Errors, Unearned Runs Dooms Baseball in Ninth Inning

April 21, 2009

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Holding a three-run lead with the bases clear and one out in the top of the ninth, the Kentucky baseball team committed two fielding errors, walked two, threw a wild pitch and had a passed ball that led to five unearned runs, handing the Lipscomb Bisons a 8-7 comeback win, on a damp Tuesday evening at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Facing a three-run hole in the top of the ninth inning, the Bisons put together a rally that would propel them to their sixth straight win over Kentucky and their fifth straight win in Lexington over the Wildcats. All of the Lipscomb damage in the ninth came on two hits – one of which was an infield single – with UK walking two, committing two errors, throwing a wild pitch and allowing a passed ball to score the game-tying run from third with two out.

The inning started on a first-pitch groundout to third for the first out of the inning. After a walk to Antonio Butler and M.L. Williams reached on an error, Tyler Wilson singled to left field to load the bases for Allen Bolden. A wild pitch by Logan Darnell allowed Butler to score and Darnell loaded the bases pitches later with a walk to Bolden. Justin Sanders then hit a ground ball to the hole between second and third with Wade gathering the ball in time but had no chance to make a play at any bag, tying the game at eight. Darnell then struck out Andrew Nickelson, but a sharply-hit ground ball to freshman Andy Burns at second base, who had replaced Chris Bisson when he made an error and left the game with an injury earlier in the inning, allowed two Lipscomb runners to score.

Kentucky (21-18) rallied with a run in the bottom of the ninth, putting the game-tying and go-ahead runners in scoring position with two out and Chris McClendon at the plate, but McClendon grounded out to third to end the game and the dramatic UK threat. With a runner on first and third earlier in the inning, Gunner Glad grounded into a double play that scored one run but put the Wildcats down to their last out.

Lipscomb (16-24) did not post a run in the game until the seventh inning when it put three runs on the board on two hits and one Kentucky error. In the final three innings, the Bisons scored eight runs to surpass Kentucky for the victory. It was the first loss of the season for the Wildcats when they have had the lead after the eighth inning. Before tonight’s loss, UK was 16-0 when leading after the eighth.

Kentucky has now played in one-run games in five out of their last six games, posting a 2-3 record in those games and 6-6 record in one-run games on the season. 

UK got a career start from sophomore left hander Mike Kaczmarek, making his fourth start of the season. The Orlando Park, Ill., native, went six innings, giving up two runs, only one earned, on six hits and tying a career high in strikeouts with five. It was the longest outing of young career for Kaczmarek, whose previous longest outing was five innings against Marshall earlier in the season. On the season, Kaczmarek is 1-1 with a 4.57 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. Junior Tyler Henry pitched 2.1 innings for UK giving up four runs, one earned, and striking out two. He was replaced by Darnell, who only pitched 0.1 of an inning allowing two unearned runs and posting one strikeout, falling to 4-4 on the year with the loss. Junior Clint Tilford also pitched for Kentucky, allowing no runs and hits, ending the top of the ninth inning on a groundout, fielded cleanly by Burns.

Kentucky was led offensively by junior Keenan Wiley who hit his career-high third home run of the season, a two-run opposite field shot. Wiley was 2-for-4, with two RBI and four hard hit balls. In his first at bat, Wiley roped a line drive just foul down the third base line that was caught by the third baseman for the out. Wiley then singled to center field in his second at bat before hitting his laser shot homer to left. In his last official at bat of the game, he sent a rope to left field that got caught up in the wind and held up enough for the left fielder to be able to make the catch.

UK also got a home run from freshman catcher Michael Williams, his first homer of his career. Williams finished the game 1-for-3 with a homer, two runs scored and a walk. Fellow freshman Cory Farris gathered in two hits in the game with a single and a RBI in the sixth and a single in the eighth. Freshmen Chad Wright and Burns each singled in the first inning to extend their hitting streaks. Wright, the reigning Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week, now holds a six-game hitting streak which is tied for the longest streak of his young career. Burns has now hit safely in seven straight games which is a career long hitting streak for the freshman from Fort Collins, Colo. Bisson, who left the game with injury in the ninth, had his team-leading eight-game hitting streak snapped in the game, going 0-for-4 with two line outs, a fly out and a groundout to second.

Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday playing Evansville, with first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Kentucky head football coach Rich Brooks will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. It is still to be determined who Kentucky will send to the mound to start the game, but the Purple Aces have announced that Wade Kapteyn, brother of Kentucky freshman Braden Kapteyn will get the starting nod. All the action can be heard on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with the Voice of Kentucky baseball, Neil Price calling the action on WLAP 630-AM in Lexington.

Kentucky got on the board in the second inning when Williams hit his first career home run, a two-run laser to left center field. The inning started when Wiley was robbed of a base hit on a line drive down the left field line that was caught on a dive by the third baseman in foul territory. After a four-pitch walk to Spencer Korus, Williams stepped to the plate and gave Kentucky the lead with his blast. It was the second straight home start for the Knoxville, Tenn., native who has played in 12 games this season, five of which were starts. The inning continued when Wright was hit by a pitch, after getting an infield single in the first to reach base safely for the ninth straight time. With two outs and Wright at third, Burns grounded out to second to end the inning with Kentucky up two.

The Wildcats rallied again in the sixth inning when Glad doubled down the left field line to start off the inning. With Glad at third base after a wild pitch and one out, Wiley stepped to the plate delivering a two-run home run to left center field for his third home run of the season, a season high for the junior. Wiley’s other two home-runs came in the same game, his first multi-homer game for his career against South Carolina. After walks to both Korus and Williams, Farris singled past a diving first baseman for an RBI, putting runners at the corners for Wright. Wright, a Paducah, Ky., native, picked up his first RBI of the game when he hit a sacrifice fly to right field on a seven-pitch at bat, giving Kentucky a 6-0 lead going to the seventh inning.

The Bisons got on the board in the seventh inning when Nickelson leadoff the inning with a walk, later scoring on a double to right field by Tennyson Dodd. The double would chase Kaczmarek from the game, bringing in Henry who got the first batter to ground a ball to third, but an error by Korus – who immediately left the game because of injury after the error – would put runners on first and second. After a fielder’s choice by Butler, Henry got the second out of the inning on a strikeout of Williams. With runners at second and third, Wilson singled through the left side of the infield, plating two runs and cutting the Kentucky lead to half. Henry got out of the inning with a strikeout of Sanders, the Lipscomb clean-up man.

After the five runs posted by Lipscomb in the top of the ninth, Kentucky would get a run in the ninth when Glad grounded into a double play allowing Burns to score from third. Kentucky then had runners on second and third with two outs and McClendon up but the Kentucky senior grounded out to third to end the game.