Kentucky fell to Western Kentucky for the second time this season on Tuesday night. Despite leading the entire game heading into the ninth, Kentucky fell 5-3 to the Hilltoppers. Ka’ai Tom, Zach Arnold and Evan White all collected two hits, while Andrew Nelson, Dylan Dwyer, Zach Strecker and Logan Salow all pitched well for Kentucky.
After Andrew Nelson sat down WKU in order in the top of the first, Kentucky’s offense got to rolling. Singles by Kyle Barrett and White put runners on first and second with one out. JaVon Shelby walked to load the bases and bring Dorian Hairston to the plate. Hairston walked to drive in the first run of the game. Storm Wilson extended the lead with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Andrew Nelson lasted three innings, his only blemish being a third inning home run by Hunter Scanlon. Nelson was replaced by Dwyer in the fourth after throwing 36 pitches. Dwyer and Strecker combined to pitch four innings and strike out four batters while not allowing a run. Leading 2-1 in the eight inning, Kentucky’s offense woke up and found an insurance run. Tom led off with a double and came around to score on a wild pitch.
Kentucky turned to Spencer Jack after Logan Salow was removed with one out in the ninth. WKU was down to their last strike when Scanlon singled to bring up Lexington-native Anderson Miller. Jack once again had WKU down to their last strike, but Miller was able to stay alive. Miller hit a line drive over the right field wall to tie the game at three. Jack retired Philip Diedrick to end a brutal ninth inning. Kentucky was retired 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.
Kentucky kept Jack on the hill in the tenth inning. After allowing a runner to reach third with two outs, Brad Schaenzer replaced Jack. Scanlon delivered yet again with an RBI triple to give WKU a 4-3 lead. An RBI double by Paul Murray extended the lead to 5-3 after the top of the tenth inning. Kentucky sent Marcus Carson, White and Tom to the plate in the bottom half. A walk and stolen base by Tom went to little use as Shelby popped out to end the game.
Kentucky falls to 19-16 on the season after losing to WKU for the second time this season. The Cats will look to respond this weekend with a three-game series against Tennessee at Cliff Hagan Stadium.