Riley Mahan continued his assault on Southeastern Conference pitching over the past two weeks, belting two home runs to lead No. 8 Kentucky to an 8-3 victory over Tennessee on Senior Day at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington. The Wildcats will go for a series sweep on Sunday afternoon.
Mahan crushed a pair of home runs to right field, the second of which traveled 436 feet and easily cleared the deck in right-center field. Mahan has homered in four straight league games, with five bombs total in those contests. The junior infielder is 6-for-8 with a double, three home runs, five runs scored and six RBI in the two games against the Volunteers.
“(I’ve) never really been much of a home run hitter,” Mahan said, according to a report by UK Athletics. “But it feels pretty good.
“I’ve been struggling the whole year, chasing bad pitches and getting myself out. “Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve really focused on the strike zone and seeing good pitches and getting pitches up.”
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The Cats (35-16, 17-9 Southeastern Conference) again jumped on the Vols (26-21, 7-17) early with Evan White’s two-run home run in the second inning and a four-run third that gave them a 6-1 lead. With starter Zach Logue struggling a bit on the mound, freshman Chris Machamer came on in relief and pitched 4 1/3 perfect innings to earn his first collegiate victory.
“My favorite thing about his whole stat line was that he never got to a three-ball count,” UK Coach Nick Mingione said of Machamer’s outing. “We talk about attacking hitters, going at them with your best stuff, trusting your stuff. It’s really nice when you can call on a freshman and he can come pick them up.”
With their 35th win of the season, the Cats now have the most wins in a season since the 2014 club won 37 games, and the most SEC wins (17) since the 2012 team finished the year 18-12 in conference play.
Before the game the program honored seven seniors — pitcher Colton Cleary, outfielder Marcus Carson, infielder Connor Heady, first baseman Gunnar McNeill, outfielder Zach Reks, pitcher Logan Salow and outfielder Storm Wilson — on Senior Day. The mother of each player took part in throwing out the ceremonial first pitches in recognition of Mother’s Day.
Tennessee at Kentucky
1 p.m. Sunday