Tennessee catcher Blake Forsythe went 2-for-3 with three runs, two RBIs and two home runs to lead the Vols over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 14-8 on Tuesday afternoon at Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Vols have won five straight games and a 7-5 record on the season.
Forsythe is now batting .415 on the season with eight home runs and 20 RBI.
Right-hander Ty’Relle Harris (1-1, 2.25 ERA) pitched 3-2/3 scoreless innings in relief. The senior allowed three hits, walked one and struck out four. Freshmen Will Locante and Matt Ramsey each pitched one shutout inning to close out the game for UT.
Scoring in the game went back and forth till the bottom of the fourth when the Vols took the lead for good.
Down 8-5 heading into the inning, the Volunteers scored four runs. Left fielder P.J. Polk drove in his first run of the game with an RBI single to left field, which scored second baseman Cody Grisham, who reached on an error to lead off the inning. Center fielder Kentrail Davis then drove in his seventh run of the season on a triple down the right field line. Davis then scored on a balk by WKU pitcher Garrie Krueger. Forsythe then hit a solo home run, his second of the game, to give Tennessee a 9-8 lead.
From the fifth inning on, the Tennessee pitching staff quieted the Western Kentucky offense, shutting it out on only two hits. UT broke the game open with five runs in the fifth to take a 14-8 lead. The Vols scored the runs on three hits including a solo home run by designated hitter Charley Thurber and a three-run home run by first baseman Cody Hawn.
Western Kentucky took the early 3-0 in the top of the first inning. After the first two batters of the game reached base on singles, third basemen Wade Gaynor drove two runs in with his second triple of the year, down the right field line. Catcher Matt Rice then grounded out the second, scoring Gaynor from third.
Tennessee responded with two runs in the bottom of the first to make the score 3-2. Right fielder Josh Liles led off the game with his second home run of the season. The Vols added a second run when Hawn singled to drive in Polk, who previously reached base on a single.
WKU added another run in the top of the second to extend its lead to 4-2. After reaching base on a walk, first baseman Jake Wells, advanced to second on a groundout and then scored on an error.
The Hilltoppers scored again in the top of third inning. A sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of catcher Matt Rice drove in Gaynor, giving them a 5-2 lead.
The Vols tied the game at 5-5 with three runs in the bottom of the third. Forsythe hit his seventh home run of the season followed by back-to-back doubles by Hawn and Cody Brown, scoring Hawn. Then shortstop Zach Osborne drove in Brown with a sacrifice fly to left.
Western Kentucky added three more runs in the fourth to take an 8-5 lead. After loading the bases on a walk and two hit batters, Second baseman Matt Payton drove in one run with a sacrifice fly to center, which Gaynor followed with a two-RBI double down the left field line.
Tennessee starting pitcher Adam Adkins allowed five runs on five hits through 2-1/3 innings. The freshman struck out two and walked one. Senior Ryne Simpson gave up three hits on no hits in one inning of work.
Krueger (4-1, 8.70 ERA) took the loss after allowing two runs on two hits in one-third of an inning. J.B. Paxson pitched three innings, giving up five runs on six hits in his first start of the year for the Hilltoppers. Four other WKU pitchers saw action out of the bullpen.
The Vols return to the diamond Wednesday afternoon when they host Louisville at 4 p.m.