The Kentucky Baseball team battled the fourth-ranked Volunteers tough in all three outings this weekend, but ultimately fell short in two to drop a series they very well could have won.
The Bat ‘Cats got the huge road victory over the top-five Vols yesterday, but today’s game looked a lot more like Thursday’s, with Kentucky hanging around before a late UT explosion put the game out of hand.
UK got on the board first in this one. In the top of the first, Austin Schultz got on base and stole third with a sacrifice fly by Coltyn Kessler sending him home to give the ‘Cats the early 1-0 lead after the first half-inning of the game.
Tennessee got their bats going in the bottom of the second. They got a few batters on base to start the inning and worked home two runs to take the lead after two.
In the third, the Vols struck again. Kentucky pitcher Zack Lee struggled early, already allowing two in the second and he loaded up the bases in the third. He hit a batter to advance a run to home and luckily that was all UK surrendered during the bottom half of the inning.
Two innings later, Tennessee advanced the lead to two on an RBI single and led 3-1 after five.
However, the ‘Cats responded in the top half of the sixth. TJ Collett got aboard, then reached home after a fielding error on a Coltyn Kessler at bat, cutting the lead to 3-2. But Tennessee responded in a big way in the other half of the sixth.
They got an RBI single to push the lead back out to two early on. Then Kentucky allowed the Vols to load the bases yet again; and this time, they weren’t able to escape giving up just a run. Instead, Tennessee sent a grand slam over the fence to lead 9-2. A few batters after the bases-clearing grand slam, Tennessee smacked an additional two-run bomb to push the lead to 11-2 and the game was essentially over.
Neither team scored in the final three innings and Kentucky fell in what could have ben the signature win of the season had they been able to pull off back-to-back upsets in Knoxville to get a series win over the nation’s fourth-ranked team.
It’s a missed opportunity, but at least UK got a nice resume-booster in the middle game of the series and that will matter in terms of the NCAA Tournament.
The Bat ‘Cats will be back in action next weekend with a three-game home series vs. Florida.