The Wildcats rode a seven-run fifth inning to an 8-2 win over the Eagles in the opener of a three-game series at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Reed, a preseason All-American, struck out five batters and worked around four walks while throwing 113 pitches on a chilly afternoon in Lexington. He lowered his ERA to 1.00 on the season.
"A. J. had a nice day," UK head coach Gary Henderson said. "He was stronger than his previous appearances. He looked a little bit better. He was more consistent in his delivery and was competitive late in the ballgame. He threw way too many pitches. He got zeros, but wasn't efficient doing it. Eastern Michigan did a nice job fouling off some pitches and that got his pitch count high."
The UK bullpen made the lead hold up with three innings of solid work. Sam Mahar gave up two runs, but both were unearned in 1.1 innings. Logan Sallow struck out four in 1.2 innings to close out the win.
Kentucky (7-2) got three hits from Kyle Barrett out of the leadoff spot and two hits from both Max Kuhn and Micheal Thomas. Austin Cousino, Reed, Ka'ai Tom, Matt Reida, Thomas Bernal and Connor Heady each had one hit for the Cats.
Thomas, Heady and Bernal each drove in a pair of runs for UK. Barrett and Reida also had RBI.
Eastern Michigan (4-5) started Jake Andrews on the mound, a junior right-hander who had beaten No. 13 Clemson earlier this season. Andrews held the UK offense down for four-plus innings, but the Cats broke through with seven unearned runs with two outs in the fifth after the Eagles defense opened the door for a big frame.
Andrews (1-1) surrendered eight hits and walked four while striking out two over 4.2 innings.
The series resumes with a doubleheader on Saturday at noon. Sunday's game was bumped up a day due to the threat of severe winter weather in central Kentucky.