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Big blasts bolster Kentucky’s win at No. 4 Tennessee

John Rhodes and Jake Plastiak hit three home runs as the Wildcats power to 8-2 victory
John Rhodes and Jake Plastiak hit three home runs as the Wildcats power to 8-2 victory
John Rhodes and Jake Plastiak hit three home runs as the Wildcats power to 8-2 victory
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 10:55 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – John Rhodes homered twice in his home state and Jake Plastiak delivered the knockout punch as Kentucky defeated No. 4 Tennessee 8-2 on Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Plastiak, who homered in Thursday night’s series opener, unloaded a two-run, eighth inning blast reminiscent of AJ Reed’s memorable shot in the same ballpark seven years earlier. The bomb gave the Wildcats (26-14, 10-10 SEC) a three-run lead and ensured Saturday’s finale would be for a series win.

Unlike Thursday’s opener, all the scoring came in the back half of the game, as the two starting pitchers dealt early on. UK right-hander Sean Harney battled his way through five innings on short rest, allowing only a solo home run and exited with a 2-1 lead after Rhodes blasted a 3-2 changeup over the left-centerfield fence.

Alex Degen entered and allowed a solo home run that tied the game but then shut the Volunteers’ water off the rest of the way as the Cats pulled away with runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Rhodes, who grew up down the road in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, added an exclamation point to the night with a opposite field blast.