KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Junior Jordan Rodgers made Tennessee Baseball history on Friday night as he hit for the cycle, adding to sophomore lefty Aaron Soto's stellar start to propel the Vols to a 14-5 win over Kentucky at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
With the win, Tennessee (17-9, 3-4 SEC) recorded its largest margin of victory vs. Kentucky (18-8, 4-3 SEC) since April 7, 2004, when the Volunteers took a 12-2 win in Lexington, Ky.
After posting a single, double and triple entering the bottom of the eighth, first baseman Rodgers blasted a three-run homer to left-center field, becoming just the third player in Tennessee history to accomplish the feat and the first to do so since Matt Duffy on March 9, 2011 vs. New Orleans.
In his longest career outing for the Big Orange, UT starter Soto (3-0) dealt 7.1 efficient innings vs. the Wildcats, allowing just two runs on three hits with three strikeouts. Soto held the Cats scoreless over seven frames and did not allow a leadoff baserunner for Kentucky until the top of the eighth.
Offensively, the Volunteers combined for 15 hits against the Cats, including seven extra-base hits led by Rodgers (4-for-5, 8 RBI), Nick Senzel (3-for-5, 3 RBI), Benito Santiago (2-for-4) and Leno Ramirez (1-for-3, RBI).
Tennessee's three, four and five hitters garnered an early lead for the Vols in the first, triggered by an RBI-double by Senzel. A base hit by Vincent Jackson (2-for-4, RBI) then put runners on the corners for Rodgers, who drove an RBI-single to right-center field and furtherED UT's lead.
The Volunteers' offense erupted to put up a six-spot in the fifth, as UT used four extra-base hits in the inning to cushion their lead to 9-0. Santiago led off the Vols' turn at bat with a triple before Senzel doubled.
With no outs and the bases loaded, Rodgers then drove a three-run triple down the right field line and designated hitter Ramirez brought him home in the next at-bat with a double to right field.
Kentucky fought back from a 9-0 deficit to plate five runs in the eighth, trimming Tennessee's lead to 9-5.
In dramatic fashion, Tennessee answered Kentucky's five runs with a huge bottom eighth, highlighted by a cycle-clinching, three-run home run by Rodgers to give Tennessee their 14-5 final score.
Righthanded relievers Will Neely, Eric Freeman and Jon Lipinski combined to put a stop to Kentucky's eighth-inning rally. Lipinski went on to shut the door against the Wildcats, retiring three of his five batters faced.
More on Rodgers' Cycle:
•With his cycle vs. #12 Kentucky, Rodgers became just the third Vol in Tennessee history to hit for the cycle and the first to do so in SEC play since Chris Burke at Vanderbilt on May 11, 2001.
•Rodgers' eight RBI over four at-bats are the most ever in a Tennessee-cycle effort.
•Rodgers' cycle also marks the first one accomplished during a home SEC series in Tennessee history.
•Rodgers hit for the cycle in order via single, double, triple and home run, and is the first-ever Volunteer to do so.
Up Next for the Vols: Tennessee continues its SEC weekend series hosting Kentucky on Saturday, April 2 at 4 p.m. ET. Lefty Zach Warren (4-1, 2.83) gets the starting nod against Wildcats righthander Dustin Beggs (6-0, 2.40).