LEXINGTON, Ky. – Vanderbilt’s Philip Clarke delivered a go-ahead two-out, two-run triple in the eighth inning, lifting the No. 2 Commodores to a wild 16-10 win against Kentucky in the series opener on Thursday night from Kentucky Proud Park.
The three-bagger followed a 2-hour, 4-minute rain delay. Kentucky erased a nine-run deficit with five runs in the seventh before Mother Nature intervened. Clarke accounted for four RBIs and registered his third triple of the season, driving his first pitch off the wall in left center.
Vanderbilt (43-10, 21-7 SEC) can clinch at least a share of its first league title since 2013 with a win Friday. The Commodores, who improved to 24-0 in night games and 14-0 in series openers, hold a one-game lead on second-place Arkansas who defeated Texas A&M in its series opener.
Harrison Ray added a pair of sensational defensive plays at second base and provided insurance in the ninth, sending a run-scoring double past the first baseman with the infield in. Ty Duvall matched a career high with three hits and joined Austin Martin with RBI-singles in the ninth.
The Wildcats (26-27, 7-21 SEC) plated two runs in the fourth and three more in the sixth before sending eight batters to the plate while using just two hits to score five times and take a one-run lead in the seventh. Ryan Johnson used a two-out, two-run single off reliever Hugh Fish to put Kentucky ahead 10-9.
Stephen Scott collected his third career multi-home run game and first since the 2018 NCAA Clemson Regional. The senior capped a five-run first inning, delivering his 25th career home run with a three-run shot and clubbed a leadoff long ball two frames later.
Vanderbilt registered 11 hits through the first three innings and received two RBIs from Pat DeMarco and Clarke during the stretch. Martin matched a career high with four hits, logging his 29th multi-hit performance and 15th in his last 20 games while scoring a run in each of the first two innings.
Right-hander Drake Fellows allowed five runs on seven hits across 5.2 innings. The starter, who received the no decision, becomes the first Vanderbilt Friday night starter to finish the regular season undefeated since David Price (10-0) in 2007.
Fisher (2-0) drew the win in relief, despite allowing two runs on a hit while walking another. Zach King locked up his third save, tossing two scoreless frames while allowing two hits and striking out a pair.
The clubs return to action Friday with the middle game at 5:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network Plus. Fans can listen in on WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM and VUCommodores.com. Vandy will send right-hander Kumar Rocker (6-5, 4.22 ERA) to the mound against lefty Dillon Marsh (3-2, 5.48 ERA).