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
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
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.
- 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.