Cats crush Volunteers in series opener


Tyler Marshall (3) celebrates a run with catcher Troy Squires (16) during the game against the Louisville Cardinals on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky defeated Louisville 11-7.

Charlee Schaefer

After a tough series loss this past weekend to the Georgia Bulldogs, No. 8 UK baseball took game one of its series against the Tennessee Volunteers on Friday evening, with a final score of 15-5. 

The Cats are now 16-9 in conference play as they look to win another SEC series to improve their record to determine their placement in the upcoming tournament. 

UK took the early lead and scored 10 runs in the first four innings. The Cats had home runs from Evan White, Zach Reks, Troy Squires and Riley Mahan.

Mahan went 3-4 and Squires went 3-3 on the night. 

Sophomore right-hander Sean Hjelle had a strong outing, pitching a total of 7 innings, while allowing only 2 hits and 1 earned run. His ERA is now 3.12 and he is 8-2 for the season.

Alec Maley pitched an inning and allowed one hit and Brad Schaenzer closed out the night to secure the win for Hjelle. 

Hjelle was not extremely confident in his mechanics/delivery tonight and said, “I feel lucky. I really wasn’t that sharp out there tonight and defense picked me up and offense really picked me up today. I put myself in a lot of jams and I was lucky enough that defense was good enough to help me get out of it.” 

When asked how coach Nick Mingione thinks his Friday ace has done this season he said, “The bottom line is, he goes out there and gives us the chance to win. He has done that over and over again. He deserves all of this credit.”

This was an eventful night for the Cats, with 8 of their 9 starters having an RBI and Squires hitting his first career home run. This is exactly the momentum that the Cats need as they head to Gainesville next weekend for their series against Florida, then move into the postseason.