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Kentucky Kernel

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Bat Cats lose eight-game win streak with shocking midweek loss to Samford

Isaiah Pinto
Kentucky Wildcats third baseman Ethan Hindle rounds third base during the Kentucky vs. Eastern Kentucky baseball game on Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2024, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 10-0. Photo by Isaiah Pinto | Staff

No. 8 Kentucky baseball’s (27-5 11-1 SEC) comeback efforts fell short in a 9-7 loss to Samford (22-10).

The Bulldogs came out of the gates hot in the bottom of the first against Wildcat starter Drew Lafferty as a John Anderson double, back-to-back singles from Andrew Bennett and Jackson Harris and a wild pitch resulted in an early 5-0 deficit for the Wildcats.

Ryan Hagenow, who made his return from injury along with Robert Hogan came out of the Cats’ bullpen and extinguished the hot start for Samford by pitching three straight scoreless innings. 

On the offensive side, the Bat Cats were silent through the first three innings going three-up, three-down once along with back-to-back frame-ending double plays in the third and fourth innings.

In the top of the fifth, James McCoy hit a two-out single before Grant Smith erased the zero off the scoreboard for the Wildcats by sending a home run over the left field wall which cut the deficit to 5-2.

However, the Wildcats’ pitching could not hold their end of the bargain as a Hayden Perry single plated a run and extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 6-2. 

The Bat Cats continued to battle in the top of the sixth as Devin Burkes hit a solo home run over the left field wall. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, McCoy singled to bring in two runs which made the score 6-5.

The one-run deficit would be short lived as, in the bottom of the sixth, Harris led off with a single before Angelo Prieto hit a home run over the left field wall. With two outs, Bennett singled to bring home another run that extended the Bulldog lead to 9-5. 

The Wildcats continued to try and chip away in the seventh as Ryan Waldschmidt led off with a single and quickly came around to score on an Émilien Pitre double.

Pitre then came around to score later in the inning on a Mitchell Daly sacrifice fly that cut the deficit to 9-7.

Cooper Robinson and Colby Frieda gave the Cats a chance by pitching scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth, but ultimately the Wildcats’ offense went cold going six-up, six-down to end the game.

Following the Loss, Kentucky will remain on the road as it will travel to Auburn, Alabama, for a three-game series against the Auburn Tigers beginning on Thursday, April 11, with first pitch scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

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Jonathon Bruner, Assistant Sports Editor

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