Coming off a tough 16-1 loss on Friday night to the No. 22 Tennessee Volunteers, the Wildcats looked to redeem themselves on Saturday afternoon.
Following pitching troubles in the past few games, the Cats started with junior Zack Thompson on the mound. Thompson began the game strong, striking out four Volunteers in the first three innings and completing a shutdown inning in the fourth. Thompson and Tennessee starting pitcher Zach Linginfelter dueled in the first five innings, ending with no runs from either team.
The offense finally broke through in the sixth, when the Vols loaded the bases with no outs after a couple wild pitches and an error. After two big hits from Alerick Soularie and Evan Russell, the Vols took a 4-0 lead.
The Cats showed some life in the bottom of the sixth, with two solo homers from redshirt junior Zeke Lewis, his first homer of the season, and senior Ryan Shinn to cut the Vol lead in half at 4-2.
Austin Schultz hit a double to start the seventh for Kentucky, leading to a Tennessee pitching change. The Cats couldn’t convert, however, as the Vols caught Schultz trying to steal third. Kentucky ended the inning with one runner on base.
Redshirt sophomore Carson Coleman entered the game in relief of Thompson to open the eighth. The Vols stayed hot throughout the inning, forcing another pitching change and bringing four runners home.
The Cats entered the bottom of the eighth trailing 8-2, and while two runners made it halfway to home in the eighth, the Cats weren’t able to capitalize.
Sophomore Trip Lockhart took the mound for the Cats to begin the final inning before Tennessee failed to bring any runners home, leaving two on base.
The Cats couldn’t quite get the offense going in the ninth, with Jaren Shelby striking out swinging for the final play of the series. The final score was 8-2.
Up next, the Wildcats will travel to Bowling Green to take on the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers on Tuesday, April 23. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.