The Wildcats are in town this weekend as Tennessee continues its six game home stand. The Vols are looking for revenge against Kentucky after being swept last season and are looking for their first SEC series victory of the year.
Tuesday saw Dave Serrano's squad back home in Knoxville as they hosted MTSU in a midweek game. The Vols jumped on the Blue Raiders early, with a Nick Senzel solo homer in the first and three run homer in the third giving UT the 4-0 lead. Jordan Rodgers scored on an error in the fourth, and a three run fifth inning (Senzel RBI bases-loaded walk and Rodgers two RBI single) pushed the lead to 8-0. MTSU finally broke up the shutout in the sixth on an RBI single. Senzel added his fifth RBI in the bottom of that frame to respond. The Blue Raiders tacked on a late run on a sacrifice fly in the ninth after loading the bases with three walks to provide the final score of 9-2. Eric Freeman was outstanding in his start, going 5 innings with 5 hits, no walks, and 2 strikeouts.
The next day UNC Asheville came to town looking to get revenge for their loss earlier this season in Asheville. The Vols struck first again though with Chris Hall hitting a double before stealing third and scoring on an error. Benito Santiago added an RBI single in the third, Derek Lance scored on an error which along with a Hall RBI double and Vincent Jackson sacrifice fly gave UT the 5-0 lead heading to the fourth. Lance added an RBI single and Vincent Jackson homered to push the lead to 7-0. The sixth inning saw Tennessee tack on three more runs, with Leno Ramirez hitting an RBI single and Jackson bringing him home with what ended up being credited as an inside the park home run after two Bulldog fielders collided after a pop fly to the outfield. Sean Skelly ended up adding one final run in the seventh after an error for the 11-0 victory. Alex Harper-Cook got the win after his 4 inning start where he gave up 2 hits and 2 walks with 5 strikeouts.
Nick Senzel was pulled from the game Wednesday with a wrist strain but according to Serrano he should be ready to go this weekend.
Tennessee leads the all-time series with Kentucky 155-135. The Vols have won four of the last eight games, however the Wildcats swept the series last season in Lexington by a combined score of 13-4.
Kentucky has series victories this season against both Georgia and Florida to open SEC play. This past week they dropped a midweek game against the Northern Kentucky Norse before defeating Xavier. The Vols and Wildcats have both faced Cincinnati and Western Kentucky this season. Both teams defeated Cincy (7-1 for the UT, 8-4 for UK) and lost to WKU (0-6 for UT, 6-14 for UK).
Tennessee finishes their home stand next Wednesday when Morehead State visits. After that the Vols hit the road to South Carolina.
Tennessee Volunteers (16-9) (2-4 SEC) vs #12 Kentucky Wildcats (18-7) (4-2 SEC)
Date: Friday-Sunday April 1-3, 2016
First Pitch: 6 p.m. ET Friday, 4 p.m. ET Saturday, 2 p.m. ET Sunday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, Knoxville, TN
Internet Video: Each game on WatchESPN
Probable Starting Pitchers:
UT LHP Aaron Soto (2-0, 3.86 ERA) vs UK RHP Zack Brown (1-4, 5.97 ERA)
UT LHP Zach Warren (4-1, 2.83 ERA) vs UK RHP Dustin Beggs (6-0, 2.40 ERA)
UT LHP Andy Cox (2-2, 7.31 ERA) vs UK RHP Kyle Cody (2-1, 6.43 ERA)
Players to Keep an Eye on:
|UT||RHP||Jon Lipinski||5.27||1.46||11||.255||1-0 (3)|