UK Baseball

Cats keep SEC Tournament hopes alive

Don't count Kentucky's baseball team out yet.

The Wildcats fell behind Tennessee 4-0 in the first inning Sunday, then rallied for a 17-11 win at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Cats won two of three games in a key Southeastern Conference series.

UK homered for a cycle of sorts. Braden Kapteyn went deep with the bases loaded, Keenan Wiley did so with two on, Gunner Glad with one aboard and Marcus Nidiffer with the bases empty.

Kapteyn, Glad and Chris Bisson, who had a three-run triple, totaled four RBI each.

Odd as it may seem when a foe scores 11 runs, UK got a lift from pitchers Clint Tilford and Logan Darnell (5-5).

With only the top eight teams qualifying for the SEC Tournament, UK (24-23, 9-15 SEC) sits ninth with two weekends left. UK plays host to Auburn next weekend, then travels to Florida.

"Today's game gets us another weekend and makes next Friday night's game really important," UK Coach Gary Henderson said. "We've got six to play and we're only down a game and a half (to Vanderbilt). ... That's not ideal, but we've still got a chance. And, actually, a pretty good chance. We're at home."

Tennessee (21-27, 7-17) is all but eliminated. The Vols likely will have to sweep South Carolina and Vanderbilt to have a chance.

Tilford got the start late when Alex Meyer was unable to go due to a calf injury.

Tennessee rocked Tilford for four runs in the first, capped by Cody Brown's three-run double. Tilford settled down to last four innings, giving up solo homers to Cody Hawn and Tyler Horne.

By then, UK had rallied to lead 10-6, scoring eight in the second and two in the third.

Bisson's bases-loaded triple and Wiley's three-run homer were the big blows in the second, when all the scoring came with two outs.

"The meaning of this game was big because we knew we should have beat these guys three times," Bisson said. "(Saturday), they played good baseball. We just didn't step up. ... We're just really trying to fight and stay in there."

Tennessee got to reliever Mike Kaczmarek for four runs in the fifth, tying the game at 10. But Darnell came in to hold the Vols to one run over the last four innings, retiring the last 11 batters he faced.

"I had them really off-balance with the curveball and I was trying my best to keep my fastball down," Darnell said. "We all wanted to win bad. The closer we got, the more I wanted to win. So I just wouldn't let anything else get in our way."

UK answered Tennessee's four-run fifth with five in the bottom half of the inning.

Nidiffer led off with a homer off of the light tower in left-center field.

A single and two walks filled the bases for Kapteyn, who drove his slam to righ-center on a 1-1 pitch.