Kentucky 12 Vanderbilt 9

NASHVILLE ­­--- Kentucky plated all 12 of its runs in the final four innings and held off a late Vanderbilt rally to win 12-9 Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.

Kentucky captured the series and improved to 34-11 on the year and 13-8 in the SEC, while Vanderbilt fell to 27-18 and 11-10 in conference action.

The game featured a two-hour rain delay, ten walks and three hit-by-pitches issued by VU pitchers, and a ninth-inning Vandy rally that nearly erased a 12-4 deficit.

Vandy opened the scoring when Shea Robin led off the third with a double down the third-base line. Alex Feinberg laid down a bunt to advance Robin, but a miscommunication by the Kentucky defense left no one covering first, and the 'Dores had runners at first and third. Matt Meingasner grounded to short to score Robin, and two batters later, Dominic de la Osa bounced a single over second to score Feinberg and make it 2-0.

After five scoreless innings by Vandy starter Cody Crowell, the 'Cats scored four in the sixth. John Shelby, Jr. hit a three-run, one-out double to score Antone de Jesus, Ryan Strieby, and Sean Coghlin, and Matt McKinney followed with another double to score Shelby.

UK added another run in the seventh with two outs in the frame to make it 5-2. Ryan Strieby walked, and then Sean Coghlin pulled a double to the right field corner to score a run. Shelby followed with a single to left, but Meingasner threw Coghlin out at home to end the inning.

But the Commodores stormed back in the seventh, getting five straight singles from Robin, Feinberg, Meingasner, David Macias, and Pedro Alvarez to score two runs and load the bases for de la Osa, who popped an 0-1 pitch foul to Strieby at first for one out. Ryan Flaherty then fouled the first pitch to third baseman McKinney for the second out, and then Brian Hernandez popped foul again to Strieby on the first pitch to end the inning.

UK scored four two-out runs in the eighth to make it 9-4. Nick Christiani walked McKinney, recorded a fly-out to Billy Grace, and walked Wilkes. Casey Weathers came on in relief and got Sean Lehman to fly to deep center. But Weathers gave up a single to de Jesus to load the bases, walked Collin Cowgill to score a run, then gave up an opposite-field bloop double to Strieby to make it 9-4. Finally, Greg Moviel relieved Weathers and induced a 5-4 groundout from Shelby to end the inning.

UK added three runs on a two-run homer by Grace off Moviel, and Strieby singled off Josh Zeid to score Lehman, who'd been hit by a Moviel pitch to make it 12-4.

Vandy rallied in the ninth when Macias singled, Alvarez walked, and de la Osa and Flaherty singled. Hernandez then reached on a fielder's choice that erased Flaherty at second, but Macias scored. Ryan Davis then lofted a fly ball to center and reached when de Jesus slipped, and Robin followed with an RBI single. Both runners moved up on de Jesus's throwing error, and then Alex Feinberg was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Meingasner then struck out, and Macias grounded to third on a ball that appeared to end the game. But McKinney's throw was low and Shelby couldn't handle it at second, giving Vandy new life. But with the bases loaded and two outs, Andrew Albers struck Pedro Alvarez out on a changeup to end the game.

Vandy was plagued with control problems, as the Commodores walked ten men on the day and 24 for the weekend.

"Kentucky had twelve runs, and eight of them were on hit-by-pitches or walks," said Corbin later. "They constructed innings by hit-by-pitches and walks, and we just weren't good in that department. And they got us good with that, I felt.

"I really liked the way our kids battled. It didn't help us, but maybe it will down the road. It was tough."

The Commodores will take the week off for finals, before traveling to Tennessee for a three-game series next weekend.

Kentucky    000 004 143-12(9)2
Vanderbilt  002 000 205-9(14)1
Dombrowsky, Ragle (7), Robinson (7), Rusin (7), Baber (9), Albers (9) and Coughlin. Crowell, Christiani (6), Weathers (7), Moviel (8), Zeid (9) and Robin. W- Dombrowsky 8-1, L- Crowell 4-2. SV- Albers (3). HR- UK: Grace (6).

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