Back in the Win Column

RJ Schreck hits go-ahead two-run homer in fifth inning

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — No. 5 Vanderbilt claimed the series opener against No. 15 Kentucky with a 6-4 win Friday night at Hawkins Field.

RJ Schreck hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the fifth to give the Dores their first lead of the night and Patrick Reilly (W, 3-1) turned in an impressive performance on the mound to help Vanderbilt to win No. 30 on the season.

Reilly took over on the mound in the fourth and pitched 4.1 innings, striking out 10 while holding Kentucky to just one run on two hits.

Kentucky struck first with a two-out, two-run single on a bloop hit just beyond second base in the top of the third.

Jack Bulger delivered the big hit in the home half of the third. Enrique Bradfield Jr. was hit by a pitch to reach base with one out. Davis Diaz worked a walk and Schreck was hit to load the bases. Bulger then singled through the right side to plate Bradfield and Diaz to even the score at 2-2.

A sac fly in the top of the fourth gave Kentucky a 3-2 lead as Vandy’s starting pitcher Carter Holton made way for Reilly with two outs in the inning and the bases full. Reilly struck out the first batter he faced to escape the jam.

Bradfield drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the bottom of fifth and stole second, his second steal of the game. Diaz then singled up the middle and Bradfield scored easily from second to tie the game at 3-3.

Schreck followed with a no-doubt, two-run home run to right on the next pitch to give the Commodores their first lead at 5-3. Schreck leads the team with 11 homers this season.

Schreck picked up another RBI in the bottom of the sixth, drawing a bases-loaded walk to bring home Matthew Polk and give Vandy a 6-3 advantage.

The Wildcats cut Vandy’s lead back to two with an RBI single in the top of the seventh.

Nick Maldonado (S, 5) entered the game in the ninth and needed just 11 pitches to record his 14th career save. Maldonado struck out all three batters he faced. Maldonado moves into a tie with Carson Fulmer for sixth-most saves by a Commodore.

Friday’s win marked No. 871 at Vanderbilt for head coach Tim Corbin. Corbin passed former LSU head coach Skip Bertman for third-most wins by a coach at an SEC institution.

The Commodores (30-11, 14-5 SEC) and Wildcats (30-11, 11-8 SEC) will meet for Game 2 at 2 p.m. Saturday on SECN+.