April 30, 2010
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Kentucky hit six home runs, accounting for all of its runs, to claim the series opener against the University of Tennessee, 12-8, at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville on Friday night. The Volunteers added longballs by juniors P.J. Polk and Matt Duffy, but it was not enough to overcome the Wildcat offensive onslaught.
"I don't think I've ever seen a game go quite like that," UT Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. "They only left two on and scored 12 runs, that's one of the best ratios I've ever seen. We left nine on. Of course, if you give up six home runs, then you're not going to win any game. I'm disappointed. I thought we were ready to play. We battled back, but you can't give up six home runs and win. There's really no other comment to make."
Polk and Duffy were the only two members of the UT squad to record multi-hit contests, as Polk added an RBI single and Duffy had a double and knocked in three runs, all on his home run. Junior Bryan Morgado suffered the loss for the Big Orange after allowing seven runs, five earned, in four innings of work. He yielded six hits without walking a batter and struck out three.
Kentucky got the scoring started in the top of the second, tallying three runs with two outs on the board. Although the leadoff hitter, Braden Kapteyn, reached base via a hit by pitch, Morgado quickly erased him from the basepaths as he battled back from down 3-0 in the count to get Keenan Wiley to ground into a routine 4-6-3 double play. A single up the middle by Andy Burns kept the inning alive for UK and, following another hit by pitch, Taylor Black hit a towering fly ball to left that just cleared the wall to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.
The Big Orange came racing back in the bottom of the third, however, getting a pair of the runs back to move within one at 3-2. Although UK starter Logan Darnell got senior Cody Grisham swinging for the first out, sophomore Charley Thurber followed with a walk despite starting his at-bat with a pair of strikes. Fellow classmate Zach Osborne then hit a high chopper to his counterpart at short that went for an infield single and junior Josh Liles blasted a 1-0 pitch off the wall in left-center for a two-RBI double.
The score would not remain that close for long, however, as two more round-trippers, a three-run shot by Kapteyn and a solo blast by Bisson, increased Kentucky's lead to five at 7-2. The Vols got one of the tallies back with an RBI single by Thurber in the following frame, but the Wildcats answered immediately as Gunner Glad kicked off the fifth inning with a leadoff homer off of UT freshman Nick Blount.
Polk kept the home-run barrage going in the bottom of the fifth, launching a one-out longball over "The Porch" in left for UT's fourth run of the afternoon. After a scoreless sixth, UK continued to extend its lead with a two-run bomb, this time by Lance Ray, to go ahead 10-4.
The Vols refused to go away without a fight though and moved back within striking distance with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. With one out on the board, Liles got things rolling by drawing a four-pitch walk off of Darnell. The next pitch would go for a ball as well, prompting UK Head Coach Gary Henderson to bring in relief pitcher Nick Kennedy. Polk would greet him with a single back up the middle. Although Kennedy then caught Blake Forsythe looking with a 1-2 curveball on the outside corner, Duffy followed with a three-run home run, his fourth of the season, to cut UT's deficit to three at 10-7.
That would be as close as the Vols would get though as a two-run homer by Black, his second of the game, put Kentucky back up by five at 12-7. UT would score one more run in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI groundout by Matt Ramsey to account for the final score.
The two teams will return to the diamond Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. Senior right-hander Stephen McCray (4-3, 2.43) will get the start for the Vols, while freshman southpaw Taylor Rogers (4-5, 5.26) takes to the hill for Kentucky. For more information on Tennessee baseball, visit UTSports.com or follow @VolBaseball on Twitter.