The frustrations continue to mount for the University of Kentucky baseball team.
Ryan Shinn and Zeke Lewis provided a pair of feel-good moments, but that was far too little to overcome myriad mistakes as Tennessee put together a pair of big innings and routed UK, 8-2, on Saturday at Kentucky Proud Park to complete a three-game sweep.
The Wildcats were outscored by the Volunteers 28-5 during the series. Tennessee (30-11, 9-9 SEC) took Thursday’s opener, 4-2, then crushed the Cats 16-1 on Friday. It’s the third time this season that UK has been swept by an SEC opponent. The Wildcats dropped to 20-20 overall and 4-14 in Southeastern Conference play and are now alone in last place in the SEC East.
Kentucky’s most reliable pitcher all year, Zack Thompson, cruised through much of Saturday’s game as he held Tennessee scoreless through five innings. But he hit two of the first three batters he faced in the top of the sixth to load the bases with no outs. A pair of fielding errors helped Tennessee score four runs in the inning on just one hit, a two-RBI double by clean-up batter Alerick Soularie.
Kentucky got back in the game in the bottom of the sixth. Lewis, a junior infielder, hit his first career home run as a Wildcat to cut Tennessee’s lead to 4-1. Two batters later, Shinn belted his team-leading 11th homer of the year to get UK within 4-2. But Tennessee scored four more runs in the top of the eighth to put the game out of reach, aided by four singles off Kentucky reliever Carson Coleman and the Wildcats’ third throwing error of the afternoon.
It was an up-and-down day for Thompson, who took his first loss of the season (3-1). The junior left-hander allowed just four hits and two earned runs while striking out nine over seven innings, but he hit three batters and walked another.
Shinn remained red-hot against Tennessee, continuing his stellar senior campaign. He went 5-for-11 during the series and on Saturday had his 15th multi-hit game of the year. Shinn leads UK in batting average and his 11 home runs is tied for third-most in the SEC.
The Wildcats begin a four-game road trip at Western Kentucky at 6 p.m. Tuesday. They’ll face Florida in a three-game series in Gainesville beginning Friday.
Kentucky at Western Kentucky
6 p.m. Tuesday