Alabama and Kentucky split doubleheader in wildly different affairs
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Alabama and Kentucky split two games in a Saturday doubleheader, as the Wildcats edged out the Tide 2-1 in Game 1 pitcher's duel before Alabama battled to a 7-3 win in Game 2 courtesy of some late-game heroics by Haylie McCleney.
After a close loss in Game 1, Alabama (28-9, 9-5 SEC) won Game 2 to split with Kentucky (25-10, 4-7 SEC). Alabama's pitchers combined to allow just five runs, four earned, over 13 innings as all three saw action between the two games. McCleney went hitless in the opening game before going 2-for-3 in the second game, including a huge three-run homer in the top of the seventh that gave Alabama the lead in the eventual 7-3 victory. Andrea Hawkins, Marisa Runyon and Demi Turner each earned a pair of hits between the two games.
The opening game of the two-game slate was a low-scoring pitcher's duel, as the Wildcats edged out Alabama 2-1.
Alabama took the early lead on an RBI single by Runyon in the first inning, but a pair of runs in the fourth inning by Kentucky proved enough to give the Wildcats the narrow victory. Tide starter Alexis Osorio (11-5) took the tough-luck loss in the circle, allowing just the two runs, one of which was unearned on two hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
Meagan Prince (10-4) threw 5.1 innings in the win for Kentucky, limiting Alabama to just one run on three hits, while Kelsey Nunley earned her fourth save of the season after getting the Wildcats out of the seventh-inning jam.
After falling in the opening game, Alabama battled Kentucky in a back-and-forth Game 2, as a three-run homer by McCleney in the seventh inning gave Alabama the lead in the eventual 7-3 victory.
Alabama used all three of its pitchers in the victory, as Sydney Littlejohn (12-1) ended up as the winning pitcher as she was the pitcher of record before McCleney hit the clutch three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning to break the 3-3 tie. McCleney's home run was one of three hit in the game for Alabama, which is tied for the most in a game this season for Alabama. Danae Hays hit the first long ball in the third inning before McCleney and Runyon launched a pair in the seventh inning. Hawkins also went 2-for-3 out of the nine hole, driving in a run and scoring once herself.
Nunley (11-6) took the loss in the circle for Kentucky, throwing 5.0 innings with five runs allowed on seven hits. Breanne Ray was 3-for-4 batting fifth while Maisie Steed drove in two of the Wildcats' three runs, going 2-for-3 out of the two-hole.