KNOXVILLE — J.T. Riddle broke open a scoreless game with a run-scoring double in the sixth inning and starter Corey Littrell hurled six shutout innings to lead No. 2 Kentucky to a series-clinching 6-0 victory over Tennessee on Sunday in front of 2,154 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Kentucky (24-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) bounced back Sunday after the Vols on Friday ended the Cats' school-record 22-game winning streak to open the season.
UK swept Sunday's modified twinbill after Saturday's game was suspended by weather with the Cats leading 5-0 in the fifth. Kentucky used a dominating relief outing from senior southpaw Alex Phillips to complete the suspended game 6-2. Phillips worked 41⁄3 shutout innings.
The Cats have started conference play 5-1 by winning the first two series, the second-best start to an SEC season in program history. UK opened 7-0 in 1992 after sweeps of Auburn and Alabama.
With Sunday's rubber game locked in a scoreless tie entering the sixth, UK mounted its rally. Thomas McCarthy stole second with one out and Riddle's double off the wall scored McCarthy. UK added five runs in the seventh for the final margin, with reliever Trevor Gott needing just 10 pitches to retire the Vols in order the seven-inning game.
Besides Riddle's double, UK got a two-hit game from senior catcher Michael Williams, a native of Knoxville. Freshman Austin Cousino's homer led off the seventh, his second of the year. UK also got hits from Thomas Bernal and A.J. Reed, with Reed extending his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest streak for a Cat since All-American Sawyer Carroll ended his career on a 16-game run in 2008.
Littrell (3-0) allowed four hits and one walk and he struck out five.
Tennessee (13-10, 2-4 SEC) starter Nick Williams worked 41⁄3 innings in his second career start. Williams allowed one hit, a single to his older brother Michael, walked three and struck out three.
Drew Steckenrider (1-2) gave up Riddle's double in the sixth and got the loss. Nick Blount came on for the Vols in the seventh and allowed three hits and three runs.