Friday's snow cancellation forced the UK baseball team to schedule a double-header against Tennessee on Saturday. But with game two scheduled to be broadcast by the Fox Sports Network, a double-header presented sort of a scheduling quagmire.
Game one was slated to start at 12:00 p.m. under the stipulation that no inning could begin after 3:05 to ensure FSN's broadcast of game two would not be obstructed. Should the game not be finished by 3:05, the conclusion of game one would be suspended until after the completion of game two.
And since the Cats had only completed two games in under three hours this season, it was almost inevitable that this game would be suspended before it had been completed.
But game one's scheduling nightmare could not compare to the torment head coach John Cohen must have suffered during Saturday's first game.
UK committed five errors in an embarrassing 12-2 loss to open their series against Tennessee at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
"It's kind of hard to really accept what happened," said UK first baseman Sawyer Carroll. "We know we are a hundred times better than that. That is about as bad as we can possibly play, and I think everyone knows that."
UK starter Chris Rusin gave up four runs in four innings, but only two of those runs were earned. Three UK errors, including a critical misplay by right fielder Mike Brown, allowed the Volunteers to score two unearned in the second inning.
Meanwhile Tennessee's James Adkins held the Cats to just two runs through eight and one third innings and struck out seven UK hitters.
Already trailing 4-1, Sawyer Carroll committed the Cats' fourth fielding miscue of game one when his attempt to throw out the lead runner on a sacrifice bunt was in the dirt. The error left bases loaded for the Volunteers with nobody out. Tennessee capitalized, scoring five runs in the inning, including a two-run home run from designated hitter Jeff Lockwood, to extend their advantage 9-1.
Play was postponed at the end of the eighth inning with the Vols leading 9-2 to prepare for the start of the 4:00 p.m. televised game.
Play resumed immediately after the final out of the second game at 7:37 p.m.
On the first play of resumed action in the top of the ninth inning, Frazier reached on another fielding error by Carroll. The error was his second of the game and the team's fifth and allowed Tennessee to score three more runs and take a 12-2 lead before UK's final at-bat.
"That last inning, (pitcher) Tyler Henry came out and got us ground balls," Carroll said. "I missed one and it just cost him 30 extra pitches and it might have cost him the opportunity to throw for us tomorrow."
"When pitchers do their jobs, we have to do our jobs behind them, get in and out of the dugout and eliminate those big innings that other teams are getting on us," Carroll said.
Carroll believes that Sunday's series-finale can be a turning point for UK.
"We've gotten away from what got us to our great start," Carroll said. "We need to find it."
Tennessee third baseman Cody Brown went 3-for-3 and hit two home runs to propel the Volunteers to an 11-5 series-clinching victory in the second game of Saturday's double-header.
UK jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the game's first two innings.
Even after Cody Brown's first home run, a solo shot to left that cut UK's lead to 4-2, it appeared as if the Cats were well on their way to tying the weekend series 1-1.
But once again, fielding blunders proved to be UK's bane on Saturday. A mental mistake from Matt McKinney and a fielding error from Tyler Howe in the sixth inning allowed Tennessee to tie the game and seize control of its momentum.
The Volunteers led off the sixth with a single and double that put runners on second and third with no outs. Tennessee shortstop Danny Lima hit a grounder deep in the hole that was fielded by UK shortstop Ryan Wilkes. Wilkes threw to McKinney who was standing on third base, but a confused McKinney did not tag the runner because he thought the play at third was a force out. The play, ruled an infield single, scored a run and put runners on first and third.
With the Cats clinging to a 4-3 lead and yet to record an out in the sixth inning, UK once again faced a bases-loaded situation. Pinch hitter Shawn Griffin hit a grounder to Sawyer Carroll at first. Carroll fielded the ball and threw it to catcher Tyler Howe to put out the lead runner, but Howe, anticipating a double-play, dropped the baseball.
"Sawyer made a great throw to me, right to my chest like he is told to," Howe said. "I took my eyes off the ball and got one step ahead of myself. I take full responsibility, but I have to move on."
The run-scoring error evened the game 4-4 and left Kentucky still facing a bases-loaded, no-out situation.
The Volunteers eventually took the lead later in that frame and added six runs in the game's final two innings to solidify the 11-5 win.
Cody Brown hit his second home run off Brock Baber in the seventh inning. Tennessee catcher J.P. Arencibia hit also hit a two-run home run in that inning.
Tennessee Starter Craig Cobb (6-2) completed eight innings, giving up eight hits and five earned runs while recording seven strikeouts to pick up the win.
UK starter Andrew Albers pitched five complete innings, was charged for three earned runs and struck out eight batters.
Reliever Aaron Lovett (3-1) gave up the go-ahead run and was charged with the loss.
A disappointed Howe said he fully expects UK (24-6-1, 4-6-1 Southeastern Conference) to rebound from what was a tough day for the Cats. He said that Sunday's series finally could serve as a rallying-point for UK, who fell to 4-6-1 in SEC play as a result of Saturday's two losses.
"We are going to come out with a lot of intensity and a lot of confidence because we know we are a great ball club," Howe said. "We are going to come out and show that tomorrow."
"Everybody in that locker room," Howe said, "we know what we are made out. Starting tomorrow we are going to start proving it."