"To get this first win takes a little of the pressure off," Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. "Now we have to go into tomorrow and play well. It's like playing your brother. They are a battling, battling team."
15 of the 17 Vanderbilt hits were singles and the bottom of the lineup went a combined 9-for-14 with three RBI and five runs scored. The Commodores did not strikeout until the eighth inning.
David Price scattered 10 hits over six innings of work and gave up five runs, four earned with nine strikeouts and three walks to improve to 6-3 on the year. He moved into fourth place on the Commodore single season strikeout list with 117, 14 shy of the school record of 131 set by Doug Wessel in 1971.
Matt Meingasner staked VU to a 2-0 lead in the second with an single that tipped the glove of second baseman John Shelby and rolled into the outfield, allowing two runs to score.
Kentucky cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth on Justin Scutchfield's RBI single to rightfield. The Commodores put up four runs in the bottom half to extend the lead to 6-1. David Macias had a two-run triple to plate the first two runs. Pedro Alvarez brought Macias home on a double to right and then scored on Ryan Flaherty's single through the right side.
The Wildcats did not fold, however, and stormed back with a four-run inning of their own in the fifth to cut the lead back to one at 6-5. Back-to-back-to-back RBI doubles by Collin Cowgill, Ryan Strieby and John Shelby accounted for three of the runs in the frame.
Vanderbilt added an insurance run in the sixth on a RBI single by Dominic de la Osa and another run in the seventh on a RBI single by Alex Feinberg to make it 8-5.
Kentucky plated a run in the ninth off of reliever Stephen Shao to close out the scoring in the game. Shao gave up one run on one hit in an inning of work to pick up his second save of the year.
Prior to Shao's appearance, reliever Ty Davis came into the game in the seventh and helped stabilize it for the Commodores with 1.2 innings of hitless relief.
"I felt kind of one dimensional in my start against Alabama last weekend and threw mainly fastballs," said Davis. "I had been working all week on my offspeed pitches and I felt really strong tonight."
Michael Bertram led Kentucky with three hits on the night. Starter Aaron Tennyson was charged with the loss after giving up eight runs, seven earned, on 15 hits in 6.1 innings of work.
The teams will meet in game two of the three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. in a regionally televised game by Fox Sports Net South.
Kentucky 000 140 001-6(12)1 Vanderbilt 020 401 10x-8(17)1
Tennyson, Oxford (7) and Scutchfield, Coughlin. Price, Betourne (7), Davis (7), Shao (9) and Robin. W- Price 6-3, L- Tennyson 4-2. SV- Shao (2). HR- None.