Tide Facing Elimination After Opening 9-3 Loss to Kentucky

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) -- Chris McClendon went 2-for-3, knocking in three runs while Aaron Levitt settled down after a shaky start to pitch a complette game as Kentucky defeated Alabama, 9-3, in the first round of the SEC tournament in a game that went into early Thursday morning.

The Crimson Tide (32-25) opened the game with four consecutive singles off Lovett (5-1) to jump out to a quick 2-0 lead.

The Wildcats (42-15) answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the 1st inning, both unearned due to a two-out error by Alabama shortstop Josh Rutledge.

Tyler Odle's towering home run to right field in the 2nd inning put Alabama back on top 3-2, but Kentucky tied the game in the 4th on an RBI double by Brian Spear.

The Wildcats broke the game open over the next two innings, scoring twice in the 5th and 4 more times in the 6th to take a 9-3 lead. Both of their 5th-inning runs came with 2 outs, while 3 of their runs in the 6th were unearned following another Alabama error.

Lovett struck out 12 and surrendered only 4 hits after the opening inning.

Jimmy Nelson (3-3) gave up 5 hits and 5 runs - 3 earned in 4 2/3 innings to take the loss for Alabama.

Kentucky will play Ole Miss in the 2nd round in a game scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Alabama will play top-seeded Georgia beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday in an elimination game.