With the game tied 8-8, reliever Casey Weathers took the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning. The senior handcuffed the Cats' offense, pitching four perfect innings to allow Vanderbilt to take game one of a three-game weekend series after twelve innings of baseball.
The Cats had come from behind against one of the country's top pitchers to send the game into extra innings, but could not even manage to put a runner on base against Weathers.
"They had a good pitcher on the mound in the righty Weathers," said UK right fielder Keenan Wiley. "He was throwing hard and had good stuff, but I thought we had enough to beat and thought we had enough to come back at the end. I don't know, it just didn't work out."
No. 1 Vanderbilt built an early 4-0 lead for Price, who entered Friday's game 6-0 in nine starts with a 2.50 ERA and an SEC leading 99 strikeouts. And the undefeated junior, who is regarded as one of the best collegiate prospects in the nation tossed a no-hitter through the game's first five innings.
But Wiley singled to break up the no hitter in the sixth inning and jump-started UK's offense. The Cats plating six earned runs on six hits in the sixth and seventh innings to take the lead and chase Vanderbilt's southpaw sensation.
"I went up there with the fact that he did have a no-hitter in my mind," Wiley said. "I knew it would be big to break it up and get the offense going, so I just went up there and tried to hit it hard."
UK starter Chris Rusin entered the seventh inning facing a 5-2 deficit having retired 11 consecutive Vanderbilt hitters.
Vanderbilt second baseman Alex Feinberg led off the top of the seventh inning with a solo home run, his second of the season, but the blast did not stifle the Cats' rally.
UK scored five runs off of five hits, including RBI singles from Ryan Wilkes and Wiley and a two-RBI double from designated hitter Sawyer Carroll, to capture its first lead of the night at 7-5.
Vanderbilt scored three runs in the eighth inning, one off Rusin and two off reliever Scott Green, to retake the lead 8-7.
The Commodores could have scored a fourth run, if not once again for the heroics of Wiley, who threw out Feinberg who was trying to scored on a two-out single from David Macias.
"Keenan can really defend the field and that's why we played Keenan tonight," said UK head coach John Cohen. "We knew they were going to put a lot of balls in play and we thought they were going to put a lot of balls in play to the right side, and Keenan can really play defensively."
Wiley was making his second start of the season, and entered the game batting just .211 with only 19 recorded at-bats. But against what is considered one of the best pitching staffs in the country, the redshirt freshman was 2-for-5 with an RBI and led the offensive charge for the Cats.
"We were kind of hoping he could be a little bit of a spark for us tonight, and he did a great job," Cohen said.
Brock Wright, pinch running for Spear who walked to lead off the eighth, tied the game 8-8 when he scored from second on a Wilkes groundout. Wright, who was running with the pitch, rounded third and kept going, diving head first into home to just beat catcher Shea Robin's tag.
Vanderbilt scored two runs on three hits in the 12th inning to go ahead 10-8 and Weathers sat the Cats down in order for the fourth straight inning to nail down the Commodore victory.
The loss gave UK a 5-7-1 record in the Southeastern Conference. Coming off consecutive series to Mississippi State and Tennessee and an embarrassing 8-1 loss to intrastate rival Lousiville, the Cats are in desperate need of some positive momentum. A series win against the No. 1 team could bring just that.
"These are probably going to be two of the most important games of the year," Wiley said. "But I don't think we can press. If we start to press we are not going to have the success we want. We just have to keep playing hard and keep playing well like we did tonight and it's going to come around."