The 26th ranked Wildcats have opened SEC play with a bang, taking back-to-back conference series for the first time since 2003. Both series wins have been against top 15 ranked opponents; as Kentucky went 2-1 last weekend against 8th-ranked LSU.
Sunday's starter, sophomore Greg Dombrowski, worked all nine innings giving up nine hits, all singles, and only one earned run. He struck out six Volunteer batters while walking only two.
With the win, Dombrowski improves to 5-0 on the season and 7-0 for his career. He has recorded a quality start in each of his outings this year. He has not given up an extra-base hit in his last four starts, and he gave up no more than one run in each of those games.
The Volunteers slapped three singles against Dombrowski in the first inning to push across a run and take an early 1-0 lead. But keeping up with his previous performances, it would be the only run Dombrowski would give up for the ballgame.
The Batcats answered in the second. With two outs and a runner on first, Shaun Lehmann homered over the left field wall to put Kentucky on top 2-1.
Antone DeJesus ripped a triple to right-center to lead off the third inning for the Wildcats. With DeJesus 90 feet from home, Michael Bertram sent a fly ball deep enough to left field to allow DeJesus to tag and score, extending Kentucky's lead to 3-1.
Tennessee opened up the bottom of the sixth with a pair of singles. After a sacrifice moved the runners to second and third, Dombrowski walked Tony Delmonico. The walk was the first he had issued in 58 and one-third innings. Head Coach John Cohen took credit for the streak-ending walk.
"The walk was something we called for to set up the double play," Cohen said. "You hate to see a streak end on something like that. But the way Greg pitches, with all the groundballs he gets, its something that we felt could help us and it did."
With the bases loaded and one out, Dombrowski induced right fielder Brian Van Kirk to hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Tennessee threatened again in the seventh inning. Facing bases loaded for the second consecutive inning Dombrowski struck out Kelly Edmundson to once again work himself out of trouble.
John Shelby hit a solo home run in the ninth to add an insurance run, but Kentucky would not need it. Dombrowski threw a shut out ninth inning to close the door on the Volunteers and seal another SEC series victory for the Wildcats.
The Batcats host Morehead State on Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start. Kentucky resumes SEC play this weekend as they travel to Auburn.