The Cardinals scored six unearned runs with the help of three UK errors and a pair of wild pitches. It spoiled a terrific late comeback for the Cats, who rallied from a two-run deficit to take an 8-5 lead into the ninth inning.
Ball State (10-3) scored three runs in the ninth inning to tie the game, escaped a bases-loaded threat by the Wildcats in the bottom of the inning, and added two runs in the 10th to claim the win.
Kentucky (11-3) saw its nine-game winning streak come to an end. It also snapped a streak of 98 consecutive games in which the Wildcats won while leading after eight innings, dating back to the 2011 season. UK is 150-6 all-time under head coach Gary Henderson when holding an eighth-inning lead.
Seeking his fourth win of the young season, A.J. Reed took a hard-luck no decision for UK, exiting with a three-run lead after eight innings of work. The junior left-hander allowed five runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks while striking out three.
UK relievers Zach Strecker and Ryne Combs (1-1) could not make the lead hold up, surrendering five runs (two earned) on five hits, a walk and two costly wild pitches.
The tough loss overshadowed a career-best 4-for-6 game at the plate by senior catcher Micheal Thomas. He also drove in three runs for the Cats. Reed added a pair of hits and two RBI to his nation-leading total of 26 through 14 games.
The three-game series will resume on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.
Senior catcher Micheal Thomas had a career-high 4-for-6 day at the plate for Kentucky. (AllWildcats Photo by Jeff Drummond.)