No. 22 Vols Explode for 16 Runs in Blowout Win Against Wildcats

LEXINGTON, Ky. – No. 22 Tennessee pounded Kentucky 16-1 on Friday night to secure its first SEC road-series win under head coach Tony Vitello. The Volunteers exploded for 16 runs on 13 hits on a cold and rainy night at Kentucky Proud Park to earn their second straight series victory. 

The Big Orange got production up and down the lineup as nine players recorded hits and seven drove in runs in the blowout win. Jay CharlestonAndre LipciusRicky MartinezPete DerkayConnor Pavolony and Landon Gray all had multiple RBI. Martinez had a fantastic all-around performance, leading all players with three hits, including a pair of doubles, while also scoring two runs.

The margin of victory in Friday’s game (15 runs) is the largest in an SEC game for UT since a 25-5 thrashing of Georgia on May 8, 2010 in Athens.

Junior pitcher Garrett Stallings was dominant once again with eight strikeouts, setting a new career high for an SEC game. He allowed just one run while scattering six hits in seven innings of work and likely would have finished the game if not for the contest being delayed for 88 minutes due to heavy rain in the top of the eighth.

The Vols jumped out to another quick lead thanks to a two-run homer by Lipcius to the opposite field in the top of the first. The junior slugger hit a 2-2 pitch up into the stiff wind blowing straight out to right field for his ninth jack of the season to give UT an early 2-0 advantage.

The Wildcats got a run back in the second after three straight singles to start the inning. Breydon Daniel’s single up the middle scored T.J. Collett from second to cut the Tennessee lead to one. Stallings did well to limit the damage to just a single run, forcing three straight groundouts to get out of the jam.

UT got a big two-out hit from Martinez in the top of the fourth to push its lead back to two runs. The junior shortstop doubled to center field to score Alerick Soularie from second after he reached on a walk earlier in the inning.

The Big Orange took advantage of some control issues by Kentucky’s pitchers in the fifth, scoring a run without recording a hit. UT drew three straight walks with two outs before Max Ferguson scored on a wild pitch by Wildcats’ relief pitcher Cole Daniels to make it 4-1.

Tennessee’s offense went right back to work in the sixth, scoring three more runs to extend the lead to six. Martinez doubled off the wall in right field to start the inning and came in to score on Jake Rucker’s single to center one batter later. A dropped fly ball by Daniel in left field put runners on second and third for Charleston, who drove in the second run of the inning with an RBI ground out. Pete Derkay scored the final run of the inning on a passed ball to make it 7-1.

The Vols weren’t done there, as they busted the game wide open with four more runs in the seventh to take an 11-1 lead. UT sent nine batters to the plate in the inning with Martinez, Derkay, Connor Pavolony and Charleston all driving in runs.

The game was delayed with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the eighth inning due to heavy rain and resumed 88 minutes later. Tennessee went on to score five more runs after the break to account for the final score.

Wildcats’ starter Mason Hazelwood fell to 2-3 on the year after picking up the loss. The sophomore left hander walked three and allowed four runs on three hits in 4.2 innings.
BATS COME ALIVE: After struggling a little bit offensively over the past few games, the Vols’ bats woke up in a big way in Friday’s victory. UT’s 16 runs were the most by a Vols’ team in SEC play since May 8, 2010 in a 25-5 win at Georgia. Seven different players drove in runs and nine different players had hits for the Vols on the night.

RICKY RAKES: Ricky Martinez broke out of his recent slump with a monster performance in the win. The junior shortstop led UT with three hits, two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored on the night. The two doubles and two runs scored both tied career highs for the Pflugerville, Texas native.

STALLINGS DOMINANT AGAIN: Tennessee starter Garrett Stallings put together another dominant performance on the mound to improve to 7-2 on the season. The junior right hander did not walk anyone and had eight strikeouts, his most in an SEC game this season.

WINNING ON THE ROAD: Friday’s win over the Wildcats secured UT’s first SEC road-series win since taking two of three from Florida in Gainesville back on April 7 and April 8 of 2017. 

UP NEXT: The Vols will look to complete the series sweep tomorrow. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. and the game will be streamed online via SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN app. Fans can also listen live as John Wilkerson call the action for the Vol Radio Network (FM 99.1/AM 990).