The No. 25 Wildcats (27-17, 9-12 SEC) are currently in fourth place in the SEC East, two game behind Vanderbilt and only one game ahead of Tennessee (26-16, 8-13) with three league series remaining.
Kentucky was in a similar position last season when the Vols took two out of three games in Lexington and sent the Cats reeling on a seven-game losing streak. UK went 6-16 down the stretch and missed the NCAA Tournament.
The Cats' weekend pitching rotation of A.J. Reed, Dylan Dwyer and Andrew Nelson will be seeking to get back in the groove after being roughed up by Ole Miss. The Rebels pounded the UK staff for 39 runs on 50 hits over three days at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The series opener will be televised nationally by ESPNU on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET with Reed (7-2, 2.31 ERA) taking the mound for the Cats. Dwyer (5-2, 3.96) is scheduled to pitch the second game on Friday at 6 p.m. ET, and Nelson (1-4, 4.61) will take the hill on Saturday at noon in a game broadcast live on FSN.
Tennessee will counter on Thursday with freshman right-hander Hunter Martin (3-2, 3.05 ERA), senior righty Nick Williams (4-4, 3.80) on Friday, and sophomore lefty Andy Cox (3-1, 1.96) on Saturday.
UK's Reed, a junior, is looking to continue his national player of the year campaign. In addition to his seven pitching wins, the two-way standout is hitting .374 with 12 doubles, one triple, a nation-leading 19 home runs and a league-high 59 RBI.
The Vols, who are coming off a 2-1 series loss to LSU, are led by freshman Nick Senzel with a .350 average, 10 doubles, two triples, one home run and 32 RBI. Christian Stewart has also been strong for UT, hitting .347 with 14 doubles, five triples, four homers and 31 RBI.