Kentucky (15-6) did all of its damage in two innings, plating four runs in the first and six in the seventh to roll over the Hilltoppers. Austin Cousino, Storm Wilson, Marcus Carson and Matt Reida each drove in two runs for the Wildcats.
Thomas, who is now batting .431 on the season, went 3-for-5 with two singles and a double. Cousino extended his SEC-leading hitting streak to 16 games, going 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI and his ninth stolen base. JaVon Shelby and Carson each collected two hits for UK.
Junior first baseman A.J. Reed – the NCAA leader in home runs with nine – did not go deep against WKU (12-9) but had his typically-productive night at the plate with a hit, two walks and two runs scored.
The offensive support benefited four Wildcat pitchers who combined to hold down the Hilltopper offense. Sophomore left-hander Ryne Combs worked four innings for the Cats, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits. He struck out one and walked none. Fellow sophomore Sam Mahar (1-0) picked up the win out of the bullpen with a season-high three innings of shutout work, allowing two hits and striking out three. Zach Strecker and Logan Salow closed out the win for the UK bullpen.
Western Kentucky started Josh Bartley, who worked five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks. Sam Higgs, Ryan Thurston, Ian Tompkins and Brennan Pearson all worked in relief for the Hilltoppers.
WKU got two hits from Trevor Lowe, Ryan Messex and Anderson Miller. Ryan Church and Miller each drove in a run for the Hilltoppers, who collected 11 hits but stranded 10 runners on the night.
UK returns to action Friday in its second SEC series of the season. It's a big one as No. 1 South Carolina visits Lexington for a three-game set.
The Gamecocks will be the second No. 1 opponent the Cats have faced this season. UK opened the year with an 8-3 win over top-ranked Virginia. Friday's opener against South Carolina is slated for 6:30 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
CLICK HERE to view highlights of the UK-WKU game on the KYWildcatsTV YouTube channel.