The young Kentucky Baseball team was provided with another tall task this weekend, as No. 22 Tennessee came to town for a three game series.
For the Cats, the series did not go as planned, as they were swept aside by the Vols.
At times in the series, however, Kentucky showed flashes of potential which is important during this rebuilding season that is 2019.
Here’s a recap of all three games with the Vols.
Game 1: UT: 4, UK: 2
Game 1 saw the Vols get on the board quickly as in the first inning as the second batter of the game Max Ferguson hit an RBI single off of Kentucky stater Jimmy Ramsey to make it 1-0 Vols.
This would stay the score for six innings as Ramsey settled into a grove and Tennessee starter Garrett Crochet held the Cats offense in check.
In the bottom of the sixth Kentucky finally was the team to break through as both Ryan Shinn and T.J. Collet hit solo home runs off of Crochet to put Kentucky on top 2-1 and knock the Vols starter out of the game.
Holding onto the 2-1 lead in the top of the 8th Nick Mingione left Daniel Harper in the game after he pitched a scoreless seventh.
The move would backfire as Alerick Soularie hit a two-run home run to put the Vols on top and Pete Derkay hit a solo shot to add insurance as Tennessee took a 4-2 lead.
Kentucky would not be able to come back in the final two innings, as Andrew Schultz and Redmond Walsh slammed the door shut out of the bullpen for the Volunteers, giving them the win in the series opener by a score of 4-2.
Game 2: UT: 16, UK: 1
The second game of the three-game series was a laugher, though it was competitive for the first handful of innings.
Tennessee took an early as Andre Lipcius hit a two-run home run off of Kentucky starter Mason Hazlewood, but the Cats would keep the game close early thanks to an RBI single by Breydon Daniel in the bottom of the second cut the Vols lead to 2-1.
In the top of the fourth, the Vols offense got rolling again as Ricky Martinez doubled to make it a 3-1 game. In the top of the fifth inning with Hazlewood out of the game, Max Ferguson scored on a wild pitch from Kentucky reliever Cole Daniels to make it 4-1.
As the game went, on things continued to spiral out of control for the Wildcats as the bullpen combination of Cole Ayers, Grant Macciocchi, Alex Degan and Ben Jordan gave up a combined 12 earned runs helping the Vols to a series-clinching victory.
Game 3: UT: 8, UK: 2
In the final game of the series Kentucky sent ace Zack Thompson to the mound looking to prevent a sweep.
As what is normally the case when Thompson takes the mound, the game was a pitching duel.
Tennessee’s Zach Linginfelter and Thompson put up matching zero’s in the games first five innings.
In the top of the sixth, it was the Vols offense that became the first to break through. Tennessee scored four runs off of Thompson after a run-scoring ground out by Andre Lipcius, a two-run double by Alerick Soularie and an RBI single by Evan Russell.
The bottom half of the sixth also saw Kentucky’s offense get in the board as Zeke Lewis and Ryan Shinn both hit solo home runs to cut the Tennessee lead in half at 4-2.
In the top of the eighth, the Vols pulled away as they plated four runs to push their lead to 8-2.
The lead would be too much for Kentucky to overcome, as Tennessee completed the three game sweep.
Kentucky (20-20) will be back in action Tuesday when they travel to Bowling Green to take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers for a one game nonconference matchup. Then the team will resume conference play next weekend when they travel to the swamp to take on the No. 25 Florida Gators.