COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The University of Kentucky baseball team took a two-run lead into the bottom of the seventh inning but squandered its chances to earn coach Keith Madison his 700th victory for the second day in a row. Washington State put two across in the seventh and one in the eighth to defeat the Wildcats (3-5), 9-8, in the Continental Express Aggie Baseball Classic in College Station, Texas Monday.
Sophomore right fielder Caleb Stewart became the sixth Wildcat in Kentucky baseball's 106-year history to record a 5-for-5 batting day. The last time the feat was accomplished was on April 16, 1995 in a 12-10 setback to Tennessee by All-Southeastern Conference catcher Todd Young.
"I'm very proud of the way our guys rebounded from a tough loss yesterday," Coach Keith Madison said. "They competed hard and hit the ball well, we just continued to make little mistakes at the end of the game to keep us from winning."
The Wildcats jumped on Cougar starter Bryce Chamberlin early, scoring two runs in the top of the first, highlighted by senior first baseman Robert Newton's first double of the season. Newton's two-bagger scored sophomore shortstop Spencer Graeter who led off the inning with a walk.
Freshman James Rodriquez earned his first collegiate start, throwing five complete innings with four runs, one walk and one strikeout against WSU (6-5).
UK took a commanding 7-3 lead in the third when five Cats crossed the plate and batted around the order for the second consecutive game. Senior Caleb Brock collected his fourth double of the tournament, while junior Seth Morris, freshman Jesse Barber, Stewart and Newton each recorded RBI singles.
WSU brought runs home in the second, third, fifth, and sixth innings before tying the game on a two-out, two-run single up the middle by right fielder Collin Henderson off right-hander Scott Wade. In the eighth, UK left two runners stranded when sophomore Cory Hahn pinched hit for second baseman J.B. Schmidt and grounded out to third after forcing a full count on WSU hurler Brandon Hundt.
The Cats' fate was sealed when left fielder Justin Hart led off WSU's eighth with a base hit to center. Second baseman Bookie Gates, who also went 5-for-5 on the day, delivered the game-winning hit when the senior sent a Wade pitch to left-center field for a double, bringing Hart across the plate.
Kentucky will play its final game of the Continental Express Aggie Baseball Classic when it faces No. 17 Texas A&M tonight at 9 p.m. ET at A&M's C.E. "Pat" Olsen Field. Senior Jarrod Reynolds is the projected starter for the Wildcats.
Kentucky 205 010 00 - 8 14 0
Washington St. 012 012 21 - 9 16 1
Win: Hundt, WSU (1-0)
Loss: Wade, UK (1-1)
Bat Cats fall to Washington State
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