KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 4 Tennessee exploded for seven runs in the second inning to erase an early deficit and cruise to a 14-4 series-opening victory over Kentucky on a damp Thursday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Every player in UT’s starting lineup recorded a hit with Pete Derkay (3-for-4, 2 runs), Jordan Beck (2-for-4, 3 runs, HR, 3 RBI), Luc Lipcius (2-for-5, 2 runs, HR, RBI), Jackson Greer (2-for-4, 2 runs, HR, 2 RBI) and Liam Spence (2-for-5, run, 2 RBI) all finishing with multiple hits on the night.
Chad Dallas battled through a rocky start and a 20-minute rain delay to settle in and provide the Big Orange with another quality start. The junior right hander finished with seven strikeouts in six innings of work and earned the win to improve to 7-1 on the year.
Kentucky jumped out to a quick 3-0 with a pair of home runs in the first two innings. T.J. Collett opened the scoring with a solo shot in the first, his 15th homer of the season, and Jacob Plastiak added to the Wildcats’ lead with a two-run homer in the second.
Tennessee would not be outdone, however, hitting two long balls of their own in a seven-run second inning to take a 7-3 lead. Jordan Beck tied the game with a three-run blast to left center and two batters later, Jackson Greer hit a two-run bomb to put the Vols ahead. Drew Gilbert capped the scoring in the inning with a two-run single up the middle.
After UK scratched across a run in the top of the third, the Big Orange added five more runs in the home half of the inning despite recording just one hit. Spence, Jake Rucker and Gilbert all drove in runs in the inning.
Lipcius joined in on the home run parade with a solo blast in the fourth while Spence picked up his second RBI of the night later in the inning to give UT a 14-4 lead that would hold for the remainder of the night as neither team scored over the final five innings.
The Vols (33-10 // 13-6 SEC) and Wildcats (25-14, 9-10 SEC) will square off again tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app.
SCORING IN BUNCHES: After scoring 20 runs in last Sunday’s series finale at Texas A&M, the Vols exploded for 14 runs on Thursday night against the Wildcats, marking the first time that Tennessee has scored double-digit runs in back-to-back SEC games since 2010 at Georgia. UT defeated the Bulldogs 25-5 on May 8 and completed a series sweep with a 14-11 victory on May 9.
After scoring 15 runs over the final three innings against the Aggies, Tennessee nearly matched that output with 14 runs over a three-inning stretch from the second to the fourth on Thursday.
MORE DINGERS PLEASE: The Vols blasted three more home runs in Thursday’s win and came agonizingly close to hitting a couple more. The Big Orange have now hit multiple homers in five of their last eight games. Their 57 home runs on the year are the most since hitting 81 in 2010 and the most in a single season since the NCAA switched to the BBCOR bats in 2011.