Kentucky scored an unearned run in the first and held the lead to the bottom of the third when VU struck for four runs. Dominic de la Osa had a RBI single and Ryan Flaherty a two-run double to lead the way.
The Wildcats battled back with a five-run fifth to take a 6-4 lead. Ryan Strieby had the big hit in the rally, a three-run homer to rightfield off of Commodore starter Matt Buschmann.
Sean Coughlin's solo homer to left in the sixth cut the lead to 9-7. The Wildcats then tied it in the seventh on Ryan Wilkes' two-run double down the left field line.
Ryan Strieby put the Wildcats ahead for good in the eighth with his second homer of the game to make it 10-9. They added an insurance run in the ninth on Collin Cowgill's sacrifice fly to right.
Ty Davis (5-4) was charged with the loss after giving up the solo homer in the eighth. Andrew Albers (3-2) picked up the win for UK with 2.2 innings of two-hit scoreless relief.
Ryan Davis and David Macias each had three hits to lead the Commodores, while Strieby powered the Wildcats with two homers and four RBI.
The teams will meet in the rubber game of the three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. Sophomore southpaw Cody Crowell will take the hill for Vanderbilt, while Kentucky will counter with sophomore righthander Greg Dombrowski.
Kentucky 100 051 211-11(9)3 Vanderbilt 004 050 000-9(15)1
Snipp, Dials (4), Robinson (5), Albers (7) and Coughlin, Scutchfield. Buschmann, Betourne (5), Rhoden (5), Shao (7), Davis (8), Weathers (9) and Hernandez. W- Albers 3-2, L- Davis 5-4. SV- None. HR- UK: Coughlin (10), Strieby 2 (14).