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Bullpen struggles again as Kentucky Baseball drops series to No. 3 Texas Tech

The Bat Cats will look to avoid a sweep on Sunday,

UK Athletics

It was another rough game down in Texas for Kentucky, as the baseball Wildcats dropped their second straight game to No. 3 Texas Tech by a final score of 10-7.

The game started out ugly for the Wildcats.

In the bottom of the first inning, shortstop Alex Rodriguez committed an error on a play that would have ended the inning. Instead, the Red Raiders rallied as Brian Klein hit an RBI single to give Texas Tech the early 1-0 lead.

Luckily for Kentucky, Rodriguez would make up for his mistake at the plate. Rodriguez hit an RBI single of his own to score Ryan Shinn and tie the game at 1-1.

In the bottom of the frame, however, Texas Tech responded. Red Raiders left fielder Dylan Neuse hit the first home run from either team of the series, as Texas Tech reclaimed the lead.

After a quiet few innings, the Cats finally put together a big inning in the top of the fifth.

Kentucky loaded the bases for TJ Collett, who drove in Marshall Gei on a ground ball to short to tie the game.

Then, the red-hot Ryan Shinn came to the plate with two men on base. Shinn came to the plate having reached base in his previous nine plate appearances. The junior made it 10 with an exclamation point as he ripped a three-run home run to centerfield to give Kentucky a 5-2 lead. It was Shinn’s first home run of the season and the Cats first home run of the weekend in Lubbock.

Unfortunately, Kentucky’s lead did not last for long, as in the bottom of the fifth, the Red Raiders were able to punch back.

Dru Baker hit an RBI single scoring Gabe Holt to cut the Wildcat lead to 5-3. Then, Josh Jung hit a double to set up second and third with no one out, chasing Kentucky starter Jimmy Ramsey out of the game after just four-plus innings of work.

With Mason Hazelwood on the mound out of the bullpen, the Red Raiders continued to rally. Brian Klein walked, setting up the Red Raiders with bases loaded and no one out.

The walk forced Nick Mingione to make another pitching change, as Grant Macciocchi came in for Hazelwood after just one batter.

Doug Facendo kept the line moving with a walk of his own to make it a 5-4 ball game. Then, it was Dylan Neuse who homered earlier in the game who handed Kentucky the big blow.

The left fielder crushed a grand slam home run to left center to give the Red Raiders an 8-4 lead and a second straight game of a six run inning.

Unlike Game 1, however, Kentucky responded after a six-run Red Raiders inning.

In the top of the sixth Rodriguez reached on an error, and Gei walked setting up the nine hitter Zeke Lewis with two on and nobody out.

The Wildcat second basemen would deliver as he smacked a run-scoring double to left field to cut the Texas Tech lead to 8-6.

With two on and no one out Texas Tech went to their fourth pitcher of the game in Dave Haveman. This proved to a great move as Haveman stranded two runners in scoring position by getting Breydon Daniel to ground out back to the mound and then got two huge strikeouts of Cam Hill and Collet to end the frame and preserve the Red Raider lead.

In the top of the seventh, however, Kentucky was able to get to Haveman. After Shinn struck out to end his on-base streak, Dalton Reed got Kentucky going with a triple. Then, Jaren Shelby was able to drive him in with a ground ball to second cutting the Texas Tech lead to 8-7.

Looking to hold the Red Raiders at bay in the bottom of the seventh, the Kentucky bullpen again faltered. Alex Degen gave up an RBI single to Tanner O’Tremba, providing Texas Tech with an insurance run and a 9-7 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth Texas Tech pushed their lead to 10-7 due to sloppy fielding by the Wildcats.

The Cats were unable to muster any runs in the ninth as they fell by a final score of 10-7.

Hazelwood took the loss for the Wildcats as Hunter Dobbins earned the win for the Red Raiders.

The two teams will wrap up their three-game set with Kentucky looking to prevent a sweep tomorrow at 2 pm EST. The game can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest and listened to on the UK Sports Radio Network.