After rain delayed the start to Alabama’s opening game of the SEC Tournament, the Crimson Tide pitching staff delivered their first shutout in SEC Tournament history beating Kentucky 4-0, advancing to the double-elimination part of the bracket.

Prior to the game, Alabama right fielder Andrew Pinckney was recognized by the SEC as a co-scholar athlete of the year, and it didn’t take long for him to show off his on-the-field abilities. In the bottom of the second inning, Kentucky was threatening to score when a runner tried to tag from third on a deep fly ball to right field. Pinckney made the catch just shy of the warning track and fired a bullet to home plate to gun down the runner at home and end the inning. In the top of the fourth with the game still scoreless, Pinckney showed off his power at the plate, crushing a line drive two-run home run to deep right field to put Alabama up 2-0. Pinckney would finish the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored providing all the offense that was needed for the Crimson Tide.

Interim head coach Jason Jackson turned to junior left-hander Hunter Furtado, who hadn’t pitched in two weeks, to take the mound for the Crimson Tide in a loser-goes-home scenario, and it was the right choice. Furtado pitched his best game of the season, giving up just two hits over five scoreless innings in his first win of the season. Alabama’s bullpen stepped up as well to close the game out, getting two scoreless innings of relief from Kade Woods and two scoreless innings from Alton Davis, earning his eighth save of the season.

Since the firing of Brad Bohannon on May 4, Alabama has gone 9-2 under Jackson. With the win over Kentucky Tuesday night, Alabama extended its win streak to six games, outscoring its opponents 48-5 during that period.

Alabama hasn’t hosted a regional since 2006, and the win Tuesday is a big step in making it possible to end that drought. The victory over Kentucky advances Alabama out of the single-elimination bracket and into the double-elimination bracket, giving them at least two more games to boost their resume before the NCAA Tournament selections begin.

Alabama will face the No.1 seed Florida on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., needing just one more win to reach 40 wins on the season.

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