March 29, 2014
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The offense showed up in a big way on Saturday for No. 7 Vanderbilt, as the Commodores cruised by No. 19 Kentucky at Hawkins field to even the series at a game apiece with a 9-3 victory.
The Vanderbilt (22-6, 4-4) bats struggled on Friday night but responded in the first inning on Saturday with three runs. Xavier Turner doubled with one out to get the rally started before Dansby Swanson put two runs on the board with his second home run of the season, a towering shot down the left field line that drifted back into fair territory just in time to be a home run. Bryan Reynolds followed with a double of his own and came into score on Vince Conde's sacrifice fly. The Commodores recorded just one extra-base hit on Friday night but posted three in the first inning alone and finished the day with five.
The Dores tacked on two more runs in the third inning but the Wildcats (19-8, 4-4) clawed back into the game in the fifth with three runs off VU starter Jared Miller. The lefty's wildness came back to cost him in the inning with a pair of hit batters to open the frame. The inning looked to be spinning out of control after three singles, an error and wild pitch brought three runs across and Kentucky had runners on the corners. But Turner made a nice play on a short hop to third and three across the diamond to end the inning.
The Vandy offense picked Miller up in the sixth when Rhett Wiseman ripped his first triple of the season into the right field corner to lead off the bottom of the inning. Karl Ellison slapped a single through the left side of the drawn-in UK infield for the first run of the rally. Will Cooper entered the game as a pinch runner for Ellison and scored on Xavier Turner's single with a nice slide at home to avoid the tag. The Dores put the game away in the seventh with RBI-singles from Reynolds and Wiseman.
Vanderbilt's 16 hits are the most for the squad since recording a season-best 19 in the win over Illinois-Chicago on February 21. Five different Commodores recorded multi-hit games led by Swanson, who matched a career-best with four hits. The sophomore finished the day a triple shy of the cycle while reaching base five times and scoring three runs. Turner extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a three-hit performance, his most hits in a game since a career-high four against Winthrop March 7. Reynolds and Wiseman each added three hits with Wiseman's matching his career-best.
The Vandy offense came through in the clutch as well going 8-for-18 (.444) with runners in scoring position during the game.
The Commodores and Cats play for the series tomorrow at 1 p.m. on ESPNU. Right-hander Tyler Ferguson gets the ball for Vanderbilt against Kentucky right-hander Andrew Nelson.