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Kentucky baseball loses in 18 innings


(Photo by Regina Rickert)

One swing of the bat was all it took for the 18-inning six-hour marathon ball game to end. Kentucky visited Bowling Green Tuesday to face the Hilltoppers, but wouldn’t finish the game until Wednesday morning after a double-dose of baseball.

It was a pitcher’s duel the entire way, with a 1-1 ballgame after 9 full innings. Kentucky was looking to end it much earlier than it did, after capitalizing on a Western Kentucky error in the 13th inning to put a runner on 3rd base with two outs. That runner would score to give UK a 2-1 lead with WKU down to its final three outs. In a spell of déjà vu, Western answered by capitalizing on a two-out Kentucky error to tie the game at two apiece… Onward march.

In the 14th, Western Kentucky got its first two men aboard; sending head coach Gary Henderson to already thinned-out bullpen. He went with freshman Zach Strecker to pitch in the biggest game of his young career. Strecker allowed a walk to the first batter he faced, loading the bases with nobody out. Then he turned it on. Strecker fanned the next two batters, and got a ground out to work around the jam, not allowing the walk-off run to score from just 90 feet away.

Kentucky’s Matt Reida led off the 17th inning with a triple off the wall, putting the go-ahead run just a sac-fly or base knock away with two outs to play with. Kentucky’s Jeff Boehm and Austin Cousino both struck out in the ensuing at-bats, and Max Kuhn grounded out; no damage done with the Cats best chance to win it yet.

Finally, in the 18th, on the first batter of the frame, the Toppers Trevor Lowe launched a fly ball to left field that just snuck inside the fair pole, winning the game for Western in dramatic walk-off fashion. It ended the longest game played in college baseball this season, and sent Kentucky to its seventh-straight loss.

Kentucky baseball falls to 24-16 on the season, and is now losers of 10 of its last 12 games. The Cats have also fallen out of the top-25 in the polls. The losing streak is very troublesome, especially when you consider the road ahead for Kentucky gets no easier.

The Cats will travel to No. 18 Ole Miss this weekend, and follow it up with a home series against No. 14 Arkansas, No. 3 Vanderbilt, and a one-game set with No. 17 Indiana. With 14 games left in the regular season, ten of them are against ranked teams. The Cats desperately need to break this losing skid to get momentum heading to the post-season. Hosting the regionals was once a sure-bet, but now it’s not looking so good. That’s a major blow to the aspirations of Omaha.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

10 Comments for Kentucky baseball loses in 18 innings

  1. Over you
    5:05 pm April 24, 2013 Permalink

    Stuart Hammer, you sir, are terrible. Good day.

  2. More Cowbell
    5:22 pm April 24, 2013 Permalink

    You can’t have a sacrifice fly with two outs.

  3. Mike
    5:25 pm April 24, 2013 Permalink

    These boys can’t handle the preseason accolades any better than the basketball team and suck just as much.

  4. Dr. Funke
    6:16 pm April 24, 2013 Permalink

    Walk-off run?

  5. Ben
    6:29 pm April 24, 2013 Permalink

    This team will not have to worry about hosting a regional or Omaha! You have to get in the tournament, before you can do those things. This year is a loss! Only hope is to build for next year. Much like the basketball team this year, it is not enough to just have talent, you must do something with it.

  6. Mike
    6:58 pm April 24, 2013 Permalink

    5. Ben…agree. Henderson getting exposed like Cal did this year.

  7. Baseball Topper Alum
    8:53 pm April 24, 2013 Permalink

    Big win against the instate rival for WKU. A couple of notes about the series. WKU swept the season series, is 6-1 in the last 7 meetings, and is a perfect 6-0 when playing at Bowling Green Ballpark against UK and UL. WKU goes for the season sweep against UL on Tuesday next week.

    Lot of missed opportunities for both teams in this game, but what a way for the tops to pull it out, especially with the hero being a local boy.

    #4–Yes a walk off run, or in other words the run that would have won the game for WKU if it had scored in that inning.

    #2–No kidding you can’t have a sac fly with two outs. But you can when you have 2 outs to play with as this article states. Reading comprehension is not hard.

    FYI–I love UK sports, but the baseball team is one UK sport I cannot and will not cheer for due to a previous coach and how he recruited.

  8. Gary
    8:59 pm April 24, 2013 Permalink

    Hilltopper are doing pretty good in athletics these days.

  9. Curious
    12:44 am April 25, 2013 Permalink

    Topper Alum, I don’t follow UK baseball too closely, so I was hoping you might elaborate on Cohen’s recruiting tactics? Curious to know why you feel that way. Thanks

  10. Topper Baseball Alum
    11:54 am April 26, 2013 Permalink

    @9–The year I graduated (2007)Lexington had an incredible amount of talent, and cohen didn’t recruit anybody, except Ben Revere (for good reason). He was very big on recruiting outside of Kentucky, although there was a plethora of city talent more than willing to play for UK, but the calls never came. My HS team had 6 D1 players on it (2 of them wound up getting drafted). 3 of went to WKU (2 wound up transferring), 1 went to UL (got drafted), 1 went to College of Charleston (got drafted), 1 to Miami (OH).

    Other kids in the area:

    1 to Virginia
    1 to Cincinnati
    1 to Marshall
    2 to EKU (1 was Drafted)
    1 to MTSU

    Grant it, we may not all have been SEC caliber players, but that is a lot of players that went on to play at a high level, and quite a few to play professionally. The fact that he didn’t even show interest is really what bugs me. It was probably one of the more talented classes that Lexington Baseball produced (maybe that’s just my bias).