Cats take opener 6-4 over Vols

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky Wildcats fell behind 3-0 but scored six unanswered runs to post a 6-4 comeback victory in game one of a three-game SEC series against the Tennessee Volunteers. Southpaw James Paxton continued his torrid strikeout pace with 12 strikeouts in eight innings of work.

Paxton was dominating throughout the game, going a season-high eight innings, allowing six hits and four runs, walking two and striking out 12. A native of Ladner, British Columbia, Paxton has now totaled six 10 or more strikeout games in 2009, including back-to-back 11 or more strikeout performances. Last weekend, Paxton struck out 11 at No. 21 Alabama, also fanning nine at Mississippi State the week prior, and striking out 10 against No. 3 Georgia on April 12. Of the four runs Paxton allowed Friday night, one scored from an infield single, another run scored after a two-out, strike-three wild pitch extended the first inning, and one came around to score after a wild-pitch third strike in the fourth.

Kentucky (23-22, 8-14 SEC) was led offensively to its fifth straight win against the Volunteers by Wright's three-RBI game. In the sixth inning, Wright approached the plate with the bases loaded, ripping a hard-hit ball down the left field line that was pushed on the warning track by the high winds, causing the left fielder, P.J. Polk, problems in fielding the ball. The ball went off the tip of Polk's glove, clearing the bases and giving the Wildcats the decisive three-run lead. The Paducah, Ky., native, finished the game 1-for-5 at the top of the order. Four other Wildcats posted multi-hit games, including a 2-for-4 night by freshman Andy Burns, a 2-for-5 game from sophomore Chris Bisson, and a 2-for-2 performance from junior Keenan Wiley – who also had two RBI – and a 2-for-4 night from freshman Braden Kapteyn, who also pitched a scoreless ninth for his team-high fourth save of the year.

The win, coupled with Auburn's loss, moves UK into a tie for 9th place in the SEC standings in the race to make the SEC tournament. The SEC takes the top 8 teams in a season-ending tournament at Regions Park in Hoover, Alabama, a Birmingham suburb. The Cats currently trail # 8 South Carolina by two games with eight games remaining in the season.

Kentucky faces Tennessee in game # 2 Saturday at 4:00 pm ET. After this weekend's series, Kentucky will stay at home next weekend to face Auburn before going on the road for the final SEC weekend against the Florida Gators.

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