Vanderbilt Baseball Preview: Kentucky

The Vanderbilt Commodores host Kentucky for a 3-game SEC Friday-Sunday series this weekend. Here is you VandyMania.com preview of the Wildcats.

Kentucky is one of only two SEC teams that has won every conference series.  The Cats have series wins over Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama but fell to in-state rival Louisville 9-6 on Wednesday.  The Wildcats are coached by eighth-year head coach Gary Henderson.  

Kentucky is a solid batting team with a .293 overall team average. Left fielder Zach Reks is UK's top bat hitting .365 on 27 hits. Three other Wildcats are hitting over 300 of the weekend starters. Designated hitter Gunnar McNeill has five homers and an over .500 slugging percentage.  First baseman Evan White has stolen successfully on 9 of 10 attempts. 

Infielders Riley Mahan and Luke Becker have walked a combined 25 times.

The Wildcats have a formidable pitching staff that gets the job done.  Junior righty Zach Brown is the  usual Friday night starter.  He's struck out 34 and walked 24. The Cats pitch their best pitcher on Saturdays. Righty Dustin Beggs struck out 12 in a win over Vandy last year.  This season he has 53 strikeouts against just eight walks. A third righty, Kyle Cody, has pitched on Sunday's.  The senior has 37 Ks and 18 walks in just over 42 innings pitched.  Kentucky has a strong bullpen that has helped them pull out some close wins.

Looking at the Vandy-Kentucky stats comparison, the Cats have a slight edge in batting average and home runs while Vandy gets the advantage in all other categories with significant edges in triples, ERA, strikeouts thrown, opponent runs and home runs.  

Checking out the series schedule, Friday night's game gets going at 6:30 pm with Saturday's contest starts at 2.  Sunday's matchup will begin at 1. All three games will be shown on the SEC Network Plus.  Listen on your radio on WNSR which is on both AM and FM stations.


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