Brian Van Kirk
March 25, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Kentucky belted a pair of two-run homers in the top of the ninth inning Saturday as the 12th-ranked Tennessee baseball team fell to the Wildcats 6-1 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The game was tied at 1-1 heading into the final frame, but UK's strong finish helped the Cats even the series at one game apiece.
With the loss, Tennessee fell to 17-6 (1-3 SEC). Kentucky is now 19-5 (3-2 SEC). The series-finale starts Sunday at 2 p.m. Freshman right-hander Josh Lindblom (4-1, 2.75 ERA) will start for UT, and sophomore right-hander Greg Dombrowski (4-0, 1.26 ERA) will throw for the Wildcats.
Kentucky first baseman Ryan Strieby led off the top of the ninth with a double, setting the stage for second baseman John Shelby's go-ahead homer. Kentucky then continued to pour it on, adding three more runs on three more hits to bring its final run total to six. Shaun Lehmann also homered during the rally, and the Vols defense committed three errors in the inning.
Veteran right-hander Craig Cobb made his first weekend start of the year for Tennessee after posting solid numbers out of the bullpen through the first six weeks of the season. The Knoxville, Tenn., native nearly went the distance, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits with one walk and six strikeouts through a season-high 8 2/3 innings. Cobb had only surrendered one run on five hits entering the ninth, but he took the loss to fall to 4-1 this season.
Reliever Brock Baber (2-0) logged the win for UK, tossing two shutout innings in relief of starter Craig Snipp. Snipp left the hill after giving up just one run on seven hits with a walk and four Ks through seven full innings.
Kentucky used two doubles and a sacrifice bunt to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Billy Grace plated leadoff man Antone DeJesus with an RBI two-bagger.
In the bottom of the seventh, UT finally got on the board when sophomore right fielder Brian Van Kirk sent a solo homer into the left-field bleachers. It was his second longball of the year, but it proved to be all the offense the Vols could muster.
Freshman reliever Danny Wiltz finished the game on the mound for Tennessee. The Vols stranded two runners in the first, fifth and seventh innings. All seven of UT's hits were recorded by different players.