Kentucky’s baseball team finally won an SEC game.
But that was about all they did as No. 25 Tennessee took two out of three from the lowly Wildcats in Lexington, Ky., over the weekend, sending UK to its 13th straight SEC series loss.
Sunday’s game was a high-scoring, extra-inning thriller as the Vols won the series with a 10-9, 10-inning victory on Kelly Edmundson’s slow roller down the third base line.
J.P. Arencibia drew a leadoff walk in the 10th inning and was sacrificed to second before taking third on a ground out. Edmundson then barely got a piece of Scott Green’s pitch, but it was enough to score Arencibia for the go-ahead run.
Suarez then turned an unassisted double play to end the game in the bottom of the 10th as the Wildcats (16-14, 1-10 SEC) had the bases loaded with one out.
“We ask our guys to go out there and hit it hard and they do it,” Kentucky coach John Cohen said. “Then, (Tennessee) goes out and hits a roller down the line and win the game on it.
“It’s just the way baseball works. Our kids have worked so hard and they have shown so much enthusiasm. I hate to see things like that happen.”
Joey Andrews (4-2) picked up the win in relief, and Chris Howell scored his fourth save by working a scoreless 10th inning.
The Vols jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after two innings, but a five-run Kentucky third chased starter Craig Cobb and gave UK a 5-4 lead.
Tennessee (23-9, 7-4) answered with two runs in the top of the fourth to retake the lead at 6-5, but the ‘Cats matched the Vols in the bottom half to go back up 7-6.
A three-run sixth — with help from two Kentucky errors — put the Vols up 9-7. But a run in the bottom half and another in the eighth tied the score to force extra innings.
The series got off to a great start as Tennessee pounced on the Wildcats in Friday’s game, hitting five home runs in an 18-2 blowout.
Junior Luke Hochevar (8-1) worked seven shutout innings and struck out 10 for his eighth straight win, and he got plenty of help from the most potent offense in the SEC.
The Vols exploded for four runs on three homers in the third inning, including back-to-back dingers from Eli Iorg and Chase Headley (5-for-6 on the day). Two batters later, Arencibia sent a blast to left to give the Vols a 6-0 lead.
That lead increased to 13-0 with a seven-run fifth inning, and the Vols tacked on five more in the ninth on home runs from Julio Borbon and Rob Fitzgerald.
Despite committing four errors, Kentucky took a measure of revenge in Saturday’s game as freshman Scott Green struck out the final two batters of the game with the bases loaded to hold off Tennessee for a 5-4 win.
Freshman James Adkins lasted five innings and left with a no-decision as he gave up four runs on seven hits while walking four and striking out five.
Tennessee took its first lead in the top of the fifth when Headley hit a solo home run to left to give UT a 4-3 lead.
But Kentucky’s John Shelby answered with a solo shot of his own to tie the score, and a sacrifice fly in the sixth gave the Wildcats a 5-4 lead and the winning margin for their first SEC victory.
Tennessee, which leads the SEC in batting average and several other offensive categories, takes a break from the conference grind tonight as the Vols play host to local rival East Tennessee State tonight at 7.