Kentucky's usually-reliable defense let it down Friday as three errors in the sixth inning helped pave the way to five unearned runs in Mississippi State's 8-4 series-opening win at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats (16-5, 2-2 SEC) entered the top of the sixth holding a 4-2 lead, but a trio of miscues spoiled a strong start by A.J. Reed.
Reed (2-3) took the hard-luck loss, working five-plus innings, allowing seven hits and just two earned runs.
Mississippi State (21-4, 2-2 SEC) got strong work from its bullpen as Ross Mitchell (5-0) worked 4.2 shutout innings with only four UK singles.
Kentucky was led offensively by multiple-hit games from Thomas Bernal, Max Kuhn and Zac Zellers. Bernal, who drove in two runs, set a new career high with his 3-for-4 game. UK also got hits from Kyle Barrett, Austin Cousino, Reed and Micheal Thomas.
Mississippi State (21-4, 2-2 SEC) starter Jacob Lindgren worked 4.1 innings, allowing six hits and four runs, walking four and striking out six. Sidearm lefty Ross Mitchell (5-0) picked up the win with 4.2 shutout innings, allowing only four UK singles, not issuing a walk and striking out three.
The series will resume on Saturday, with first pitch slated for 12 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports South, with Bob Kesling and Nick Belmonte calling the action. Fans can also hear the game live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel on play-by-play. UK will send senior southpaw Jerad Grundy (4-1, 1.93 ERA) vs. Mississippi State junior righty Evan Mitchell (0-1, 2.75 ERA).
Defense lets down Cats in loss to MSU
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