Auburn used seven pitchers in a game that included a rain delay of one hour and 17 minutes. Kentucky starter A.J. Reed pitched eight innings and gave up seven hits to earn the victory.
The Tigers fell to 26-24 with the loss and 9-16 in the SEC while UK?improved to 29-19 overall and 11-14 in the SEC.
"You have got to give them credit--they just got hits," Auburn coach Sunny Golloway said of the home team. "They got hit by a pitch. They did what they had to do to score runs against us."
In the second the Wildcats opened the inning with singles by Ka'ai Tom and Storm Wilson. They stayed at first and second until Matt Reida's two-out double scored Tom and prompted the Tigers to pull starting pitcher Michael O'Neal in favor of Jay Wade, who shut down the threat.
Wade was replaced by lefty Daniel Koger heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. He was greeted by a single from Tom and after going 2-0 to Wilson the Tigers went to the bullpen again with Reid Carter replacing Koger.
Carter allowed a ground ball that hit the runner for an out as he tried to slide into second base. Austin then gunned down Wilson trying to steal at second base for out two helping end the threat.
Auburn took the lead with a two-out rally in the sixth inning started by a single to left by Logan. Tomscha then singled to right field before Tella hit a double into the right field corner to score two runs. Ebert ended the inning with a fly out.
The Wildcats trimmed the lead to 3-2 with a solo homer by Reed in the bottom of the sixth inning. That was his nation-leading 21st of the season.
Carter's time on the mound ended in the seventh inning when he walked the leadoff hitter on four pitches, prompting Golloway to bring in closer Terrance Dedrick.
Max Kuhn's single to right tied the game and a fielding error by Grier allowed another run to score to give UK?a 4-3 lead with one out.
The next batter, Reed, reached first base when he was hit by a pitch by another reliever, Rocky McCord, putting runners on first and second base. McCord then advanced the runners on a wild pitch to Thomas Bermal, who struck out for the second out.
Tom then came through with a two-out single driving home two runs to make the score 6-3 before another reliever, Trey Wingenter, ended the threat.
After a rain delay in the eighth inning, the Tigers got the tying run to the plate in pinch-hitter Sam Gillikin, but he hit a fly out to left to end the game with runners on second and third.
"When you look back it is the fourth inning," Golloway said of the key to his team's loss. "We had the bases loaded with no outs and we just managed one run there. We will be better down the road at managing runs and learn how to really score and make those innings big innings for us."
The Tigers and Wildcats are scheduled to play game two of the series at 6 p.m.CDT on Saturday. Keegan Thompson, who is 5-3 with a 1.91 earned run average, is scheduled to pitch for the Tigers in a game that will be televised on Fox Sports South.
Chandler Shepherd, a right-hander with a 5-2 record and a 3.55 earned run average, is scheduled to pitch for the Wildcats.