LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky starter Heath Castle pitched a complete-game five-hitter and Vanderbilt committed a season-high four errors as the Wildcats defeated the Commodores 5-1 Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
With the win, Kentucky pulled even in the three-game Southeastern Conference series while improving its record to 21-29 overall and 7-18 in the SEC. Vanderbilt slipped to 24-24 overall and 11-15 in league play.
Castle (6-4) allowed only five singles in the game and gave up one run (earned) while walking three and striking out five. He retired 13 in a row from the first through fifth innings before walking Zach Simpson to lead off the sixth inning.
Vanderbilt starter Robert Ransom (3-3) set a career-high with eight strikeouts in the loss. In six and a third innings, he surrendered only five hits, one earned run and two walks.
Vanderbilt errors opened the way for all five of Kentucky's runs. VU's Warner Jones dropped a two-out routine fly ball in right field that extended the fourth inning. The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead on the following play, a run-scoring single to left field by Brad Pickrell that scored Caleb Stewart.
Kentucky broke open a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning, scoring four times. UK's Joe Naill reached first base on a throwing error by VU third baseman Tony Mansolino to start the frame. After Casey Gilvin sacrificed Naill to second, the Wildcats recorded back-to-back doubles to chase Ransom. Spencer Graeter doubled to left field to score Naill with the eventual game-winning run. Mike Breyman doubled into the alley in left-center field to plate Graeter and give UK a 3-1 advantage.
Commodore reliever Matt Buschmann entered the game and gave up a single to Stewart, moving runners to first and third. Caleb Brock's sacrifice fly brought in Breyman to give the Wildcats a 4-1 lead. Pickrell then doubled to center field to score Stewart for a 5-1 UK lead.
Vanderbilt had tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the seventh. Jonathan Douillard's RBI single to left field brought in Tony Mansolino from second base. The Commodores had runners on first and second with only one out but pinch hitter Rucker Taylor hit into an inning-ending double play to halt the Vanderbilt threat.
Kentucky grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on an unearned run.
Vanderbilt's Warner Jones dropped a two-out fly ball in right field that prolonged the inning for the Wildcats. Pickrell followed with a single to left field that scored Stewart.
Vanderbilt's four errors were uncharacteristic. The Commodores entered the week leading the SEC in team defense with a .975 fielding percentage. The most recent NCAA rankings (through April 27) listed VU as the seventh-best fielding team in the nation.
The series concludes Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.