Scout/Jeff Drummond

Kentucky Wildcats pound Tennessee Vols 15-5 in series opener

Cats collect 19 hits, blast four home runs in blowout.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Sean Hjelle got massive run support from Kentucky's bats on Friday in the series opener against Tennessee, but the sophomore right-hander treated it as if he was locked in a pitchers' duel. 

Hjelle (8-2) allowed only one run on two hits over seven innings, striking out six in the No. 8 Wildcats' 15-5 romp over the Volunteers at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky's lineup, meanwhile, had its way with the UT staff. The No. 8 Cats banged out 19 hits and got home runs from Evan White, Zach Reks, Riley Mahan and Troy Squires.

Eight different Cats had multi-hit games, led by three apiece from Luke Becker, Mahan and Squires. White also doubled, scored twice and drove in three runs for UK. The junior first baseman pushed his team-leading batting average to .400 on the season. 

Kentucky (34-16, 16-9 SEC) kept pace with Florida, which won 2-1 at Alabama on Friday. The Gators lead the East by one game over UK

Tennessee (26-20, 7-16 SEC) got two hits and a pair of RBI from Andre Lipcius, but most of the damage for the Vols came after Hjelle exited with the game no longer in doubt.

UT starter Hunter Martin (5-6) was knocked around for nine runs (eight earned) on 10 hits and a walk over 3.2 innings.

Game 2 of weekend series will be Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.

NOTES:

  • The 16 SEC wins for Kentucky are the most since the 2012 team won 18 in league play.
  • Kentucky has gone 69 games without being shut out, the eighth-longest such streak in school history.
  • Nine UK players drove in at least one run.
  • Hjelle has now six consecutive games yielding five hits or less, and nine of his past 10 starts.
  • Mahan hit his 11th home run of the season and has three in his last four games.

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