Rebs' win streak snapped at 11 by UK

No. 17 Ole Miss entered the opener of the Kentucky series tonight in Lexington with the nation's longest winning streak at 11. It was snapped by the No. 11 Wildcats, who used the long ball and an uncharacteristic off night at the plate by the Rebels to win, 8-3, before 2,085 Wildcat fans. Read about it inside.

LEXINGTON - The Rebels rolled into Kentucky's baseball stadium as one of the hottest teams in America, cruising along with the nation's longest winning streak of 11.

They went back to their hotel rooms tonight with an 8-3 loss on their ledger.

The Bat Cats - now 35-11 overall and an SEC East-leading 14-8 in conference play - used the long ball early in the game to gain a 5-1 lead the Rebs were never able to overcome.

The Rebels - now 31-16 and 13-9 - were leading the SEC in team batting average (.316) heading into the contest, but UK starter Aaron Tennyson and reliver Matt Robinson frustrated the Ole Miss lineup and held the Rebs to just five hits on the night.

The combination of three home runs by the home team and impotent bats by the visiting Rebels told the tale of the game.

"The second inning by Kentucky's offense was the backbreaker for us - four runs and two homers," said Coach Mike Bianco. "And in the past 11 games we have won, we have answered with clutch hits, but tonight we did not. Credit Kentucky, they outplayed us.

"We had our chances to answer, but didn't get it done. We have to bounce back and get ready to play tomorrow. We had a good run, but that's over. Now we have to tighten up and start another streak."

Ole Miss got on the board in the top of the first inning when Justin Henry walked, was moved to second on a sac bunt by C.J. Ketchum, stole third and scored on a RBI ground out by Chris Coghlan.

The early score appeared to be a good omen, but the Rebs didn't get their first hit until the fourth inning when Mark Wright collected his 48th RBI of the season by singling and driving in Coghlan, who led off the inning by being hit by a pitch by Tennyson.

Meanwhile, Kentucky answered the Rebs' first-inning run with a solo homer by Collin Cowgill. It was the Bat Cats' 70th round-tripper of the year, and it wouldn't be their last of the night.

In the second frame, leadoff batter John Shelby cranked another solo shot off Reb starter Craig Rodriguez and later in the inning Antone DeJesus, who bats in the one hole for UK, connected on a three-run shot for a 5-1 lead.

In the fifth inning, Robinson took over for Tennyson, who was yanked from the game despite giving up only two hits in 4 2/3 innings of work.

Robinson was never truly challenged by the Rebel hitters and Kentucky cruised to the 8-3 victory by adding two runs on a passed ball and a wild pitch in the sixth inning and another run in the bottom of the eighth.

Not coincidentally, Kentucky leads the SEC in runs scored per game with an 8.62 average. Kentucky had 13 hits on the night.

"The lefty (Tennyson) was a little wild, but we didn't take advantage of it," said Coghlan. "The righty (Robinson) threw mostly off-speed stuff, but he kept it in the zone and we never got in a rhythm against him."

Evan Button drove in Wright, who was hit by a pitch, in the ninth with a triple, but that was all the Rebs could muster in their comeback bid late in the game.

The Rebs never seemed in synch, at the plate or with the batteries of Rodriguez/reliver Cody Satterwhite and Catcher Justin Brashear. The Reb battery had several miscommunications which resulted in passed balls or wild pitches.

Credit to the Kentucky pitchers, the Rebs were in the hole in the count most of the night.

Rodriguez (3-2) got the loss by giving up 9 hits, 7 runs and 2 walks in 5 1/3 innings. He fanned 5. Robinson (4-2) was credited with the win for Kentucky.

Freshman LH Brett Bukvich (4-3) will get his normal Saturday start tomorrow for the Rebels. Senior lefty Craig Snipp (4-3) will throw for Kentucky.

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