Kentucky completes a rain-delayed victory over the Vols
May 8, 2022
Kentucky Wildcats avslutade de två sista omgångarna av en 5-2-serievinst över Tennessee Volunteers på lördagen på Kentucky Proud Park.
After the unavoidable rain delay, Kentucky took advantage of the opportunity to build on its 13-inning walk-off victory on Thursday and carried it into a strong start that might significantly improve the Wildcats' prospects of qualifying for the SEC Tournament later in the season.
Tennessee was shut out in the top of the first, and in the bottom of the third, sophomore right-handed starter Blade Tidwell faced the minimum, courtesy of a terrific play by Seth Stephenson, a second baseman by trade.
After junior center fielder Drew Gilbert singled up the middle, Kentucky starter Austin Strickland retired the next three Vols to keep the game scoreless. It didn't last long before it was finally tallied. A towering solo home run by shortstop Ryan Ritter gave Kentucky a 1-0 lead.
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Wildcats increased their lead
Cortland Lawson, the Cats' junior shortstop, drew a one-out walk, but the Vols could not take on the opportunity as the Cats increased their lead in the bottom of the third inning.
John Thrasher led out with a left-field single and scored on catcher Alonzo Rubalcabra's RBI double to give Kentucky a 2-0 lead. He went to third on a groundout to the right side and scored on a sacrifice fly by second baseman Daniel Harris IV to make it 3-0.
Tennessee got an answer in the top of the fourth. Jordan Beck, aka Mike Honcho, earned a leadoff walk and scored on Trey Lipscomb's RBI double to make it 3-1. Jorel Ortega's RBI doubles down the right-field line scored Lipscomb and made it 3-2.
Kentucky countered by changing pitching to junior right-hander Zack Lee. With one out, Christian Moore greeted Lee with an infield single that placed runners on the corners. Lee fought back, striking out senior catcher Evan Russell and getting Lawson to fly out to the center field to maintain the score 3-2.
Error from Ortega
After a quiet fifth inning and top of the sixth, a one-out Ortega's error on a routine throw to first base changed things. Kentucky got their chance when Oraj Anu knocked an unearned RBI double off the center-field wall, extending Kentucky's lead to 4-2.
During the top of the seventh innings, Russel drew a one-out walk, and Stephenson got hit with a 1-2 pitch, which led to another bullpen from Kentucky. The action resulted in another bullpen move by Kentucky.
Kentucky pulled out its senior right-hander Daniel Harper to face Tennessee senior first baseman Luc Lipcius. This time, the UK's defense won the game for Harper.
At the top of the eighth, Mother Nature made the umpires cry. The game was suspended at 2-2 with Gilbert at the bat after Beck struck out.
Saturday's game resumed. As soon as Gilbert went back into the box, the rain started again. Kentucky put Sean Harney on the mound, and he got Gilbert to ground out on the first pitch before getting Lipscomb to fly out to the right field to finish the inning.
In the eighth inning, Kentucky scored another run against Kirby Connell, a junior left-handed reliever. Chase Estep singled down the left-field line to begin the inning, and Harris nailed a bunt down the third-base line.
In the top of the ninth, Harney stayed on the mound and only let Russell hit a single with two outs before getting Lawson to ground out and end the game.
Now Tennessee (41-6, 19-4 SEC) will need a win over Kentucky (26-20, 9-14) in Game 3 to avoid a surprising sweep.