Pompey has two hits in loss, Kottam homers with four RBIs in series
Hard Knox: Late Home Run Bites Cats in Series Loss
By Matt May
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Brandon Chinea’s first career home run with two outs in the seventh inning provided just enough offense for Tennessee to score a 5-3 victory on Sunday, as No. 11 Kentucky dropped the weekend series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The unexpected lightning bolt came after the Cats scored a pair of runs in the top half of the inning to erase a 3-0 deficit. With two outs, UK starter Justin Lewis clipped Nico Mascia on the lower leg with a pitch and then saw Chinea pull a hanging changeup over the left field wall. Those two hitters – the No. 8 and 9 batters in the Vols’ order – did much of the damage in the game, scoring three runs, driving in a pair and turning over the lineup when they had the opportunity.
Meanwhile, Lewis was bitten by the home run and a three-run third inning that featured an uncharacteristic fielding error, a run-scoring wild pitch and two unearned runs. The junior right-hander turned in his sixth quality start of the season in going 7.0 innings, allowing six hits, walking two and striking out seven.
Like an earlier series loss at Alabama, the Cats had trouble finding holes over the weekend despite routinely hitting balls hard, particularly on Sunday. The Cats left nine runners on base and were robbed of several potential hits that would have produced runs.
Knoxville native Kole Cottam delivered an RBI in each game of the series to delight a large contingent of family and friends at the ballpark. He finished with a home run and four RBI on the weekend.
Bottom 3rd – Nico Mascia singled through the right side and moved to second on Brandon Chinea’s SAC bunt. Jay Charleston walked. Justin Ammons reached on a fielding error to load the bases. Mascia scored on a wild pitch, Charleston and Ammons moved up. Pete Derkay hit a SAC fly to LF, scoring Charleston. Andre Lipcius singled to RCF, scoring Ammons from second. UT 3, UK 0.
Top 5th – Trey Dawson walked and moved to third on Tristan Pompey’s single. Kole Cottam hit a SAC fly to RF, scoring Dawson. UT 3, UK 1.
Top 7th – Troy Squires walked. Cottam lined a single to CF that got by the CF, scoring Squires from first and allowing Cottam to reach third. Luke Heyer walked. Luke Becker laid down a squeeze bunt, scoring Cottam. UK 3, UT 3.
Bottom 7th – Mascia was hit by a pitch and scored on Chinea’s home run to LF. UT 5, UK 3.
· Kentucky has scored in 55 consecutive games and 131 of the past 132 dating to the 2016 season. The lone shutout came in a seven-inning game.
· Several Cats extended impressive reached base safely streaks …
o Senior INF Luke Becker has reached in 46 of 47 games (and 90 of 91 including 2017 summer ball).
o Junior C/1B Kole Cottam has reached safely in 17 straight games, has hits in 21 of the past 23 games and is riding a career-long 10-game hit streak.
o Junior INF Trey Dawson has now reached base safely in 17 of his last 18 games.
o Senior INF/OF Luke Heyer has reached in 10 straight games and 15 of the last 16 games.
· Senior C/1B Troy Squires went drew a walk, was hit by a pitch and scored a run.
o Squires was hit by pitch for the 14th time this season, which moves him into fourth on UK’s single-season list. He also ranks fifth on that list with 13 last season.
o He has been hit by 28 pitches in his career, which moved him into a tie with Chad Wright (2009-11) for ninth on the school’s all-time list.
· Senior INF Luke Becker hit a game-winning three-run homer in the sixth inning.
o It was his sixth home run of the season and 14th of his career.
o Becker now has five multi-RBI games this season and 15 for his career.
· Junior OF Tristan Pompey went 2-for-4 with a walk.
o It was Pompey’s 14th multi-hit game this season and 48th of his career.
o He had back-to-back multi-hit games this weekend.