April 30, 2009
The Tennessee baseball team travels to Lexington, Ky., this weekend for its fourth Southeastern Conference road test of the season. The three-game series against the Kentucky Wildcats begins with a 6:30 p.m. Central time contest Friday. Game times are set for 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Saturday's game will be televised on Fox Sports Net as its "SEC Game of the Week".
Tennessee leads the all-time series between the two team 146-123, dating back to 1915. The Vols hold a 50-33 advantage in Lexington but Kentucky has won six of the last 10 meetings between the two teams including a three-game sweep of Tennessee last season in Knoxville.
The Volunteers (20-25, 6-15 SEC) are entering into the final three weeks of the season in search of their second conference road series win. Tennessee is batting .287 as a team with 82 doubles and 68 home runs while the pitching staff has compiled a 6.05 ERA with 411 strikeouts and only 161 walks.
Offensively, sophomore infielder Cody Hawn continues to lead the Vols. The Knoxville native has a team high .361 batting average with 17 home runs, 12 doubles and 67 RBIs. Hawn ranks in the top 10 in the conference in each of those categories; fourth in home runs, ninth in doubles, fourth in slugging percentage and tied for second in RBIs. Sophomore catcher Blake Forsythe is second on the team with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs.
Kentucky (22-22, 7-14) enters Friday's game batting .292 as a team with 40 home runs and 64 stolen bases. The Cats have a 5.22 team ERA, which ranks No. 9 in the league. Sophomore second baseman Chris Bisson leads the teams with a .365 average, 66 this and 46 RBIs. Junior Gunner Glad leads the club with seven home runs.
This weekend's pitching matchups begin with Friday's showdown between UT junior Nick Hernandez (2-4, 5.26 ERA) and UK left-hander James Patton (4-2, 5.53 ERA). Wildcat left-hander Chris Rusin (5-3, 3.73 ERA) takes the mound Saturday. Tennessee has not announced its Saturday starter. Neither team has determined a starting pitcher for Sunday's game.
Four current Vols own career batting averages of better than .200 against Kentucky (Cody Brown, .241; Jeff Lockwood .333; Josh Liles, 250; Kentrail Davis, .200). Last season, Tennessee pitchers logged 27 Ks in the series and Bryan Morgado's nine strikeouts in Saturday's contest made him just the second UT freshman ever to reach the 100-K milestone, joining James Adkins who struck out 135 in 2005.
All three games are slated for radio broadcast in the Knoxville area on WNML FM 99.1 & 99.3. In addition, a free audio stream of the baseball play-by-play for all three games can be accessed online at UTsports.com.