LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky opened its final home conference series with a dominating 15-5 win over Tennessee on Friday night for its 16th Southeastern Conference win of the season – the most for the program most since the 2012 club won 18 games.
The No. 8 Cats (34-16, 16-9 SEC) wasted no time breaking the game open as they scored 10 runs over the first four innings. Eight UK starters finished with at least one RBI, four of which also had a home run. In his 20th multi-hit game of the season, Riley Mahan went 3-for-4 at the plate and only needed a triple to hit for the cycle. Mahan’s double in the third inning gave him his team-leading 20th double and moved him into second place in the SEC while his home run was his third in the last four games.
Junior first baseman Evan White got the offense going when he crushed a ball over the left field wall in the bottom of the first inning. He went on to pick up two more RBI the next inning after he tucked a ball inside the right field line. Troy Squires went 3-for-3, including nabbing his first career home run as part of back-to-back solo shots with Mahan in the bottom of the sixth inning. Zach Reks, White, Mahan, and Squires all finished with two or more RBI.
Sean Hjelle provided another quality outing for the Wildcats in his eighth win of the season. The sophomore right-hander struck out six and gave up just two hits, one run, and two walks in seven innings of work. He is now 6-1 with an earned run average under 2.00 in league play and has yielded five or fewer hits in six straight and nine of last 10 outings.
Bot 1st – Evan White homered to left field. UK 1, UT 0.
Bot 2nd – Troy Squires led off with a double to centerfield and advanced to third base when Tyler Marshall singled up the middle. Connor Heady singled to left field, scoring Squires from third. Squires and Heady scored when White doubled down the right field line. UK 4, UT 0.
Bot 3rd – Luke Becker led off with a single to right field and advanced to third base after Riley Mahan doubled off the wall in left-center field. Squires flew out to right field, but scored Becker on the sacrifice. Marshall also flew out – to left field – scoring Mahan from third. UK 6, UT 0.
Top 4th – Jeff Moberg homered to center field. UK 7, UT 1.
Bot 4th – Tristan Pompey walked and advanced to third base after Zach Reks doubled down the right-field line. Becker flew out to left field, but Pompey tagged and scored anyway. Mahan singled to right field and scored Reks. Squires then singled to second base and Mahan advanced to second. Marshall reached on a throwing error from the shortstop while Squires advanced to third and Mahan scored. Marcus Carson singled to right field, scoring Squires. UK 10, UT 1.
Bot 6th – Mahan and Squires hit back-to-back home runs. UK 12, UT 1.
Bot 7th – White walked. Reks stepped up and homered to right field. Kole Cottam grounded out to shortstop, scoring pinch runner Zeke Lewis. UK 15, UT 1.
Top 9th – Justin Ammons walked. Jordan Rodgers and Dom Thornton were hit by pitches, which loaded the bases. Andre Lipcius singled to left field, scoring Ammons and Rodgers. Danny Sirven walked, then Matt Waldren grounded out to the shortstop, but Thornton still scored on the play. Max Bartlett was hit by a pitch. Brodie Leftridge hit a sac fly that scored Lipcius. UK 15, UT 5.