Ball State snaps UK's win streak

A pair of ninth-inning errors and several defensive lapses over the course of the game proved costly as No. 22 Kentucky lost the opener of its weekend series against Ball State, 10-8, on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

A pair of ninth-inning errors and several defensive lapses over the course of the game proved costly as No. 22 Kentucky lost the opener of its weekend series against Ball State, 10-8, on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

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.

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Senior left-hander Nick Bautista (1-0) earned the win for Ball State, the preseason favorite to win the MAC, pitching the final 1.1 innings in relief. The Cardinals got a solid starting effort from T.J. Weir, who allowed just three runs on six hits over six innings.

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.

Austin Cousino, Ka'ai Tom and Thomas Bernal each added two hits, but UK stranded a season-high 14 runners on the day.

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.)

Jeff Drummond has covered University of Kentucky sports and recruiting for newspapers, magazines and online publications since 1988 and for Scout since 2012. A Richmond, Ky., native, he currently resides in Lexington.

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