After last weeks disappointing home series sweep at the hands of Ole Miss, this Kentucky Baseball club could’ve used a sweet SEC road series win over rival Tennessee. Unfortunately, this was not the case for a wildcats ball club that is trying to finish the season strong in anticipation of an SEC Tourney appearance as the Vols were able to take 2-out-of-3 down in Knoxville to leapfrog over UK in the eastern division. All was not lost however as UK’s lone win in the series came during Thursday night, where the national audience on ESPNU’s Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week saw the cats put on a hitting clinic in a 15-1 series opening blowout of their neighbors down south. So with that, let’s travel back and look at the unfortunately disappointing week that was:
Thursday: Kentucky (15) – Tennessee (1)
As was mentioned in the introduction, Thursday would turn out to be the highlight of the weekend. As has been the case with the majority of the season, Kentucky’s golden boy A.J. Reed was a terror from both the mound and the plate. Reed worked eight innings form atop the mound, where he struck out nine while only allowing for three hits and a lone run. On the hitting front, the cats received at least one hit from everyone with Max Kuhn being the lone exception. On top of this, Kentucky technically also had four homers in the opener as well (and by technically, I mean Storm Wilson completed the rare inside-the-park home run for one of them). Ka’ai Tom recorded his first home run ever as a wildcat with a three-run blast that came in the third inning. Matt Reida was also another wildcat who homered, with a three-run shot that came in the ninth. However, easily the most impressive of all the homers (which is saying alot) came from the bat of A.J. Reed, who blasted a home run in the eighth that was so far over the CF batters eye that ESPNU’s cameras couldn’t even track it. On the year, A.J. leads the NCAA in home runs at 20, which is a mark that only eight other wildcats in history have been able to achieve.
Friday: Tennessee (8) – Kentucky (2)
After a Thursday night slam-down, Tennessee decided to pull no punches in an 8-2 victory that saw the Cats fall behind early by four runs. The cats sent out Dylan Dwyer to the mound, where he only worked three innings after striking out two and allowing five hits and six runs. Despite a lackluster pitching day, the wildcats were able to hit the ball around. Unfortunately, the cats were just not able to find that one crucial hit to get the game going, despite a solo homer from Matt Reida in the fourth. Wildcats’ Matt Reida, Ka’ai Tom, Max Kuhn, Thomas Bernal, Storm Wilson, and Austin Cousino all recorded hits in the loss. Cousino specifically was able to extend his 10 game hitting streak on the day after going 2-for-5 on the night. Tennessee’s senior pitcher Nick Williams threw an impressive 128 pitches to keep the cats from starting any momentum, which set up a rare Saturday rubber match as a result.
Saturday: Tennessee (5) – Kentucky (1)
Ol’ Rocky Top was able to completely shut down the Kentucky bats for seven innings in this one, as Tennessee stater Andy Cox pitched a no hitter into the seventh inning that would help the Vols take the series from the boys in blue. On the day, the cats were able to only manage three hits via singles from Storm Wilson, Matt Reida (bunt single), and Ka’ai Tom. In fact, Kentucky’s lone run of the game came from a fielders choice hit by Austin Cousino, which gave him a RBI. On the pitching front for UK, starter Andrew Nelson worked four innings for the cats, striking out one while allowing two hits and two runs. Relievers Logan Salow and Spencer Jack came in to try and salvage the game, with Jack striking out two Vols.
Look Ahead To This Week:
Kentucky will need to bounce back quick, as there are only two more SEC series’ left in the season. The boys in blue will play their final SEC home series of the year (already?) against the Tigers of Auburn University, as you can see below:
Friday: vs Auburn (6:30 p.m.)
Saturday: vs Auburn (7:00 p.m.) [Fox Sports South / CWKYT]
Sunday: vs Auburn (1:00 p.m.) [Fox Sports South / CWKYT]
As always, tickets are cheap (free if you have a UK ID) and parking is free out at The Cliff as well. So why not go on out and have a fun day cheering on a UK baseball squad that could use some support right now?