UK baseball drops third SEC series to unranked Volunteers


Junior Justin Lewis throws a pitch during the game against Florida on Friday, April 20, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 3-1. Photo by Chase Phillips | Staff

Charlee Schaefer

With the 5-3 loss in the rubber match on Sunday, the No. 14 UK baseball team dropped its third conference series on the road.

The loss marks the first time Tennessee has taken a series from Kentucky since the 2014 season.

The first game was dominated by Tennessee’s pitching, the second by Kentucky’s offense.

In game two, a late offensive surge pushed the Cats passed the Vols and allowed UK to even the series.

The lineup started producing immediately and gave left-handed pitcher Zach Thompson some confidence in his first start since March 10. The pitching staff let him go through three innings, in which he allowed no hits and put up seven strikeouts.

Luke Becker and Troy Squires both hit three-run home runs that contributed greatly to the seven-run win.

The ejection of both the head coach and the pitching coach left the Vols without their usual authority. Both coaches were suspended for the final game as well for “excessive arguing,” according to game officials.

In game three on Sunday, Justin Lewis took the bump for UK.

The Vols took a three-run lead in the bottom of the third after a leadoff walk, sacrifice bunt, walk, error and wild pitch.

Lewis went seven innings before passing the ball to freshman right-hander Jimmy Ramsey. Lewis allowed six hits and three earned runs. He also walked two and recorded seven strikeouts. 

UK catcher Kole Cottam added to his big weekend with a sacrifice fly and a single followed by a two-base error to score Squires in the seventh. The Cats managed to tie the final game at 3 with a squeeze bunt from Becker.

In the bottom of the seventh, Brandon Chinea stepped to the plate with two outs and hit his first-career home run to give the Vols the lead for the last time.

The attempted rally in the ninth fell short after UK could not manufacture any runs, which resulted in the loss.

The Cats head back to Lexington before the midweek game against the Indiana Hoosiers on Tuesday. They will play their final three games at Cliff Hagan Stadium next weekend.