22 games.
- Junior RHP Zach Haake pitched 7.2 innings, giving up two hits, four runs, walking nine and striking out five.
o The 7.2 inning were a career-high for Haake.
o He did not allow a hit through 6.2 innings.
o The 115 pitches are a career-high.
o The five strikeouts are a UK career-high.
- Junior C/1B Kole Cottam went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
o He has 11 multi-hit games this season and 37 for his career.
- Senior INF Luke Becker had two hits for the second straight day.
o Becker now has nine multi-hit games this season and 36 for his career.