A.J. Reed continued his strong campaign for national player of the year honors, hitting his NCAA-leading 20th home run and pitching eight strong innings Thursday in a 15-1 series-opening win at Tennessee.
The No. 25 Wildcats flexed their hitting muscles against the Volunteers, getting home runs from Storm Wilson, Matt Reida and Ka'ai Tom as well in the blowout.
Reed (8-2) got much more offensive support than he required. The junior left-hander allowed just one run on three hits and struck out nine. He retired the last nine UT batters he faced, recording his ninth quality start in 12 outings this season.
Kentucky (28-17, 10-12 SEC) bounced back from a three-game sweep at the hands of Ole Miss last weekend at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Cats increased their lead over Tennessee to two games in the Eastern Division standings.
The Cats pounded out 15 runs on 10 hits, six walks and a hit batsman. Wilson and Micheal Thomas each had two-hit nights. Eight of nine starters recorded a hit for UK and all nine starters scored a run.
Reed, who is now hitting .373 with 62 RBI, became only the eighth player in UK Baseball history to hit 20 or more home runs in a season. He is the first to do it since 2006 SEC Player of the Year Ryan Strieby did it during the Cats' league championship run.
Tennessee (26-17, 8-14 SEC) started Hunter Martin, who allowed seven runs on seven hits in dropping to 3-3 on the season.
The series resumes on Friday at 6 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com. UK will send sophomore southpaw Dylan Dwyer (5-2, 3.96 ERA) vs. senior UT righty Nick Wiliams (4-4, 3.80 ERA).