Murray State took advantage of six UK errors over the first six innings en route to a 7-5 victory at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Six errors by the 22nd-ranked Cats are the most by a UK team since another six-spot in March 2005 vs. Toledo.
The Thoroughbreds beat UK for the first time since 1997 and for only the second time ever in Lexington.
The Wildcats used 17 players, including four pitchers. Or five, depending on your viewpoint.
A game that began in 45-degree-and-falling weather also featured Murray’s Chris Craycraft, who began his collegiate career at UK, notching the save.
After starter Sam Kidd (1-1), Braden Kapteyn and Nick Kennedy came out of the bullpen. Mike Kaczmarek came on for the last two outs of the eighth inning. Kennedy, who moved from the mound to first base when Kaczmarek entered, went back to the mound to work a perfect ninth inning.
“Really pleased with Nick’s effort,” UK Coach Gary Henderson said. “Kept his poise. And even Sam Kidd’s poise was very good. We put him in a miserable spot and he kept battling. … And Mike Kaczmarek. The bullpen, they did a good job.”
Murray right-hander Dan Huff (1-2) gave up four runs, including one unearned, and 10 hits over eight innings. He threw 131 pitches, 84 for strikes, fanning six and walking two.
Craycraft, out of Henry Clay High School, closed out his former team, but not before putting the potential winning run on base. Craycraft had thrown 104 pitches three days earlier.
“I wasn’t really expecting to throw today,” he said. “I just came to … see family and stuff. But it’s always fun when you get back out there and throw against them.”
Inheriting a 7-4 lead, Craycraft yielded two walks and two singles to make it 7-5 with the bases loaded and no outs.
“I couldn’t find the strike zone to start out,” Craycraft said. “I just figured I’d get my release point back, throw the corners and let them get themselves out.”
He got Cory Farris to hit a sharp grounder. First baseman Wes Cunningham stepped on the bag, then fired to the plate in time to cut down Chad Wright for a double play. Gunner Glad then flied to left.
“That was a great play by Wes,” Craycraft said. “Stayed in front of it and made a good, strong throw to the plate.”
Henderson was gracious in sizing up Craycraft’s performance.
“Any time you see one of your ex-players do well you’re happy for them,” he said. “I’m glad things are going well for Chris.”
The Thoroughbreds (7-8) led 7-1 through 3 1/2 innings.
Two errors led to a run in the second. Cunningham belted a three-run homer in the third. Another error, a walk and hit batsman triggered a three-run fourth.
UK (13-3) got solo homers from Kapteyn in the second, Wright in the fifth and Glad in the sixth. Farris singled and scored in the fourth and pinch-hitter Chris Bisson singled in a run in the ninth.
“We did a good job of chipping away but, obviously, the whole ball game is the errors,” Henderson said. “You put yourself in that big a hole, it makes it really tough to get out of it. While I appreciate our kids’ effort — and it was good — you can’t make a game that difficult for yourself.”
Wright, Glad and Murray’s Cunningham all had three-hit games.
The Cats outhit the Breds 12-7.
UK’s Andy Burns had a fifth-inning single to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. Keenan Wiley also had a hit, stretching his streak to 10 games, and Kapteyn’s homer extended his hititng streak to nine games.
Both teams return to action at home on Wednesday. UK will take on Wright State at 6:30 p.m. Murray will face Southern Illinois at 3 p.m. (2 central).