FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas' play Friday night was almost as sloppy as the weather at Baum Stadium.
With a heavy rain falling the final five innings, the No. 10 Razorbacks couldn't overcome a slow start or an eight-run deficit, falling to Kentucky 12-8. The loss snapped a seven-game Arkansas winning streak.
"Kentucky did everything right," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "They played a great game and made some super plays in the field. We gave them an extra out in the first and that led to a two-run homer. The second they scored a couple of runs and the next thing you know through two and a half innings we're down 8-0. I told the team, ‘Maybe it was too much to overcome, but we tried.'
"It was just a game that got away from us early. Hopefully we'll play better tomorrow."
Senior starter Mike Bolsinger was handed his first loss of the season, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits through 2 1/3 innings on the mound.
"I don't know what to tell you," Van Horn said. "I have nothing positive to say, so I'm not going to say anything (about Bolsinger)."
Kentucky (20-7, 2-5 SEC) scored three runs in the first, two in the second and three in the third inning to build an 8-0 lead.
The Razorbacks (20-6, 4-3) bounced back in the bottom half of the third, recording five consecutive two-out hits to pull within 8-4. Brett Eibner, Zack Cox, Andy Wilkins and Tim Carver all had RBI singles in the stretch.
Kentucky looked to stretch out the lead again in the top of the fourth, but the half-inning ended when first baseman Gunner Glad was thrown out at home plate by Arkansas right fielder Jarrod McKinney.
The Razorbacks fed off that energy in the bottom of the fourth, with Collin Kuhn scoring on Cox' second RBI of the game to pull within 8-5. Arkansas chased Kentucky starter Logan Darnell in the inning, but reliever Nick Kennedy picked off Cox at first base before ever throwing a pitch to end the inning.
"The guy did a great job and Zack got picked," Van Horn said. "With two outs and runners on first and third we would have liked to have seen what the next batter could have done there."
Kentucky stretched the lead to 9-5 in the top of the sixth on a solo home run from Glad, one of three Wildcat home runs on the night.
"We knew they had power," Van Horn said. "We knew they would run if they had the chance. They put pressure on us. We made a run and were right there."
Arkansas pulled within 9-7 in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Razorbacks loaded the bases with nobody out in the frame. Monk Kreder hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Kuhn and a Wilkins fielder's choice scored Cox, but the inning ended when Carver struck out for the first of two times on the night.
"Kreder hit a ball as hard as you can hit it," Van Horn said. "If that ball goes to the gap we may win the game."
The Wildcats tacked on two in the eighth inning – first off Cox' second error of the night and the second on a Keenan Wiley RBI single – and scored another in the ninth on an Adam Burns solo home run to lead off the inning.
Wilkins' third RBI of the night and 37th of the season scored Kuhn in the bottom of the ninth, but the Razorbacks could get no closer.
The two teams will meet for the second of the three-game series Saturday at 2:05 p.m. Sophomore Drew Smyly will start for Arkansas while Kentucky will send freshman left-hander Taylor Rogers to the mound.
Kentucky 12, Arkansas 8
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