Thursday marked the first game of a three-game series against rival Tennessee that, quite frankly, Kentucky (20-16, 6-9 SEC) needs to win heading into the second half of SEC play. UK starter Zack Brown was locked in, picking up his third win of the year, as the Cats defeated the Vols 5-0. In 7.1 innings of work, Brown struck out four batters and allowed just five hits. Reliever Logan Salow was great, as well, in closing out the game. Salow gave up no runs or hits and struck out three in 1.2 innings.
UK applied the pressure early, scoring in the first inning. Leadoff slugger Kyle Barrett opened the bottom of the first with a single up the middle and scored the Cats’ first run on a JaVon Shelby single through the left side.
After going scoreless in their next three innings, UK extended the lead to 3-0 in the fifth. Designated hitter Zach Arnold led off the inning with an infield single. Then later, with one out, Barrett smoked a grounder right at the pitcher who pivoted and threw to second for what looked to be a routine 1-6-3 inning-ending double play, but the shortstop overthrew the first baseman allowing Arnold to score. Evan White followed up the Tennessee miscue with a double to the left-center gap to score Barrett.
Another two-run inning in the seventh gave UK a commanding lead that would seal the victory. With two away, Connor Heady drew a walk and Barrett ripped a deep double down the left field line to score Heady from first. Barrett then hustled to score from second on a White single through the right side.
The Wildcats collected nine hits on the evening, including multi-hit performances from Barrett, White, Shelby, and Dorian Hairston. Barrett’s season average is now up to .369 after going 2-3 last night with a walk, RBI, and three runs scored.
Kentucky and Tennessee will face off again tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium. You can watch the game on SEC Network+.
Highlights of the series-opener below.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) April 17, 2015