Cats strand 10 runners in 10-9 loss

Down most of the afternoon, Kentucky rallied in the ninth but came up just short, falling to Cincinnati 10-9 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The Wildcats entered the final inning trailing the Bearcats 10-8. Michael Bertram and Billy Grace drew a pair of walks, and with one out Ryan Wilkes sliced a line drive to right-center to load the bases.

Brian Hastings entered the game as a pinch hitter and lifted a fly ball to right field. Adam Yeager of the Bearcats hauled it in, but the out was deep enough to plate Bertram and allow Grace to scamper into third base.

Trailing 10-9 with two outs, Antone DeJesus stepped into the box and smashed a ground ball right up the middle, but Cincinnati pitcher A.J. Upton was able to snare it and throw DeJesus out at first to halt Kentucky's charge and seal the victory for the Bearcats.

Matt Robinson started his second game of the year, and for the second time struggled to get outs. His performance against the Bearcats almost mirrored his first outing in San Antonio, giving up four earned runs off of nine hits in just three innings of work.

"I had a lot of good pitches, but they hit a lot of good pitches," said Robinson. "It's a fine line between getting a strikeout and getting a ball hit."

Kentucky has been without starter Andrew Albers, who has been shelved with arm problems as of late. Head Coach John Cohen plans to bring him back slowly, but his absence has hurt the depth of the Wildcat's rotation.

"We are really searching for a guy who'll step on the mound in the middle of the week and control a game for us," said Cohen. "We just didn't get it done on the mound today."

The pitching staff gave up 18 total hits to Cincinnati in the loss, the most yielded to a Wildcat opponent all season.

The Bearcat's pitching performance was far from stellar either. Cincinnati threw seven different pitchers, walking 13 Wildcat batters and hitting four.

Kentucky tried to take advantage of the gifts given them at the plate, but base running blunders and 10 stranded base runners cost the Cats. But Coach Cohen was proud of his boys' efforts.

"We fought our butts off there at the end," Cohen said. "Our kids aren't going to quit. They compete their hearts out."

Kentucky put the barrel of the bat on the ball all afternoon, hitting the ball hard. But for the second day in a row the Batcats hit the ball right to at the defense.

"We are hitting the ball right at people," Cohen noted. "It just keeps happening over and over again. We are not going to go to Vegas anytime soon, but we are going to hope luck starts going our way."

Ryan Strieby knocked in three RBIs for the second consecutive game, going 2-4 with a double and his first home run of the year.

"It feels good to get the first one out of the way," Strieby said. "I'm getting into a groove here lately. I started out a little slow, but it's getting better now."

Strieby just missed a home run in yesterday's game against Evansville, blasting a line drive that bounced off of the top of the left field wall.

Collin Cowgill also doubled in the eighth inning, extending his hit streak to eight games on the year.

Kentucky falls to 6-2 on the year. They open a three game series with Northwestern on Friday at 3 p.m.

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