Baseball defeats Kentucky, advances in SEC tournament in historic win


(CW/ Jennifer Stroud)

Michael DeVito, Contributing Writer

On Tuesday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide opened the SEC tournament in the single-elimination bracket against the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky and Alabama faced off against each other in March when Kentucky took two out of three from the Crimson Tide.  

Alabama got the last laugh in May, though, defeating and eliminating the Kentucky Wildcats in the first round of the SEC tournament with the program’s first shutout win, advancing the Crimson Tide to the double-elimination stage.  

Left-handed pitcher Hunter Furtado, who entered the game with a 5.40 ERA, toed the slab for the Crimson Tide. Despite allowing a one-out walk, Furtado kept the Wildcats off the board in the first inning.  

In the top of the second, a long fly ball to right field off the bat of Kentucky infielder Reuben Church resulted in  right-fielder Andrew Pinckney tracking down Kentucky catcher Devin Burkes for a catch ’em out, throw ’em out double play. Crimson Tide catcher Mac Guscette was banged up on the play but stayed in the game.  

Alabama struck first when Pinckney launched a two-run home run to right field in the top of the fourth inning. In the bottom half, Pinckney once again flashed the leather as he made a sliding catch on the run-in foul territory to the applause of Furtado from the mound.  

Kentucky came close to tying the game in the fifth when, with a runner on first, Kentucky outfielder Jackson Gray launched a deep fly ball to right center field that fell inches short of the wall. Furtado stayed scoreless through five innings for the Crimson Tide.  

Back-to-back singles from outfielder Tommy Seidl and infielder Drew Williamson set up the star of the show, Pinckney, with another RBI. His line drive to third scored Seidl. Williamson moved to third while Pinckney advanced to second on a throwing error. In the top of the sixth, Alabama’s lead extended to 3-0.  

Right-handed pitcher Kade Woods relieved Furtado after five innings of shutout baseball and held Kentucky to just two hits. Furtado’s final line was 5.0 innings pitched, zero runs, two walks and two strikeouts on 77 pitches.  

To add on to the Alabama lead, Infielder Ed Johnson came through in the top of the eighth with an RBI single to right center field. Johnson brought home Pinckney, bringing the Crimson Tide’s lead to 4-0.  

“We’re just playing no pressure, playing for the guy beside us and just taking everything a pitch at a time. When you do that and you just play as a team, good things happen, and we’ll just be happy to be playing tomorrow,” Pinckney said. 

Out of the bullpen, left-handed pitcher Alton Davis II got the nod for a six-out save for the Crimson Tide. Davis closed the door on the Wildcats’ SEC tournament, sealing a 4-0 Alabama victory.  

“We got a huge start from (Hunter) Furtado,” Jason Jackson, interim head coach for the Crimson Tide, said. “We got a huge home run from (Andrew) Pinckney. Pitching, hitting and I thought we played really good defense. It was a pretty clean game overall. I was proud of our guys for the way they played. They’ve been awesome,” 

With the victory over Kentucky, Alabama will move into the double-elimination bracket and will face the Florida Gators as the away team. First pitch is slated for Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. C.T.