On Thursday night, the fourth ranked Tennessee Volunteers (33-11, 13-7) baseball team opened up their home series against the Kentucky Wildcats with a 14-4 win before dropping Friday’s contest 8-2. When the two teams met at Lindsey Nelson Stadium Sunday afternoon, the Vols were looking to secure another series victory — their eighth in their last nine tries.
Tennessee called on Blade Tidwell to begin the game on the mound. He would turn in 5.1 innings pitched, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, three walks, and five strikeouts; in the sixth, he would make way for Redmond Walsh coming on in relief.
Kentucky opened up the scoring in the first inning when a sacrifice fly made it a 1-0 game heading into the bottom half.
In the second inning, Tennessee would strike back when a Jordan Beck double plated Drew Gilbert, knotting the game at 1-1. Pete Derkay would hit a sacrifice fly which would bring in Luc Lipcius and grant the Vols a 2-1 advantage early in the game.
In the bottom of the third, Evan Russell was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, prompting the third run of the game to score, resulting in a 3-1 Tennessee lead.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Tennessee plated another run thanks to a Jake Rucker single, extending the lead to 4-1.
In the next half inning, however, the Wildcats were able to cut the deficit to two after a fielding error allowed an unearned run to score, making it a 4-2 game.
A flurry of seventh inning runs put the game away for good. To kick off the scoring in the seventh, a Max Ferguson single would score a run, making it 5-2. Jake Rucker would go on to blast a grand slam and, as a consequence, slam the door on Kentucky, 9-2. For good measure, Lipcius added another long ball — this one for two runs — giving Tennessee an 11-2 lead heading into the eighth inning.
Walsh’s relief appearance would be a quality one, netting him 3.2 innings; he didn’t allow a run, hit, or a walk, and managed to rack up five strikeouts en route to the save. Tidwell took the win.
With the win, the Vols improve to 34-11 overall and 14-7 in-conference. Play continues next weekend with a weekend road series against the Missouri Tigers. The Tigers are struggling this season, currently holding a 12-27 record overall and 5-14 mark in conference play. Those games will be played on Friday (7:30 pm), Saturday (4:00 pm), and Sunday (2:00 pm).