LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Dustin Beggs carried a shutout into the ninth inning and freshman Zach Logue earned his first career save, leading Kentucky to a 3-1 win over Tennessee to clinch the series, on a perfect Friday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (21-16, 7-9 Southeastern Conference) rode another strong starting pitching performance to its third conference series win of the year, after Zack Brown pitched UK to a 5-0 opening win. UK carried a 3-0 lead into the ninth inning with Beggs bidding for a complete-game shutout and the Wildcats working a 17 inning shutout stretch to open the series. After a pair of hits put runners on the corners and no outs, UK turned to Logue in relief with the tying run at the plate. Logue induced a comebacker to the mound, turning the 1-6-3 double play to allow the run to score, before getting a roller to the right side for his first save of the year.
A native of Roswell, Ga., Beggs (5-2) dominated his way through eight innings, allowing just five hits and two walks, equaling his career high with eight strikeouts. He threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 31 hitters he faced, a week after throwing first-pitch strikes to 20 of the 32 hitters he faced in a win at Arkansas. Over his last two starts, Beggs is 2-0 with a 1.12 ERA in 16 innings, allowing just 10 hits and three walks, striking out 14. On the year, Beggs has lowered his ERA to 2.78 in 64.2 innings, walking only 14 with a staff-best 51 strikeouts.
Kentucky's offensive attack was speared by two-hit games from the top of the lineup, with Kyle Barrett and Evan White each going 2-for-4 with a double. UK got a two-RBI game from Ka'ai Tom and hits from JaVon Shelby, Marcus Carson and Zach Arnold, with Storm Wilson drawing a walk and laying down a sacrifice bunt.
Tennessee (15-19, 5-12 SEC) starter Bret Marks (4-5) suffered the loss, allowing eight hits and three runs -- one earned -- in 6.2 innings, not issuing a walk and striking out eight. Andrew Lee came on to get the final four outs, striking out three and issuing only a walk.
The series will conclude on Saturday at 12 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium, with the game televised live on SEC Network, with Clay Matvick and Chris Burke calling the action. The game will also be on the UK Radio Network, with fans in Central Kentucky able to catch the game on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com. UK will turn to senior right-hander Andrew Nelson for his second start of the year.
The Wildcats struck first with two runs on two hits in the third inning. Barrett singled to rightfield with one out and scored after White smacked a double down the leftfield line, taking third on an errant throw to the plate. Tom then hung a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield to score White and give UK a two-run edge.
Kentucky got on the board in the seventh inning with a two-out rally, taking advantage of a pair of UT errors. Arnold led off reaching on an infield single, taking second on a throwing error and advancing to third on a fielder's choice sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Tom then beat out an infield single on the right side, allowing Arnold to score UK's third run.