"We just kept coming, even when we weren't able to get a runner in earlier to take the lead," said Jonathan White. "We kept plugging away and finally came through."
Casey Weathers (7-2) was dominant in relief as he retired all 12 batters he faced in four innings of work with five strikeouts to pick up his team leading seventh win of the year.
Starter David Price set the school's new career strikeout record in the bottom of the fourth, striking out catcher Sean Coughlin looking to end the inning. He finished with nine strikeouts in the game and now has 355 in his career, five more than the previous record of 350 set by Mike Willis from 1969-72.
He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Keenan Wiley lined a one-out single to left. The Murfreesboro native did not factor in the decision as he gave up a season high six runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and two walks in six innings of work.
The Commodores took a 2-0 lead in the second with Ryan Flaherty, Andrew Giobbi and Shea Robin keying the way with three consecutive hits. Flaherty and Giobbi singled to lead off the frame and then Robin came through with a RBI double down the third base line. Matt Meingasner walked to load the bases with no outs before Alex Feinberg grounded into a double play that also scored Giobbi.
VU added two more in the third on a two-run single by Ryan Flaherty to make it 4-0. Pedro Alvarez was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a double by Dominic de la Osa. Flaherty then came through with his single up the middle to extend the lead.
UK got on the board with two runs in the sixth courtesy of a two-out bloop double by Matt McKinney that scored Keenan Wiley and Sawyer Carroll who reached on singles earlier in the frame. The runs broke a streak of 15 scoreless innings of action for Price.
Alex Feinberg's solo homer in the seventh, his second of the season, put the Dores up 5-2.
Kentucky stormed through with five runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 7-5 lead. Brian Spear walked to lead off the inning and consecutive singles by Jason Kipnis and Ryan Wilkes brought him home to make it 5-3. Antoine De Jesus had an infield single to load the bases and the Commodores then brought Stephen Shao out of the pen with no outs in the inning. Keenan Wiley singled to right bringing in two runs to tie the game at 5-5. Mike Brown bunted to advance Wiley and De Jesus to second and third and Carroll followed with a two-run double to put Kentucky on top.
The Commodores responded with three runs of their own in the eighth to retake the lead. De la Osa reached on a hit by pitch to lead off the inning and then was eliminated at second on a grounder by Ryan Flaherty. Scott Green came on in relief of UK starter Chris Rusin and gave up a single to Andrew Giobbi. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and Jonathan White then came in to pinch run for Giobbi. Shea Robin grounded out to short allowing Flaherty to score. White then moved to third on another wild pitch and Matt Meingasner followed with a walk to have runners on the corners with two outs. Alex Feinberg then tied the game with a RBI single up the middle. Pinch hitter Ryan Davis came up and delivered a RBI single to left center to score Meingasner and give the Commodores an 8-7 lead. Brock Baber relieved Green on the mound and gave up a single to David Macias that Feinberg tried to score from second on but was thrown out by rightfielder Keenan Wiley to end the inning.
The Wildcats tied the game in the bottom of the eighth when pinch runner Brock Wright scored from second on a RBI groundout to second by Ryan Wilkes. Wright was running on the play and after Feinberg threw out Wilkes at first, Kurt Lipton then threw to Robin at home but the plate umpire ruled the throw and tag was late.
"It was a war of attrition," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "We had the game in our hands and all of a sudden they break up the no-hitter and then hit a bloop double and score some runs. You could feel the momentum shift to their dugout and then the lead off walk in the seventh and the inning went away from us. I told the kids you are going to take a punch in this game, but you have to stay on your feet and not go down, because we will be able to deliver another punch."
Stephen Shao pitched two innings of relief, giving up two runs on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
Andrew Giobbi led the Commodores offensively with a 4-for-4 night at the plate, while fellow Maine product Ryan Flaherty chipped in with three hits of his own.
The teams will play game two of the three game series tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. ET. Freshman southpaw Mike Minor (5-0, 1.88 ERA) will take the hill for the Commodores, while the Wildcats will counter with junior lefty AndrewAlbers (5-0, 3.30 ERA).
Vanderbilt 022 000 130 002 -10(16)2 Kentucky 000 002 510 000 -880
Price, Shao (7), Weathers (9) and Robin. Rusin, Green (8), Baber (8), Paxton (9), Lovett (10), Oxford (12) and Coughlin. W- 7-2, L- Lovett 3-2. Sv-None. HR- VU: Feinberg (2)