Kentucky scored a run in the ninth and had the bases loaded with no outs, but could not score again as Murray State held on for a 7-5 non-conference baseball game at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Thoroughbreds (as Murray is known in baseball only) put up an unearned run in the top of the second.
Jason Laws reached on a fielding error by first baseman Gunner Glad. DH Colton Moore hit a potential double-play grounder to Neiko Johnson. But the second baseman tried to tag Laws. He missed, dropped the ball, then put his throw towards first base into the UK dugout to put runners on second and third with no outs.
UK right-hander Sam Kidd got Jonathan Craycraft on an infield fly, but Laws scored when Bryan Propst grounded out to short.
The Wildcats took little time to tie. Braden Kapteyn led off the bottom of the second with his first homer of the season, lining a shot over the left-field wall.
Murray’s three-run third got going when Zach Noonan drew a one-out walk. He moved to second on Elliot Frey’s single up the middle. Wes Cunningham cashed in with his sixth homer of the year, to the scoreboard in center field.
In the bottom of the inning, UK wasted a two-out double by Chad Wright.
Murray kept up the attack in the fourth, again helped by a UK defensive lapse.
Jonathan Craycraft, out of Henry Clay High School, led off with a ground ball. Second baseman Neiko Johnson bobbled the ball for his second error of the game. Bryan Propst’s single moved Craycraft to second and Cory Hodskins bunted the runners to second and third.
Brandon Elliott’s bloop single down the right-field line scored Craycraft and moved Propst to third. UK Coach Gary Henderson pulled right-hander Sam Kidd in favor of Kapteyn, the DH.
Kapteyn hit the first batter he faced, Noonan, to load the bases, then walked Frey to force in a run.
Another scored on Cunningham’s single to right, making it 7-1.
Only a nifty double play contained the damage, as Kapteyn got Laws to ground into a 3-6-1 (Glad-to-Black-to-Kapteyn) double play to end the inning.
The Wildcats scored a run in the bottom o f the inning. With one out, UK loaded the bases on Cory Farris’ line single off the glove of first baseman Cunningham, a bunt single by Gunner Glad and a Cunningham throwing error that enabled Keenan Wiley to reach base. Farris scored when Michael Williams grounded out to first.
Defensive changes for Kentucky: Glad moves to second base. Coming in to play first, batting in the leadoff spot, is Lance Ray.
In the fifth, Murray loaded the bases with two outs via a walk, error and hit batsman. Nick Kennedy came out of the bullpen to retire Noonan.
UK cut the margin to 7-3 when Chad Wright knocked a one-out homer to the party deck in right-center, his second dinger of the season.
UK’s sixth error of the game helped put Kennedy in a jam in the sixth. With one out and runners at second and third, Kennedy fanned Colton Moore and got Craycraft to ground out.
Glad led off the bottom of the sixth with his third hit of the game — a home run to the scoreboard. Glad has two homers this season.
Neither team scored in the seventh or eighth.
Murray right-hander Dan Huff, who threw more than 130 pitches gave way to Chris Craycraft to start the ninth. Craycraft, a right-hander out of Henry Clay, began his collegiate career with UK.
After Luke Maile drew a leadoff walk, Wright laced his third hit of the game, a single through the right side. Pinch-runner Brian Adams advanced to second. Andy Burns drew a full-count walk to load the bases for pinch-hitter Chris Bisson.
His sharp single to center scored Adams and kept the bases loaded with no outs.
However, a hard-hit grounder by Farris was fielded by Cunningham, who stepped on first and threw home just in time to double-up Wright. Laws, the catcher, did well to hang on to the ball.
Glad flied to left, leaving Murray with the 7-5 win.
Murray State — Zach Noonan, LF; Elliot Frey, CF; Wes Cunningham, 1B; Jason Laws, C; Colton Moore, DH; Jonathan Craycraft, 2B; Bryan Propst, RF; Cory Hodskins, 3B; Brandon Elliott, SS. Pitching: RH Dan Huff (0-2, 5.60).
Kentucky — Neiko Johnson, 2B; Chad Wright, LF; Andy Burns, 3B; Braden Kapteyn, DH; Cory Farris, RF; Gunner Glad, 1B; Keenan Wiley, CF; Michael Williams, C; Taylor Black, SS. Pitching: RH Sam Kidd (1-0, 6.23).
Umpires — Nathan Huber, HP; Brandon Cooper, 1B; Clarence Coleman, 3B.