published Monday, March 26th, 2012

Baseball Vols lose series to Kentucky

KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee's baseball team handed Kentucky its first loss of the season on Friday night.

It took less than 48 hours for the momentum of that win to wash out and fizzle for the Volunteers.

The second-ranked Wildcats won the series on Sunday by finishing off the resumption Saturday's suspended game and blanking UT 6-0 in the seven-inning finale.

"We had some opportunities that we didn't come through on, and to beat quality teams we have to do that," first-year Vols coach Dave Serrano said after Sunday's mini-doubleheader. "I walk away from my second SEC weekend thinking we have capabilities to win series and we are not coming through when we have to, in every aspect of our game."

The Vols (13-10, 2-4 SEC) came through Friday night in ending Kentucky's 22-game season-opening win streak in a 4-1 win. Junior Zack Godley was masterful on the mound, limiting the Wildcats to just three hits in eight innings of work. UT managed four runs on four singles and Serrano's small-ball style.

Former Walker Valley High School standout Brandon Zajac made his debut to start Saturday's game, but Kentucky (24-1, 5-1) scored three runs off the freshman and led 5-0 in the fifth when play was suspended by rain. UT freshman Will Maddox looped a two-run single on the second pitch of Sunday's resumption, but Kentucky's Alex Phillips shut the door with 4 1/3 innings of two-hit ball.

The rubber match went into the sixth scoreless, as Nick Williams was again solid in his second start for the Vols. The Wildcats scored five in the seventh to put the game away. UT, which was also 0-for-11 with runners on base, committed two errors that turned into three unearned runs.

"We need to realize what we have to do to be successful as a team," Serrano said. "That is a work in progress. We knew this was going to be a challenge. We have to accept the challenge and have more players accept the challenge."

UT hosts Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday and Wednesday before Alabama visits for a weekend series.

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