BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In a back-and-forth affair that saw No. 7 Kentucky plate go-ahead runs in the 11th and 12th innings, the Wildcats posted a 6-5 win in 12 innings over red-hot Indiana behind strong offensive games from J.T. Riddle and Cameron Flynn and a dominating pitching performance from A.J. Reed, on a Wednesday night at Sembower Field.
Kentucky (38-11) improved to 23-2 in non-conference action with the win, as UK posted a thrilling 6-5 win in its first extra-inning game of the year. UK has now won the fourth most games in the program’s 107-year history, sitting just six wins away from the school-record of 44 wins set in 2006 and 2008. The win over the Hoosiers comes against an IU team that entered the game winners of six of its last seven games and sitting second place in the Big Ten.
The Wildcats plated single runs in the second and third, with IU owning a 4-2 lead entering the sixth inning before two RBI from Brian Adams tied the game. With both UK and IU’s closers working, the game went into the top of the 11th locked in a 4-4 tie before the Wildcats plated a run to take a lead into the bottom of the frame. IU rallied to even it behind a leadoff double in the bottom of the 11th. In the top of the 12th, UK got a leadoff hit from Riddle, who scored from third base on a two-out balk with Austin Cousino at the plate. Freshman Sam Mahar then locked down his first career save with three outs in the bottom of the 12th.
The Wildcats mounted an 11-hit attack in the game, led by three-hit games from Riddle and Flynn. UK got two hits from Cousino and Matt Reida, with Reida launching his second homer of the year in the second inning. Adams collected two RBI as his two-RBI double was cleared from the board after an appeal ruled that he didn’t step on first base during his run to second. UK also got a hit from Reed and a career-high three walk game from Luke Maile.
A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed provided the heroics on the mound, tossing 5.1 innings with one unearned run allowed and six strikeouts, with Gott (2-0) and Mahar getting crucial late-inning outs.
UK starter Chandler Shepherd worked over two innings, allowing five hits and three runs – one earned – walking one and striking out one. Walter Wijas replaced him in the third inning with runners at first and second and no outs, Wijas got two outs by strikeout, allowing one hit before UK turned to Reed to get out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam. Reed allowed a hit before getting an out on the bases after the RBI knock. Tim Peterson took over the start the bottom of the ninth, allowing a two-strike single to leadoff before UK turned to Alex Phillips, who got two outs, before Gott got a strikeout with the walk-off run standing at third base in the ninth. Gott turned in a workhorse performance, tossing 2.1 innings and allowing just the one run, striking out two while pitching in tough spots. Mahar entered with UK owning the one-run lead in the 12th, striking out two for his first career save.
Indiana (24-25) starter Ryan Halstead worked five innings, allowing four hits and two runs – one earned – walking three and striking out five. Drew Leininger worked 0.2 innings, allowing two hits and two runs, walking two and striking out one. IU also used Matt Dearden, who worked a strong three innings, allowing two hits and two walks, striking out three. IU turned to closer Jonny Hoffman in a tight spot in the ninth, getting a first pitch out and working 1.1 shutout innings. Luke Harrison worked 0.1 innings with one unearned run allowed, with Brian Korte (0-4) getting two outs in the 11th inning. Korte tossed 1.2 innings, allowing the decisive run for the loss.
UK will return to action in its final home series of the year on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, taking on Alabama at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, as Flynn led off with a hard-hit single to rightfield, with the ball taking a wicked bounce and allowing Flynn to reach second on an error. After McCarthy’s groundout moved Flynn to third base, Riddle hung a fly ball into shallow leftfield, with Flynn sliding under the tag to score the first run.
UK added to its lead in the top of the third inning as Reida launched his second homer of the year, a no-doubt blast over the rightfield fence.
Indiana answered in the bottom of the third as Justin Cureton led off with a single through the left side of the infield. Kyle Schwarber then hit a single through the same spot in the infield. Sam Travis followed with a hard-hit ball at third base but the throw to second base was in the dirt, allowing Cureton to score from third and Schwarber to take third with no outs with Travis at first. Micah Johnson then singled up the middle to score Schwarber and end Shepherd’s start. Trace Knoblauch then singled through the right side on the first pitch before Wijas struck out Chris Sujka for the second out. UK turned to Reed, who got a grounder on the left side, with Travis scoring from third and UK getting Johnson out in between third and home.
IU added a run to its lead in the fifth, as Michael Basil led off with a single through the infield, taking second after Knoblauch’s attempted sacrifice bunt was misplayed by the UK pitcher for an error. Sujka then executed the sacrifice bunt to put runners in scoring position and one out. DeMuth scored Basil with a RBI groundout.
UK got on the board during a wild inning in the sixth, plating two runs to even the game at 4-4. Reed drew a walk to leadoff and Riddle poked a single through the infield. Adams then ripped a double into the gap, tripping over first base, falling to the ground and being held at second base, with both runners scoring. After an appeal at first base, Adams was called out for never touching the base that he tripped over, inciting an argument from the UK dugout. After Reida took a called strike one on the next pitch, home plate umpire Grady Smith ejected UK assistant coach Brian Green, Green’s first career ejection. Reida then singled up the middle, a knock that would have likely scored Adams with the go-ahead run if not for the appeal.
UK plated the go-ahead run in the 11th inning, as Cousino led off with a single, taking second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball, before Flynn scored him with an infield-in single to the opposite field.
Indiana tied up the game in the bottom of the 11th, as Chad Clark doubled to rightfield to leadoff, taking third on a deep fly out from Cureton. With the infield in, Reida made a diving play to keep Schwarber’s hit in the infield and hold Clark to third base. Travis then scored Clark with a single to leftfield.
UK scored the go-ahead run in the 12th as Riddle led off with a two-strike single through the right side, taking second on Zac Zellers’ sacrifice bunt and taking third on Reida’s groundout. With Cousino at the plate and before the first pitch was thrown, Riddle scored on a balk called on Korte.