Friday (6:30 p.m.)
RHP Tyler Beede (4-2, 2.06 ERA) vs. LHP A.J. Reed (4-1, 2.20 ERA)
Saturday (2:00 p.m.)
LHP Jared Miller (5-1, 1.26 ERA) vs. RHP Chandler Shepherd (5-0, 2.20 ERA)
Sunday (1:30 p.m./ESPNU)
RHP Tyler Ferguson (4-0, 1.34 ERA) vs. RHP Andrew Nelson (1-1, 2.89 ERA)
Vanderbilt (21-5, 3-3 SEC) is ranked seventh nationally by Baseball America. Vanderbilt defeated Belmont on Tuesday night. Last weekend the Commodores' streak of 23 consecutive winning series was ended at Mississippi State. Vanderbilt currently leads the SEC in batters struck out (233) and opponent batting average (.179).
Vanderbilt as a team is batting .280 compared to its opponent's BA of .176. The Commodores pitching staff has a 1.90 ERA while Vandy's opponents have a 4.64 ERA versus the Commodores.
Second baseman Dansby Swanson (.333, 11 RBI) has a .430 on base percentage. Swanson has stolen 11 of 14 bases. True freshman left fielder Bryan Reynolds (.347, 22 RBI) leads the Commodores in batting with 35 hits. First baseman Zander Wiel (.303, 15 RBI) has nine doubles and a pair of triples. Short stop Vince Conde (.304, 15 RBI) won SEC Player of the Week on March 17 after picking up nine hits in a week. Xavier Turner (.299, 13 RBI) and Chris Harvey (.282, 6 RBI) are two other key Commodore batters.
Junior RHP Tyler Beede is the Vandy Friday night starter. He was a first round draft choice by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 and has a 95 mile per hour fastball. Beede had his worst outing of his career last week at Mississippi State. He allowed a career-high 11 runs, five earned, on six hits over 2.2 innings. Despite that sub-par performance Beede is still third in the conference in strikeouts with 42.
Lefty Jared Miller has developed into a solid starting pitcher. Miller, who has a fastball that reaches around 90 miles per hour, has struck out 26 batters in 33 2/3 innings of pitching. Miller also had a rough outing last week at Mississippi State giving up four runs (three earned), four hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings.
Sophomore RHP Tyler Ferguson is the youngster of Vandy three weekend starters. He was drafted in the 40th round by the San Francisco Giants in 2012. Ferguson's fastball reaches into the low 90s. Last week Ferguson struck out three, walked 2 and allowed just two hits in earning the only victory of the weekend against the Bulldogs.
Righty Carson Fulmer (0-0, 1.42) has become Vandy's closer. He has seven saves while striking out 27 batters in 19 innings of work. Brian Miller (0.69, 14 SOs), last year's closer, is getting more late inning relief work. True freshman righty Hayden Stone has already piled up 32 strikeouts in just 19 1/3 innings.
Kentucky (18-7, 3-3 SEC) are ranked 17th nationally nationally. Last weekend the Wildcats hosted South Carolina and came away with a 2-1 series win.
The Wildcats as a team bat .314 while opposing teams have a .227 average versus the Cats. Kentucky's pitchers have an overall 2.87 ERA while Wildcat opponents have a hefty 7.82 ERA versus UK.
Kentucky, which leads the SEC with a .314 batting average, also leads the league in runs batted in (192) and runs scored (222).
Center fielder Austin Cousino (.361, 17 RBI) has stolen 11 of 11 bases for Kentucky. Designated hitter (and pitcher) A.J. Reed (.372, 33 RBI) leads the Cats in home runs with nine. Catcher Micheal Thomas (.400, 29 RBI, 5 HR) had a 3-run homer in UK's 13-5 win over USC last Friday. Thomas then had a pair of hits and an RBI in the Cats' 2-1 Saturday victory. Ka'ai Tom, who mans the left field position, has 10 walks and eight stolen bases. Third baseman Max Kuhn (.324, 21 RBI), first baseman Thomas Bernal (.270, 10 RBI) and right fielder Kyle Barrett (.305, 15 RBI) are three other key Wildcat batters.
Junior lefty A.J. Reed (4-1, 2.20 ERA) is the Wildcats Friday night ace. He was drafted by the Mets in the 25th round in 2011. Reed has allowed 31 hits and 10 earned runs in 41 innings of work. He has 232 strikeouts.
Junior right hander Chandler Shepherd (5-0, 2.20 ERA) was a 41st round draft selection by the White Sox in 2011. His fastball reaches into the lost 90s. Shepherd currently leads the Wildcats in strikeouts with 32 while allowing only 10 walks. He struck out six batters in Saturday's 2-1 win over South Carolina.
A third junior, righty Andrew Nelson (1-1, 2.89 ERA), is the Cats' Sunday starter. Nelson transferred to UK from Cuesta College where he earned Western State Conference Pitcher of the Year honors in 2013. Nelson has given up 25 hits and four walks in 28 innings of action.
Spencer Jack (0.57 ERA, 12 SO), Logan Salow (1.04 ERA, 12 SO) and Kyle Cody (1.17 ERA, 8 SO) are Kentucky's top relief pitchers.
SEC STANDINGS EAST CONF GB ALL USC 3-3 -- 21-3 TEN 3-3 -- 19-4 VAN 3-3 -- 21-5 KEN 3-3 -- 18-7 FLA 3-3 -- 16-9 GEO 1-4 1.5 14-10 MIZ 1-5 2.0 11-12 WEST CONF GB ALL OLM 4-2 -- 21-5 AUB 4-2 -- 18-8 MSU 4-2 -- 18-9 LSU 3-2 0.5 20-5 ALA 3-3 1 16-8 ARK 3-3 1 16-8 TAM 3-3 1 17-9SEC THIS WEEK
Kentucky at Vanderbilt
Ole Miss at Alabama
Arkansas at Mississippi State
Missouri at Auburn
LSU at Florida
Texas A&M at Georgia
Tennessee at South Carolina
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