Big innings sink Commodores

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A pair of big innings for Kentucky were too much for Vanderbilt on Saturday in an 11-5 loss that evened the series on Saturday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Vanderbilt (34-14, 16-7) struck first with a run in the first inning on a Dansby Swanson RBI-single and reclaimed the lead in the third when Swanson scored from third on a balk by Kentucky (26-19, 11-11) starter Dustin Beggs. The Wildcats, however, took control in the bottom of the third with small ball. Vandy starter Philip Pfeifer walked the leadoff hitter and then gave up consecutive bunt singles to load the bases. The wheels fell off from there with Evan White singling through the right side and JaVon Shelby’s two-run double hugging the third base line to cap the four-run rally. A six-run fifth inning blew the game open for the Wildcats with the Dores contributing two errors. Greg Fettes’ RBI-single chased Pfeifer in the frame and Tyler Ferguson allowed two more runs in before closing out the inning.

Pfeifer took the loss for the Commodores allowing 10 runs, six earned, on nine hits over 4.2 innings. The lefty struck out four with three walks in his third loss of the season. Ferguson worked the final 3.1 innings allowing an unearned run on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

Zander Wiel posted a pair of singles and Swanson drove in two runs with a single and ninth inning sacrifice fly.

Beggs earned the win for the Cats allowing three runs on seven hits over 8.1 innings. The right-hander struck out a career-best 12 batters in his seventh win of the year. Connor Heady paced the offense with three hits and two runs scored from the nine-spot in the UK lineup.

The Commodores and Wildcats will settle the series tomorrow at noon CT on SEC Network+. Walker Buehler gets the ball for the Dores in his hometown.