Kentucky staged a spirited ninth-inning rally on Tuesday at Louisville, but the Wildcats' comeback effort fell just short in a 5-3 loss to the Cardinals.
In a Top 10 matchup between the rival programs, No. 2 Louisville jumped out to a 5-0 lead at Jim Patterson Stadium. The No. 8 Cats scored three times in the final frame to make it interesting before the Cards squashed the rally.
Kentucky (21-9) has brought the tying or go-ahead run to the plate in the eighth or ninth inning of each of its losses this season.
The Cards were opportunistic throughout the night, scoring all of their runs with two outs.
A two-out error and an infield single proceeded a two-run double by Drew Ellis in the first inning against UK starter Zack Thompson (2-2).
Louisville made it 4-0 in the second after a pair of two-out walks set up a two-run double by Devin Hairston.
In the bottom of the third, Ellis led off with a double, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, and eventually came home when Josh Stowers was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 5-0.
The UK bullpen was exceptional, holding it there with 5.1 innings of shutout relief to give the Cats one final shot in the ninth.
Kentucky got singles by Marcus Carson and Gunnar McNeill and a walk to Connor Heady to load the bases. With two outs, Tristan Pompey beat out a chopper to the first baseman to score Carson. Zach Reks followed with a two-run single to right field to make it
Shane Hummel (3-0) was the pitcher of record for the Cards despite working only the first two innings. He allowed no runs on four hits and struck out three. Lincoln Henzman picked up his eighth save for UofL despite giving up two hits in the ninth.
Louisville (25-3) has now won 51 of its last 52 regular season home games.
Kentucky travels to No. 19 Mississippi State this weekend for a three-game SEC series.