Kentucky rebounds to double-dip Vols

Nick Williams

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The Tennessee baseball team lost both halves of its doubleheader against the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday, finishing Saturday night's delayed game and playing a shortened seven-inning series finale.

First baseman Michael Williams was the first Wildcat to get a hit in Kentucky's 5-0 victory during Sunday's contest at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. 

That hit came against his younger brother, Tennessee sophomore Nick Williams.

"We're both very competitive. He wants to do good off me, and I want to do good and strike him out," Nick Williams said.

Following the hit by Michael Williams, the Wildcats loaded the bases in the top of the third inning with two outs after Nick Williams walked junior outfielder Zac Zellers.

Dave Serrano visited with Nick Williams on the mound, and he responded by striking out junior catcher Luke Maile to end the inning.

Nick Williams threw 69 pitches and allowed one hit, no runs and three walks before leaving in the fifth inning.

"Next week, if I start, I'll hopefully narrow down the walks a little bit," Williams said.

The Wildcats (24-1, 5-1 SEC) scored the first run of the game in the top of the sixth inning when second baseman J.T. Riddle hit an RBI double off Tennessee junior relief pitcher Drew Steckenrider.

Junior pitcher Nick Blount took over in the top of the seventh inning for the Vols, allowing a home run to Kentucky freshman outfielder Austin Cousino, the first batter he faced. In the remainder of the seventh, Tennessee (13-10, 2-4) committed two errors and eventually allowed five total runs.

"We just fell apart. We played with them. We had some opportunities we didn't take advantage of. To beat quality teams we have to do that. I walk away from my second SEC weekend thinking that we have the capabilities to win these series, and we're not coming through when we have to," Serrano said.

Kentucky 6, Tennessee 2: In the Saturday game, freshman Brandon Zajac made his first career start and appearance. He was pulled in the third inning after allowing two earned runs and three hits.

Serrano talked about his decision to give Zajac his first collegiate opportunity against the Wildcats.

"I knew it was a risk. I knew I could be criticized or I could be praised. Brandon's a man who has some high potential in our program. He's worked extremely hard to put himself in the mix, and I'm not disappointed with what he did. I was happy with how he responded to it," Serrano said.

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